Valuing Human Excellence - The downfall of overworking star employees

Shabnum Hassim
Audit Trainee
March 15, 2024
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Harnessing the power of talented performers can be a game-changer for any organization, but it's crucial to remember that they're human too.

Pushing them too hard can backfire, leading to burnout and frustration.

Let's take a moment to understand why this happens and explore ways to help star workers shine while ensuring the success and happiness of your team.

Employees are human, and there are only 24 hours in a day (Photo: Karolina Grabowska)

The Downsides of Overworking Our Best

Burnout is a real risk when we keep pushing people beyond their limits.

Think about it: when we pile on too much work, even our brightest stars can fade away.

And it's not just about burning out. When we constantly expect our top performers to work miracles, it creates an unhealthy dynamic in the team.

Others might feel left out or unappreciated, which isn't good for anyone. Team spirit can take a nosedive, and collaboration suffers as a result.

According to SIOPSA (Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology of South Africa), our country has an employee burnout crisis in the midst of an unemployment crisis.

Employees can start feeling drained, both mentally and physically, and their performance can suffer.

Very easily, they might start eyeing the door, looking for a place to breathe easier and find a better balance.

Toxic work environments could be a reason for high staff turnover in recent years. An article by News24 says that almost half of SA workers who resign cite a toxic work environment as their reason for leaving.

It could be why our best workers leave the country. More and more skilled South Africans feel the drive to take up jobs in classified developed nations.

A Kinder, Smarter Approach

So, how do we get the best out of our top performers without burning them out?
It will cost your company to lose it's best talent (Photo: Nick Fewings)
It's all about finding that sweet spot where they can thrive without feeling overwhelmed.
  • First, let's set realistic goals. It's okay to aim high, but we need to make sure it's something achievable without driving everyone crazy.
  • By setting clear expectations and giving our stars the support, they need, we can help them reach their full potential without sacrificing their well-being.
  • Let's not forget to show some love. Recognizing their hard work and celebrating their wins can go a long way.
  • Appreciation boosts morale and keeps everyone motivated.
  • And let’s give them room to grow. Offering opportunities for development shows our top performers that we value them for more than just their output.
  • It's about investing in their future and keeping them excited about what's to come.

Our top performers are the lifeblood of our organization. But to keep them shining bright, we must treat them with care and respect.

By balancing the push for them to excel and supporting them, we can create a workplace where everyone can thrive.