One of the most apt descriptions of burnout that I've encountered is:

"Burnout is caused by working hard at something for a long time and not having it pay off."

When reflecting on this in the context of managing a team, there's an aspect of this definition that's often overlooked — the "not having it pay off" component.

In my opinion, the two primary culprits are:

  1. A lack of recognition for continuous effort.
  2. Limited opportunities for growth and advancement.

If your business is impacted by one or both of these factors, there's a high likelihood of burnout among your team members.

In the startup world, it's a fact of life that sometimes you'll have your team work on projects or features that fail or might not even see the light of day. And often, it's through no fault of the individuals who put in the work.

However, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. Just because a project didn't achieve widespread acclaim doesn't mean the team members who put in the hours don't deserve recognition. The point is, even if you can't always hit it out of the park with every project, sometimes a simple "thank you", or "great job" might make all the difference.

In the context of the speech therapy industry, burnout is a huge issue. Often, the "not having it pay off" feels like a one-two punch – no pats on the back and no real opportunities for advancement or upward mobility. If you are a practice owner, ask yourself: When was the last time you recognized therapists at your company? What path have you showed them for career advancement?

One effective approach I've observed is employed by Sidekick Therapy Partners. They lead off every all-hands meeting with a "Mission Moment" - connecting the hard work of a therapist and the success of a patient in a moment of recognition that the full team can celebrate.

How are you ensuring your team feels their efforts truly pay off?