HR Answers: Can Technology Save Your Managers From Burnout?

HR professional holds smartphone with human resources app while looking at reports on laptop
By Chary Krout

4 minutes

Tools that foster engagement and consistent feedback can help boost productivity and employee retention.

More than half of American workers are actively burned out, according to a survey conducted by Indeed this spring. Between blurred work-life boundaries, global uncertainty, and social isolation in the pandemic, employees are at risk—resulting in poor performance and higher quit rates.

Your managers are feeling the pinch. Managers experience the same challenging conditions as their direct reports, with the added pressure of leading their teams through these challenges. They’re tasked with cultivating culture and engagement, while maintaining productivity and service levels, often at a distance.

Sound familiar? If so, you’ve got a problem on your hands.

Why Manager Burnout Matters

When burnout pushes managers into a state of crisis, it kicks off a vicious cycle for team engagement levels: Employees with burned-out managers are 73% more likely to say that they are themselves burned out.

In short, your workforce is challenged. So, what are the top challenges managers are facing today, and how can we as leaders and HR professionals help provide relief from burnout?

A simple solution? Turn to tech to help automate the process and give managers opportunities to connect with their teams. Here are three challenges tech can solve:

Challenge 1: Effectively Communicating Impact and Purpose

72% of employees say knowing their work matters enables them to deliver a high-quality customer experience.

In-office, employees are reminded of the credit union purpose and mission via daily face-to-face interactions with each other and members. In isolation, however, employees can feel they’re spinning their wheels—and overburdened managers may not know how to close the gap.

Solution: A clear goals process.

Look for a technology solution that documents, tracks and makes goals visible credit-union wide. This tool should clearly connect each employee’s personal goals to greater team and organization as a whole. It’s also important that goals can be adapted to meet the needs of our ever-changing business environments.

The benefits? No matter where they’re working, employees gain visibility into how their day-to-day work furthers the mission of your CU. And with real-time data and tools like an insights dashboard, managers can effortlessly keep track of who’s contributing, who’s on target and who needs support.

Challenge 2: Driving Team Morale

The top reason people leave jobs is limited recognition and praise. On the flip side, 81% of employees are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation.

A hybrid or fully remote environment makes it hard for managers to share those smiles and pats on the back that keep member services workers going. In isolation, morale can plummet.

Solution: Social recognition and custom rewards.

Lift the load from managers by instituting a social recognition feed. This tool allows employees of all levels to send real-time recognition and high-fives that are visible organization-wide.

And it works. $14 billion First Tech Federal Credit Union, San Jose, California, saw significant results after implementing a social recognition feed: Employees who recognized others were 2 times less likely to quit than those receiving recognition. And those who received recognition were 2.5 times less likely to leave the CU than those who were never recognized.

Personalization matters, too. Customized rewards are 7 times more likely to motivate employees than generic certificates or gift cards.

Challenge 3: Providing Feedback

Real-time feedback, both positive and constructive, helps employees understand how they’re performing and where they stand; 40% of workers feel disengaged when they receive little to no feedback.

Delivering feedback can be challenging no matter where it’s given. Before the pandemic, 42% of managers admitted they didn’t give enough feedback.

Solution: Check-ins, 1-on-1s and a feedback platform.

Pair a feedback tool with easy-to-schedule 1-on-1 conversations. Feedback tools make it easier for managers by allowing employees to request feedback and by providing managers with templates and guiding questions. Bonus: With this tool, manager prep for year-end performance reviews includes a years’ worth of performance discussions, so employees feel seen for everything they’ve contributed.

Technology can create a consistent experience and provide analytics to measure success. However, strong alignment with the credit union’s mission, vision, values and goals is key. Employees can sense when there’s a clear connection between what management says is important and what’s modeled. Providing technology and encouraging leaders and employees to come together increases the opportunity to celebrate the impact of everyone's work, strengthens connection, and reinforces a culture of belonging.

As co-owner & partner at Cultivate, Chary Krout helps credit union leaders drive measurable results through innovate people strategies. Cultivate leverages data and insights to improve culture, helping credit unions successfully discontinue traditional performance programs and connect employees and managers more frequently. With the belief that culture is owned by all, Cultivate helps engage employees in their experience, driving higher levels of engagement and a greater sense of belonging.

About Kazoo: The Kazoo Employee Experience Platform combines goals & OKRs, recognition, feedback, conversations and incentives within a single, easy-to-use platform, to make employees more engaged, managers better leaders, and productivity and business performance soar. Let’s make work better. Learn more at

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