Employee Engagement & Burnout

Picture an employee on the verge of burnout (which shouldn’t be too hard to do considering today’s working climate). What do you see? An overworked, run-down, disengaged shell of the person you hired? A scattered, erratic, and increasingly bitter former team player? It’s easy to think that the faces of burnout are familiar, and yet new data proves otherwise. The above descriptions aren’t always (or even often) the way burnout presents. Employee engagement is a key metric, it turns out, and understanding why is essential if you want to retain and preserve your more motivated employees. 

How to Avoid Burnout: Understanding the Role of Employee Engagement 

Conventional thinking around employee engagement goes no further than “more is better,” and yet a recent study by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence contradicts this idea. In surveying 1,000 U.S. employees, researchers discovered that 1 in 5 is both highly engaged and at acute risk of burnout. Those team members who never fail to knock it out of the ballpark? Turns out they may be the ones you need to worry about the most…

This surprising discovery makes sense taken in context. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, employee engagement actually spiked, despite the severe disruption to their everyday routines. This wasn’t because everyone was infected by a newfound love for their job. On the contrary, it was because everyone was afraid of losing their income while a deadly virus swept the globe. 

Fear- or anxiety-driven employee engagement may be good for productivity (and may explain why the remote work experiment proved so successful—at least in the short term), but it’s far from sustainable. What’s more, it’s dangerous. Employers naturally rely on their top performers, and they take a serious hit when these movers and shakers suddenly implode. 

The Burnout Cure: Security & Resources

It’s not the high output that does top performers in. Rather, it’s that they are drawing energy from the wrong reserves. Fear-based motivation isn’t sustainable; recognition-based motivation is. Employees who feel seen in their efforts also feel secure in their position, and are in turn motivated to keep going. 

Real recognition is more than kind words, however. Your team needs resources, both in terms of tools and knowledge. Every employee needs to know why their role matters, and how it contributes to the overall success of the enterprise. 

If your enterprise is a boutique law firm, the Law Firm Admin Bootcamp (LFAB) is the kind of resource you’re looking for. In this 12-week program, your team will gain an understanding of the indispensable nature of their work while acquiring the tools needed to achieve at outstanding levels. 

Lawyer Burnout: It’s Not Just Your Employees You Need to Worry About

Who’s your most engaged employee? YOU, of course! And what kind of employee is at special risk of burnout, again? 

You get it. You’re at as much (or even more) risk of burnout than your team, and the reasons are the same. If you’re engaged because you’re afraid your firm might fail or underperform, you might as well set a timer, because your days are numbered. Eventually, you will implode—and if you want to avoid this, you likewise need security and resources. 

The 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround Program is to attorneys what the LFAB is to legal admins: a customized coaching program that provides you with the tools and insight needed to improve your firm’s processes, productivity, and profitability…with measurable results guaranteed in 10-weeks or less.

To learn more about the many ways we can help your law firm succeed, do not hesitate to book a free “Clarity Call” with me, Molly McGrath, the founder of Hiring & Empowering Solutions, today!


THE fix my boss workBOOK



This workbook is intended to be used in conjunction with the book, "Fix My Boss" to cultivate respect, risk courageous conversations, and increase the bottom line. The exercises and activities provided will guide you through a step-by-step process of understanding, analyzing, and taking action to create positive change in your workplace.

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