How to Help Your Team Members Thrive During Stressful Times

I’m worried about business services professionals in law firms. Every day this week I’ve gotten calls from law firms across the country asking if we could take on their search for a recruiting manager or coordinator. They are understaffed and summer associates arrive in a few short weeks. This talent shortage is prevalent throughout all business functions, including marketing, practice management and professional development.

What can the head of one of these functions do to keep their current team members engaged and prevent burnout?

I spent much of my 7-hour train ride to and from DC yesterday thinking about this challenge. Here are some thoughts:

  1. Make sure new team members, and almost every department hired during COVID, are integrated.
  2. Provide a sense of belonging for team members. We all come to work for more than a paycheck. The past two years have eroded our connections—both to our firms and each other. Shared values and common goals make us feel connected and we need that sense of belonging now more than ever!
  3. Sit with each team member and ask them if there are any new responsibilities they want to take on or old ones they want to shed. You will keep them engaged by helping them to grow and you will help them to avoid burnout by not requiring them to do the same task over and over again.
  4. Offer them well-being tools. This could be letting them leave early to take a yoga class, tapping into firm resources as a group such as lunchtime mental health experts, or being vulnerable and letting them know how you manage stressful times.

COVID has been hard for all of us in different ways. For me, not being able to deliver enough talent for all the open jobs we have is extremely stressful because I feel like I’m failing at my job. I know many of you will identify with that feeling. Focusing on what I can control and deliver helps to dissipate the stress. That’s why I created this program: Team Building for Business Services Professionals. I can’t help all our clients find the talent they need, but hopefully I can help them keep the talent they have and make sure their team members have the resources and sense of belonging to thrive.

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