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7 Ways Cohesion Combats Disengagement & Burnout

In an era where employee engagement is on a downward spiral, organizations find themselves grappling with the repercussions of disengagement and burnout. Employee engagement has declined two straight years according to a Gallup Research article that surveyed 60,000 people. With less than 50% of U.S. workers considering themselves committed or interested in their work, productivity and creativity are negatively impacted.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 83% of workers feel stressed at work AND 54% claim work-related stress impacts their home.

Job turnover remains an issue due to a lack of trust between the supervisor-employee relationship. Turnover is further impacted when high levels of stress are experienced on a recurring basis.

The findings from these reports include commentaries suggesting employees feel devalued, are overworked, lack effective communication, and receive unclear expectations from their supervisors.

It may not be surprising then to know about two-thirds of employees do not trust their supervisors. Fifty percent of them would rather trust a stranger, while 92% are comfortable trusting a co-worker.

Add to that about 2/3 of employees blame work-stress for their problems at home.

This disengagement epidemic underscores the critical need for leaders to combat disengagement and prevent burnout actively. Unfortunately, as revealed in conversations with frontline supervisors, many leaders are ill-prepared for this challenge.

Many were promoted based on time on the job, but were not given adequate training to motivate, influence, or enable employees to be successful or perform in a stress-managed workplace.

How can we create more effective engagement between the employee and their boss?

What can leaders do to avoid or prevent burnout?

In my latest co-authored bestselling title, “Back After Burnout,” Dennis ConsorteDr. Mark GoulstonLarry SharpeKevin Hogan, and I provide practical advice on how leaders combat burnout and what they can implement immediately.


My research proved that cohesion is a causal phenomenon that positively impact’s performance and engagement. Meaning …


Infuse cohesion into your culture and build safe workspaces where people have a sense of belonging, are valued, and share in mutual commitments. When employees are given corporate information BEFORE it happens, are asked for input, and told why something needs to happen, then they feel included.

Additionally, when leaders take a proactive stance to build positive relationships, ensure employees are affirmed in role and identity, and add fun into the workplace, they are preventing or combating burnout.

Employee burnout, characterized by chronic physical and emotional exhaustion, can have far-reaching consequences on both individual employees and the overall health of the organization. A workforce that is supported, engaged, and healthy contributes positively to the organization’s success, fosters a positive workplace culture, and positions the organization as an employer of choice in a competitive talent market.

Here are seven ways to have a cohesion-infused work environment that improves working conditions. Cohesion builds trust and engagement between employees and supervisors while simultaneously reducing stress causing burnout.


  1. Create connections before content through meaningful employee interactions. Do this frequently. It’s not one and done. At your next employee gathering, have one or two questions to use as conversation starters. Be purposeful. Frequently initiate conversations using purposeful questions as conversation starters.
  2. Ask employees for feedback. This is one of the best ways to signal inclusion. Listen and respond accordingly. Not every suggestion has to be implemented, but every suggestion deserves a response.
  3. Provide affirmations that include recognition of the role and appreciation of the person. These are affirmations using the cohesion formula. It conveys an understanding of role and identity. When people hear what makes what they did special or important, it fuels their internal, motivational drive.
  4. Celebrate the small wins and acknowledge collaborations between workers and teams. This is another great way to put affirmations using cohesion concepts into place. Bring team members together and ask them to share the value they experienced working with others.
  5. Conduct Cohesion Huddles* that set the tone for the day. These are 1-2 minute employee gatherings that set tone. Use these huddles to reinforce cohesion and emphasize shared goals.
  6. Set up Retention Debriefs* that have the employee giving the supervisor a thumbs up or down near the end of their shift on how their day went. Perfect for a quick assessment of stress.
  7. Create Unexpected Frills and Fun (off the CUFF) by surprising employees with something out of the ordinary. My clients have shared many great ideas from serving popcorn to having leadership invite employees to an impromptu lunch. I love this one because it reminds us that work can be and should be fun. Celebrate the moment for no other reason than “it is!”


Cohesion is not just a feel-good concept; it’s a performance booster that directly impacts engagement. By adopting these cohesion-infused strategies, organizations can build trust, enhance supervisor-employee relationships, and concurrently reduce stress levels that often lead to burnout.

If you want more insight on Cohesion Huddles, Retention Debriefs, how to be off the C.U.F.F. and what to do to prevent stress, reach out to me directly. These strategies, when implemented, not only combat disengagement and burnout but also set the stage for a workplace where employees thrive.

In a landscape where disengagement and burnout threaten organizational vitality, leaders must respond with transformative leadership. These principles go beyond conventional wisdom, urging leaders to infuse cohesion into the very fabric of their organizations. By doing so, they not only combat disengagement and burnout but pave the way for an empowered, engaged, and resilient workforce.

For more insight on this topic, please refer to these blog posts:

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