HR teams are vulnerable
The pandemic has left them feeling less able to cope with the demands now upon them.
Only 39% of HR professionals felt equipped to balance the requirements of their role
according to research by employee experience platform CultureAmp. And that means an increased likelihood of stress, anxiety and burnout.
It’s not surprising when you think of everything they have had to do over the last 15 months. There is no let-up with new working practices top of mind for most companies, particularly around what the potential hybrid model looks like in reality. HR continues to be under pressure.
The Invincible Cog
The problem is that HR are often viewed as invincible – they’re the ones perceived to know how to look after themselves and each other and who are resilient enough to cope with what ever demands are put upon them. But that could not be further from the truth for many of these individuals. And it ignores the void between knowing something and applying it.
HR people are some of the hardest working employees in organisations and in SMEs, it can feel like a lonely job fulfilling a unique role. They need to be part of a likeminded team, even if that means a network across companies.
The research also found that more than two-thirds (69%) of UK HR professionals felt they were unable to switch off from work during the first quarter of this year.
Some leaders may not consider this problem with balance a problem to prioritise, particularly where it is thought of as an unavoidable consequence of the pandemic. But the finding that during this period there was an 18 percentage point dip in the number of HR professionals feeling productive should flag up the need to ask questions.
We know that stress reduces performance. Yet we often fail to make this connection within our central teams. There is so much on their shoulders that little time is available for them to pause, share, reflect, seek advice or support.
Companies must stop and look at their HR function. That means including them in day to day opportunities afforded to all staff to foster wellbeing and to recharge.
Ask yourself: When was the last time this integral part of our system was properly checked in on?
The number of HR professionals in the UK feeling that their work makes a positive difference to the company also dropped from 73% in April-June last year to 60% in the first quarter of 2021. So, the very people we rely on to support others who are struggling, are the people shouldering too much themselves and likely to be experience stress, anxiety and burnout, are those who feel undervalued.
And a real problem for leaders to face up to.
So consider these questions:
- What preventative measures do you have in place for your HR professionals?
- How are HR people being encouraged to re-calibrate their work and personal life?
- Are you doing enough? Have you really checked that out?
- What opportunities are there for HR staff to engage with a peer group?
- What help is available for HR employees to access when they notice the signs of the emotional toll becoming too much, without fear of stigma?
- How does your company show your HR people how much they are valued?
Want help equipping your HR people to better balance the requirements of their role?
Struggling to answer any of these questions well enough?
Drop me a line and let’s start the conversation.
It’s time for change. Together we can.