The past few years have been tough on HR professionals. There has been the pandemic-driven remote working to navigate, the impact of Brexit on recruitment, and now we have an impending new bill that could overhaul all the employee regulations we have become used to, argues Ian Moore.
This huge pressure on HR teams has already seen 98 percent feeling burnout due to the extreme intensity of their duties.
It is no secret that HR teams can be some of the most overworked and underappreciated members of any company. You are constantly juggling multiple tasks, managing a variety of personalities, and trying to ensure that everyone follows the company’s rules and regulations. With so many responsibilities, it’s vital that you and your HR colleagues pay attention to your physical and mental wellbeing in an effort to make sure you are at your best both professionally and personally.
With burnout in an HR team leading to increased turnover, decreased morale and productivity, and ultimately a decline in overall business performance, it’s something worth avoiding at all costs! Let’s look at how this can be done.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. When we are in a constant state of high alert, our bodies become overworked and unable to cope with the demands being placed upon it. Over time, this can lead to feelings of burnout which can have serious consequences on our health and wellbeing.
Common causes of burnout include working long hours, heavy workloads, lack of autonomy or control over job duties, unrealistic expectations from management, social isolation due to working remotely, or feeling undervalued or unrecognised for contributions. It is also important to note that burnout can be caused by external factors such as lack of job security or financial strain.
The signs of burnout
The first step in preventing burnout is to recognise the signs. Common indicators of burnout include feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with work; an inability to focus; changes in mood or behaviour; physical exhaustion; and disengagement with colleagues. If you notice these signs in any of your HR team members, it is important to take action quickly.
The impact of HR burnout
HR burnout can have a significant impact on an organisation in terms of decreased productivity, higher turnover rates, lower morale among staff members, increased risk for legal action due to compliance violations, decreased customer service levels due to lack of resources or attention from the HR department, and more. It also has a direct impact on the person experiencing burnout as they may feel overwhelmed and exhausted with their job duties. This can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches or fatigue which further compounds the issue.
How to prevent burnout in yourself or your team
Fortunately, there are several strategies that you can use to prevent burnout in the workplace.
First and foremost is self-care. Taking time each day for yourself is essential for maintaining your sanity during stressful times.
Exercising and eating a balanced diet are just some of the ways that can help manage stress levels and maintain energy. It is also important to take time out for hobbies or activities which bring joy into your life, such as reading a book, listening to music, socialising with friends or going for a walk. By taking care of the mind, body, and soul, it is possible to prevent burnout before it takes hold.
Additionally, discovering better ways of dealing with stressors through activities such as meditation or yoga can help to create more joy in life and provide a sense of balance.
Setting boundaries between work and home life is also important. Make sure that you’re taking regular breaks throughout the day, whether it be a quick walk around the block or a few minutes spent chatting with colleagues about non-work related topics, so that you don’t become overwhelmed by work tasks.
It is also wise to review your workload to determine what is truly important and what can be removed from your list. Likewise, does every task require your specific skills and expertise or can you delegate to others?
Additionally, if everyone in your team is just as busy, look at automating tasks whenever possible to help free up more time for other activities. There is a wealth of tools and apps that will help make your HR responsibilities easier
The bigger picture
Just as important are the goals behind the workload. Make sure your team understands the bigger picture and that there are realistic goals with achievable timelines in place. There should also be a clear plan for how those goals will be achieved, with regular feedback as well as praise for accomplishments – both big and small.
Finally, if all else fails, seeking support from colleagues, family or friends can provide a much needed boost of strength and comfort during difficult times. It is important to remember that self-care is not selfish; it is an investment in yourself and your wellbeing. Encourage your team members to talk openly about their feelings and ask for help when they need it. Make sure they have access to resources such as mental health services if needed.
Mental health is just as important as physical health – especially during times of stress like those caused by the pandemic – and burnout can have serious consequences if it goes unchecked for too long. To prevent burnout among yourself and team members, you need to be conscious of the signs of burnout and employ strategies such as prioritising self-care, setting boundaries between work and home life, automating tasks whenever possible, and assessing workloads regularly to ensure you are not doing too much at once. By following these tips and staying mindful of your own wellbeing during these difficult times, you can maintain healthy levels of stress while still getting your jobs done efficiently and effectively.
Ian Moore is the Founder of Lodge Court.
Ian Moore, founder of Lodge Court, has 27 years of HR experience, and has worked across a variety of industry sectors including IT, Telecommunications, Media Data Publishing, Financial Services and FMCG. This experience has made him one of the UK’s leading independent HR consultants, providing advice to everyone from growing startups to multinational corporations.