Compared to the global average, HR professionals in the UK have been shown to be struggling – leaving many in a worse position than when the pandemic began. 

According to new research by Culture Amp, an employee experience platform, many HR professionals are feeling under pressure as the move back to the office begins within the next month.

Under two-fifths of HR professionals in the UK (39 per cent) felt that they were equipped to balance the requirements of their HR role in Q1 of 2021. This is compared to 44 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.

From a wellbeing perspective, there has been little progress and even some deterioration over the year, with the UK showing particular concern.

In the second quarter of 2020, almost two-thirds of leaders globally (64 per cent) said they were unable to switch off from work and rest. However, by the start of 2021, 69 percent of respondents in the UK still felt this way compared to just 61 percent globally.

HR professionals in the UK also were shown to be potentially more at risk of burnout and isolation than their global counterparts.

Over two-thirds (67 per cent) felt productive during the second quarter of 2020 compared to just under half at the beginning of this year (49 per cent). Witnessing almost a fifth drop in these figures suggests that UK HR professionals may be suffering from burnout.

This was also the case when analysing resilience with 69 per cent of UK respondents feeling unable to bounce back this year.

There was also a drop in the number of HR professionals in the UK feeling that the work they are doing is making a positive difference to the company –  from 73 percent in Q2 2020 to 60 percent in Q1 2021.

Nick Matthews, General Manager and Vice President EMEA, Culture Amp says:

At the height of COVID, HR was powering through – looking after everyone else in the company. As the UK sizes up a return to the workplace or evolves into a hybrid world, this data makes concerning reading.

Business leaders need to be proactive in supporting HR teams as they recover from their heroic pandemic efforts and recognize that their roles have evolved and will be even more relevant in this new world.  It’s imperative that HR should be taking the time to check-in on their own wellbeing and calibrate their work/life boundaries if necessary.

*To obtain these results, Culture Amp surveyed over 4800 HR professionals around the world – including 683 in the UK – to observe how they have been feeling over a 12 month period since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.