Human Resource Professionals are Taking Care of Employees – but Who is Taking Care of Them?
The “Great Resignation” has taken a toll across all industries; but those who carry most of the weight within those industries are the HR professionals struggling to retain and attract new talent to fill the gaps. These professionals find themselves fielding executive demands to fill empty seats; employee complaints about doubled workloads; at the exact time their workload has tripled with phone screenings, scheduling interviews, listing jobs, writing job descriptions, doing exit interviews…the list goes on and on.
HR professionals have played a huge role in helping organizations navigate the pandemic and the massive shifts in the workforce over the years; but who is helping HR professionals with their current new list of never-ending demands?
In 2020 many business leaders panicked and reacted to the government mandated restrictions and economic downturn by firing or furloughing employees. The burden of delivering this bad news fell on HR professionals. Then the change in workforce and the shift to employees teleworking, hybrid working or just basic concerns about their safety coming to work – this burden fell again on the ears and advisement of HR professionals. Fast forward to the Great Resignation and it’s no surprise that our HR professionals are feeling burnout at a higher rate than ever before.
HR professionals serve as therapists, cheerleaders, and model leaders to maintain morale. These tasks are in addition to their core mission of recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and retaining employees. They’ve made tough decisions around remote policies or enacting a hybrid or in-office model. No matter the choice, some people will be left unhappy. It’s a no-win situation for HR.
Gillian French, Workvivo’s expert-in-residence in employee experience, warns that without any significant changes, this situation will have a devastating impact on organizations. She believes it’s time HR and chief people officers have a reserved seat at the C-suite table. “One thing I’ve noticed during my working life is that people who have a background in HR rarely make an appearance on company boards. If they do, it is generally post a corporate indiscretion or incident,” French said.
What can we do to provide HR with the relief it needs to not feel burned out? Offering a seat at the table would be a great start. Providing interim support to allow for vacation time or general assistance within the office could be beneficial. Outsourcing recruiting could be another way to alleviate some of the strain. Hiring an HR consulting firm to assist with benefits implementation could be another option. Each organization has different needs, and our HR professionals may be handling a larger caseload than one individual should carry. It’s time for leadership teams to have a conversation with their HR professionals and check in on their well-being to find out what support would be most beneficial.