HR teams are facing a unique set of challenges. Read this article to understand the impact of these issues on mental health.
It may be the understatement of the century to say that these past two years have been tough on mental health. As a collective society, we have seen, experienced and been faced with a lifetime of issues.
But this article isn't going to lament the general state of the world. Instead, we’re going to break down the two main issues that are currently affecting HR’s mental health: the pandemic and the Great Resignation. While linked in nature, these topics bring separate concerns and will need separate resolutions.
First, however, lets state the obvious: HR professionals are too often treated like therapists and parents. When potentially traumatic events occur, let’s say a worldwide pandemic for example, HR teams cannot afford to simply care for their own reactions but have to prepare for the reactions of the team and any office response by the company. This overextension can lead to “compassion fatigue” and is part of the reason why 94% of HR professionals say they’ve felt overwhelmed in the past six months. With that being said, let’s move onto the meat of the article.
The Covid-19 Pandemic
Everyone remembers the fear and confusion of March 2020 when we were told that we would have to work from home for two weeks. And of course those two weeks swiftly, or painstakingly slowly depending on your opinion, became two years. Yet, it was the HR staff who had to implement this change.
In fact, over the past two years, HR teams have faced a barrage of new and unique challenges, from the ‘work from home’ mandate to hybrid working, new work safety guidelines to supply chain issues and encouraging inclusion and diversity of thought whilst enforcing companies’ health policies.
This constant, unrelenting stream of new issues has led to 88% of HR staff suffering burnout. In these unprecedented times of great stress, HR teams were tasked with maintaining a culture of empathy and compassion. It is the aftereffects of the pandemic that is causing the mental health of HR teams to waver.
The Great Resignation
A social movement birthed out of the pandemic, the Great Resignation saw a record number of people leave their jobs in 2021. Looking for better work-life balance, financial compensation and benefits, people quit in droves, turning an already difficult covid talent market into an employee-controlled landscape. Interviewees were now suddenly fielding multiple offers and smaller, or more traditional, companies struggled to keep up. Suddenly, hiring talent and employee retention became major concerns for HR teams.
Unfortunately, this second concern doesn't seem to be subsiding as effectively as the first. While employees are now returning to work, the cost of living crisis means that salary expectations remain high. The long term impacts of the Great Resignation will be covered in an upcoming blog post, however for now, it's important to recognise its impact on HR’s mental health.
As with many compassion workers, the last two years have been exceptionally difficult for HR teams. On top of managing their emotions and those of their families, HR professionals also had to protect entire companies. In this period where things feel like they may be returning to “normal”, take some time to check in and support the mental health of your HR teams.