Grateful for Human Resources: The Team on the Frontlines
At its core, human resources is all about helping take care of others.
It’s ironic, then, that the well-being of HR professionals is often overlooked, leading to many in the field experiencing burnout. Forbes recently defined this term as “general exhaustion and lack of interest or motivation regarding one’s work.”
HR professionals wear many hats and work on everything from hiring to firing, employee relations and performance and much more. They handle all the situations most people wouldn’t want to deal with. Imagine being the person who listens, coaches and guides people daily. Add to that the pandemic, which resulted in new rules and constant changes, and it’s no wonder that “HR is the place where stress goes to live in an organization.” (SHRM, 2022)
So, where do HR professionals go for support of their own?
Being an HR professional for the last two decades, I have never thought about who I would go to if I needed help. Luckily, I have had great bosses to talk to, but that doesn’t mean that will happen for everyone in the field. It feels like an overlooked issue in a profession that really needs to be supported as well. This is particularly challenging when many of the topics HR professionals deal with are confidential, adding yet another burden to the profession. You can’t even vent to people in your personal life, considering the sensitive nature of the job.
Recently, the topic of burnout has gotten more visibility, as has the experience of compassion fatigue, which refers to the “negative emotions that people feel from helping others at work. Compassion fatigue isn’t predictable. You can be harmed by the work you do.” (Forbes, 2022).
Compassion fatigue can show up mentally or physically, from headaches and sleep problems to anxiety and decreased empathy.
So, it’s extremely important to find ways to combat these issues and stay balanced in your profession. Here are some tips for how to do so:
1. Be aware of burnout or compassion fatigue taking place. Even though HR doesn’t get the visibility like other helping professions, they absolutely are those people in a business.
2. Build a practice of creating a healthy balance of work and play in your daily life.
3. Make sure to disconnect at the end of the day. Draw a hard boundary to save yourself from blurring the lines between work and home.
4. Reach out to a trusted HR colleague or a valued mentor to vent and gain some support.
5. Visit your local SHRM Chapter to attend a local program or networking event.
6. Hire a coach to help you navigate new positive attitudes and create new behaviors.
If this resonates with you, please join me over the next couple of months as we address balance, healthy habits and ways to return to feeling like YOU!