How to Overcome Burnout in the HR Department?

Published On
Jun 3, 2022
Read Time
4.5 Minutes
OnBlick Inc

It’s no secret that the work of human resource professionals has become harder ever since the pandemic. Throughout the post-COVID period, HR professionals have had to adapt to several changes in the business. They have been the “invisible first responders” of the organization, supporting employees from time to time during the crisis. Many of them are experiencing stress and fatigue - in other words, “a burnout”.

Did you find someone from your HR team feeling swamped or emotionally drained? Then this article is for you.

We will be discussing a few practical ways to overcome burnout in the HR department.

Burnout Among HR Professionals

Most companies have high expectations from their HR personnel. HR teams, since time immemorial, have been responsible for various people-strategy areas, such as performance, compensation, and health and safety. In the post-pandemic era, several of them have also become experts in mental health and hybrid-work technology. However, employers often fail to realize that the more the work added to them, the more they face pressure.

Recent research findings highlight that HR professionals are experiencing a significantly higher rate of compassion fatigue or burnout. This condition is expected to occur when an individual stops being able to care for others due to exposure to pain. It’s commonly referred to as the cost of caring for others experiencing psychological or emotional distress. HR professionals actually need significant help from employers and organizational heads.

The pressure is increasing

The sudden shift from regular office work to hybrid or remote work and the subsequent reverse shift has greatly challenged many HR professionals. As it stands, over half of the companies seem to continue following a hybrid or remote environment moving forward. This poses additional challenges for HR teams as they are responsible for figuring out how to accommodate the changes.

Despite the progress that companies have made, there are still many challenges that HR teams face when it comes to managing these changes. During the tough times, most HR departments had implemented some initiatives to ensure that employees were productive. In this process, their work pressure increased, and gradually many HR managers reported facing exhaustion and total burnout.

Burnout: Main Causes

1. The pandemic that changed everything

During the course of COVID-19, many HR departments had to handle the sudden and significant layoffs of employees. This added to the many personal challenges that each member of the HR team had been experiencing. HR professionals had to take on more responsibility for caring for their colleagues. While this may not be a new task for most HR departments, the sheer volume of crises and individuals needing concern made it more challenging.

These changes were incredibly challenging for HR professionals to manage, and it’s no wonder that many of them are struggling with the new complexity of employee relations.

2. Compassion Fatigue

Although the phrase “compassion fatigue” has been around for decades in caregiving, it is not always the case that HR professionals are experiencing this condition. In 2020, the year’s events changed the nature of HRs’ role, and many were compelled to take on a caregiving role.

Although compassion fatigue is often associated with burnout, it can also be co-occurring. The symptoms of compassion fatigue are usually triggered by prolonged exposure to other people’s distress. This is a part of HR’s job descriptions and is supposed to keep a positive space in the working environment. Nonetheless, it can be excruciating for HR professionals.

These are the main trigger points every organization should be aware of. How will they stay positive when they are burnt out?

Addressing Burnout in the HR Department

Many HR professionals feel like they are at the end of their rope due to the lack of organizational support and personal challenges. The leaders of organizations are obliged to step up and provide the necessary resources to help their HR teams navigate these issues.

1. Check on health

By health, we mean both physical and mental health. Employers can hire a mental health support team for a while. They can also organize short awareness programs, provide healthy snacks and offer counselling sessions for the HR team. Getting someone to talk to is an excellent way to help understand the areas of burnout and take action accordingly. Business owners can support their organizations by checking the health of their employees, especially the HR department.

2. Help in setting boundaries

While HR professionals across the board are aware of the effects of burnout, it can be challenging for remote employees to set boundaries when it comes to their work. Due to this, it becomes vital for organizations to encourage their remote employees to set their boundaries.

3. Know their need

You can’t ask your HR department to feel supported unless you have the necessary information. To gather the required data, you can conduct focus groups or surveys and better understand how the rest of the team can help support its members. If you hear that the team is understaffed, consider hiring more people.

4. Get the tech support

Technology provides solutions for almost everything now. Leaders and managers can find various tools to monitor performance. HR professionals who rate their performance against their goals can make use of performance management software. Similarly, they can use training management software. Employers can invest in any new software or tools that their business requires to help ensure that the HR team is monitored for any burnout. These tools should be able to help check any activity or projects that are likely to burden the HR team.

Summing Up

The HR department is many a time considered the powerhouse of an organization. Many HR departments have experienced unprecedented challenges and felt helpless throughout the post-pandemic phase. It’s high time employers understood the struggles of HR professionals and took action to improve their performance. We hope this article helps you address your HR team’s pressure.

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