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A Guide to Preventing and Overcoming Burnout

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Burnout is a growing and extremely concerning problem in the workforce. But the fight against burnout is a particular challenge for HR managers.

The human toll of burnout

Burnout is becoming a major problem in many companies. However, the challenge for HR is twofold: HR professionals are expected not only to manage burnout, but also to mitigate their own risk of burnout.

And within HR, the risk of burnout is very real.

Following the major upheaval caused by the pandemic and the exhaustion that has ensued, a recent survey found that almost all (98%) of HR professionals feel burned out. Additionally, 94% felt overwhelmed in the past six months and 88% were afraid to even go to work.

Data from the Top Employers Institute confirms that burnout support is moving higher up the HR agenda. Almost two thirds (63%) of the institute's members now offer support in dealing with burnout problems, compared to less than half (49%) a year ago. However, the more HR focuses on the support it offers, the more it puts itself in a position of vulnerability.

Ultimately, the entire profession had to juggle overwhelming challenges (often simultaneously). HR professionals have had to focus on keeping employees safe, providing psychological safety and mental health support, and managing the complexities of remote and hybrid workplaces, among other things.

So what can your HR teams do to protect themselves?

3 Strategies for managing HR burnout

With all of these worrying statistics, how can HR professionals protect themselves in the difficult times ahead?

Strategy #1: Seek opportunities to listen

HR managers are people like everyone else. They need to listen to each other within the HR team, just as they would with other employees. Above all, HR managers need to listen to their teams - and listen well.

Sarah Fern, Chief People Officer of Velocity Global, explains: "One of the things we're doing at our company is new listening techniques, such as anonymous live feedback slides during presentations. And we pay attention to all feedback."

HR managers must not only react empathetically, but also proactively seek honest conversations with their team members.

They also need to create a psychologically safe environment for themselves in which they can speak freely about the impact of their work on their mental health.

Strategy #2: Educate through action

HR teams need to understand that the best way to demonstrate their role as those primarily responsible for caring for employees is through their own best practices. The way they care for themselves to combat burnout is crucial.

For example, a human resources manager who sends emails well outside of office hours might feel like he can balance work and home life in a way that works best for him, but his behavior might lead younger colleagues to do the same.

Satnam Sagoo, Associate Chief People Officer at Imperial College, Healthcare NHS Trust, puts it succinctly: "We need to give back permission - permission to take time off. In her previous job, Satnam Sagoo noticed a tendency towards back-to-back online meetings . "So we decided to introduce a 'Zap Zoom' policy at a certain time every day to give everyone an hour of time off. The policy has prevailed - sometimes it is best to lead by example to educate the company.

Strategy #3: Use technology to support and improve

The way HR managers use technology to analyze and improve their own performance can be really effective in alleviating feelings of being overwhelmed.

Jonny Gifford, senior researcher at the CIPD, said: "Data is so powerful. Data can clearly show whether the resources are not there to do the job that needs to be done and what solutions are possible." The more HR can use data to understand and improve itself, the more it can do the same for others.

Sarah Fern adds that HR can support and improve the development of an effective people strategy by understanding what the data is telling us. We need to use technology to connect the dots and buy time."

What can we learn from all of this?

Burnout in the HR industry is a major challenge, but not an insurmountable one. When HR professionals proactively seek out listening opportunities within their own teams, educate themselves and others using best practices, and make the most of technology, they can avoid burnout.

This way, fewer employers face the prospect of HR talent draining just when the rest of the company needs their skills most.

In the relentless battle against burnout, IceHrm understands the unique challenges faced by HR professionals. By fostering a culture of open communication, setting impactful examples, and leveraging technology, IceHrm empowers HR teams to safeguard their well-being and continue delivering excellence in the ever-evolving workplace landscape.

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