5 Ways HR Leaders Can Combat Burnout


April 11, 2023

Your favorite HR professional is not OK.  


According to a 2023 Future of Working and Learning Report released last month by Executive Networks, 41% of HR leaders are likely or very likely to leave their company in the next year. That’s a staggering 12% more than business leaders, the next most likely group. 


Every worker segment ranked “stress and burnout” as the top reason they’d consider leaving, but the feeling is even more acute for those in human resources. After three years of weathering a pandemic, multiple post-pandemic return-to-work scenarios, and more, many HR leaders feel undervalued and tapped out. 


A recent thread on the subReddit HumanResources underscored what the Executive Networks survey found. The original poster wrote: “I have been in the industry for seven years so far, and I am considering leaving the profession all together. I feel HR as a function seems to be overworked and underappreciated wherever I have worked. I can't imagine maintaining that pace for the rest of my career.”  


So far, the post has received 145 upvotes and 80+ comments, most of which echo the sentiment. 


“I totally agree with you,” wrote one commenter. “We are overworked and underappreciated. As someone already said, it is a very emotionally taxing field to work on because you are always trying to satisfy the unsatisfied.” 


To any HR leaders reading this, let us be the first to say THANK YOU. Thank you for your work behind the scenes to ensure your company’s most valuable resource—your employees—are well cared for. As a company focused on employee benefits, we mean it when we say we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.  


Below you’ll find five of our favorite tips for navigating the emotional challenges that come with working in HR (plus a bonus tip we think could have a big impact on satisfying those unhappy employees!). 


1. Practice self-care

One of the most important things you can do to navigate emotional struggles in HR is to practice self-care. Make time for yourself outside of work and engage in activities that help you relax and recharge. Prioritize self-care, such as exercising, meditating, or spending time with loved ones. Taking care of yourself is essential to avoid burnout and maintaining emotional well-being.  


2. Set boundaries

As an HR professional, you may feel pressure to be available 24/7 for employees and management. However, it's essential to set boundaries and have a work-life balance. Establish clear expectations around your availability and stick to them. Communicate with your colleagues and management about your boundaries, and don't be afraid to say no to requests outside your job responsibilities or work hours.  


3. Develop a support system

Working in HR can be emotionally draining, and having a support system can be beneficial. Connect with colleagues in your HR department or other professionals in the industry. You can also seek support from mentors, coaches, or therapists. Having someone to talk to and share your experiences with can help you navigate emotional struggles.  


I know firsthand the work of human resources is not for the faint of heart, but it is for the courageous souls who seek to make a positive impact on the lives of others,” says Kayla Hediger, SureCo’s People Operations HR Manager. "As a human resources professional, you have the power to transform workplaces and change lives. Keep going, your work is invaluable, and every challenge you face is an opportunity to learn, grow and become better equipped to make a difference."


4. Practice empathy

Empathy is an essential skill for HR professionals. It involves putting yourself in someone else's shoes and understanding their perspective. Practicing empathy can help you build better relationships with employees and manage conflicts more effectively. It can also help you feel more connected to your work and reduce feelings of isolation.  


5. Seek help when needed

If you're struggling emotionally, don't hesitate to seek help. Talk to your supervisor or employee assistance program (EAP) about your concerns. These resources can provide you with support and guidance in navigating your emotional struggles. 


(Bonus tip) Improve employee satisfaction by offering them more benefits options

After compensation, benefits are the biggest driver of employee attraction and retention. And some employees even rank benefit customization above pay! By switching from a traditional, one-size-fits-no-one group plan to an individual coverage health reimbursement arrangement (ICHRA), you can let your workers choose the health plan that works best for their personal needs, budget, and location.  


Download our ICHRA Guide to learn more, or schedule a 15-minute call with a SureCo benefits advisor to see if it could work for your company. 


Download SureCo's ICHRA Guide



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