Burnout, overwhelming expectations fuel dread among HR leaders

HR practitioners also less likely to take advantage of mental health benefits

Burnout, overwhelming expectations fuel dread among HR leaders

Many HR leaders are suffering from dread, according to a new report from Headspace, which determined the biggest drivers of the panic amongst practitioners.

In a recent survey Headspace found the following reasons are the cause of dread for many HR professionals:

  • Burnout from emotional caregiving for employees (36%)
  • Being overwhelmed by expectations to take on more and more job responsibilities (36%)
  • Worry over not being able to meet expectations (31%)
  • Lack of stability creates constant feeling of unpredictability at work (28%)
  • Pressure to justify the ROI of mental health benefits investments (22%)
  • The job being replaced or impacted by technology (18%)
  • Being overwhelmed by vendor management (16%)
  • Fear of being laid off (16%)

Three per cent of the respondents said they feel dread, but they can't put a finger on why they feel this way. Among all the respondents, only 17% said they don't feel dread at work.

Using mental health benefits

The report also found that 94% of HR leaders feel an "increasing responsibility to improve company culture by supporting employee mental health." Despite this, only 41% of them said they use mental health benefits regularly.

"And they're not using benefits despite viewing them favourably: 91% of HR leaders rate their mental health benefits program positively," the report said.

According to the report, which also surveyed over 400 CEOs and 4,000 employees, HR leaders are the people who are least likely to use their mental health benefits. Sixty-four per cent of CEOs use these benefits at work, while 73% of employees take advantage of them.

Headspace attributed the situation to the responsibilities shouldered by HR leaders, leaving them with less time to focus on themselves.

"HR leaders are having a hard time supporting their own mental health when they're shouldering the burden of encouraging mental health for employees," the report said.

Taking care of HR

Désirée Pascual, Headspace’s chief people officer, underscored the importance of taking care of themselves amid uncertainty and changes in the environment.

"People leaders are exhausted, with many of us asking – 'How do we sustain ourselves amidst all this uncertainty and change, while continuing to create stability for others?' We owe it to ourselves, and our teams, to carve out time each and every day to take care of ourselves first and foremost," Pascual said in the report.

The report also recommended taking the next steps to help take care of HR leaders' mental health:

  • Encourage HR leaders to put their "own oxygen mask on first." Let them model positive behaviour, such as taking care of their mental health.
  • Proactively check in with your HR leaders. Ask them what can be done to support them, instead of just asking if they need support.
  • Create a system for growth. Set up dedicated time for leadership and development.
  • Create a boundary statement. HR leaders should consider setting a "boundary statement" to ground them and overcome compassion fatigue.

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