HR managers are more burned out than ever. Who is supporting them?

 HR teams everywhere are working tirelessly to implement mental health strategies for employees. But who’s putting in the work for them? 

Despite increased mental health initiatives at companies across the country, certain employees are still more susceptible to burnout than others. Ninety-eight percent of HR professionals have felt burned out at work in the last six months, according to a recent survey conducted by workplace communication app Workvivo, and nearly 4 in 5 are open to leaving their jobs.

“HR teams have been at the forefront of dealing with changing workplaces due to the pandemic — including the Great Resignation,” says Laura Lee Gentry, chief people officer at employee onboarding platform Enboarder. “These events have led to increased competitiveness in recruiting, putting further stress on HR teams to hire and retain talent.”

With so many competing priorities, some HR teams may not be receiving adequate resources or support from their organization to address all of these issues, according to Gentry. HR leaders themselves are dealing with their own lingering effects of the pandemic and challenges of hybrid and remote work, while also being primarily responsible for implementing programs to combat these issues for their colleagues. 

“All of this has resulted in HR trying to combat their own stress while working to build an engaging workplace culture, recruit and onboard employees and roll out other important initiatives for DE&I and learning and development programs,” she says. “These teams have a lot on their plate and their own needs can often get lost in the effort to meet everyone else’s.”

But if HR departments are responsible for helping their colleagues find solutions and resources, who is responsible for theirs? The leaders above them, Gentry says. 

The manager relationship is crucial to shaping how employees respond when they experience stress and mental health issues, according to Gentry. Managers at all levels need to maintain an open line of communication and hold check-ins with their employees at least on a weekly basis to give them the support they need to succeed.

Organizations can begin by having mandatory mental health training for managers to help them spot signs of emotional distress, which will help managers properly respond in a way that makes employees feel comfortable, accepted, and supported.

“HR teams and managers should work in tandem to share and clearly outline any mental health benefits their company offers,” Gentry says. “That can be EAPs or internal initiatives like encouraging taking mental health days.

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