OK, HR professionals: It’s time to think about yourselves more. Turns out, you’re over-stressed and quitting more than the general employee population.
HR has the highest turnover of all job functions – a quit rate of 15% in the past year, according to LinkedIn research. And it’s not Quiet Quitting or even Loud Quitting. It’ smore like an extension of The Great Resignation – finally, HR pros are responding to being over-stressed and overwhelmed.
If it wasn’t so painfully true, it borders on comical, considering HR pros are usually charged with engaging employees and improving their experiences. Meanwhile, in many situations, HR professionals are the employees suffering the most.
“It’s silent, everyday stress that gradually and then suddenly lead to a state of being overwhelmed,” says Dr. Gabriel De La Rosa, Chief Behavioral Science Officer at Fierce Conversations. “And HR professionals deal with high levels of daily stressors. Indeed, when interpersonal issues arise, poor performance or low morale are present, HR professionals are called in. Constantly dealing with these types of issues can leave people drained.”
So the people called in to help need the help this time. From remote work, to layoffs, to talent shortages, to getting people back in the office, you’ve probably faced it – and probably took the brunt of employee complaints throughout it all.
So we’ve gathered ideas on better self-care and stress management – the things you might just pass on to your employees rather than take into consideration for yourself.
Here are five stress management and self-care tips:
Be aware of being over-stressed
If you’ve read this far, and are still skeptical about whether you’re near a breaking point, understand this: Because you’ve read this far, you are: You saw yourself in what you read.
“You must be surgical in the way you approach stress, and the first step for any HR professional is to work on your self-awareness,” De La Rosa says.
To check on your well-being, ask yourself:
- Do I know what stressors are distinct to me as an individual?
- Can I name or do I understand what events or people within the workplace stress me out?
- What type of stress management works for me? Do I understand which management tools work for which stressors?
“If you can’t answer these questions, it’s a great place to start,” De La Rosa says. “Generic stress management is not the answer for building resilience and getting out of burnout.”
Discover your major stressors, and you can easier find the ways to step away or rebound from them.
You know that a healthy work/life balance is critical to curb stress and avoid turnover. But do you listen to what you know and probably preach to employees?
This is how important the balance is to most working people: Almost 65% say they’d choose a better work/life balance over better pay, according to FlexJobs’ 2022 Career Pulse Survey.
“Healthy work/life balance can be instrumental to the success and longevity of an organization,” says Sara Sutton, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs. And HR is at the forefront of that.
So it’s critical to make the decision to set clear boundaries and stick to a regular schedule, regardless of how you work – on-site, remote or hybrid. Designate a hard start and stop time every day. If necessary, add it to your correspondence so people don’t try to contact you outside of the norms.
“When work hours have a beginning and an end, it’s easier to set boundaries with family members, coworkers and managers,” says Toni Frana, FlexJobs’ Career Services Manager.
Get water and air
Regardless of where you work, you need water and air to alleviate stress.
The watercooler – real, virtual or the conceptual meeting spot – serves a purpose: a mental, menial break from the work cycle. Plan for at least 10 minutes (but no more than 30) to chat with co-workers about non-work stuff such as what you’re streaming. Or do double-duty and plan to swap and talk about healthy, quick meal recipes.
“The social support and connection can help remote workers decompress and build stronger relationships,” says Frana.
On top of that, get fresh air every day. Walk around your block or building to kick off a lunch break. Step outside to breathe deeply without your phone. This isn’t just good for your lungs and physical health. A study in The Business Journals shows that breathing fresh air helps us make better decisions, score higher on tests and process information more efficiently.
Skill up in communication
HR professionals should be the ultimate communicators. After all, doesn’t nearly everyone in the organization want to communicate the good, bad and ugly with you? And don’t you have to communicate policy and procedure with them all the time?
Still, poor communication is at the root of stress, anxiety and quitting, according to a Harvard Business School study.
“Having a strong competency in how to receive feedback, offer feedback, confront colleagues, share honest opinions and speak with figures of authority with confidence is key,” De La Rosa says. “Mastery comes when you can also coach others with tools and resources, and begin to build a workforce who first tries to solve their own interpersonal challenges before coming to HR.”
And wouldn’t that be the ideal – employees and colleagues containing issues before they escalate to you?
Schedule time for self-care
Pick your potion. But whatever you do, schedule time weekly – even better, daily – for a favorite form of self-care. You know the drill. Put exercise, yoga, golf, book club, a movie, vacation, opera, family or friend visit, coffee break, etc., into your calendar. Most importantly, stick to it.
At work, don’t just help guide your people to Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Get involved in those that matter to you. Beyond that, you might consider getting more active in professional HR organizations where you can be with others who face the same struggles.
Remember: Things will always come up. The key is to resist the urge to let work matters spill into personal commitments to your well-being.