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Why do we overlook the HR team’s wellbeing?

When we think of superheroes in the business world, who comes to mind? The CEO with visionary leadership? The marketing gurus creating infectious brand enthusiasm? Or the tech whizzes developing groundbreaking innovations? While these roles are undoubtedly important, another group of unsung heroes often works behind the scenes and rarely gets the accolades they deserve – our Human Resources (HR) professionals. 

Yet, in a twist of irony, the well-being of these corporate champions often takes a backseat in the grand scheme of business priorities. We task them with looking after everyone else in the organization, but who is looking after them? It’s time we turn the spotlight on this paradox and ask, “Why do we leave our HR professionals’ health, care, and comfort until last?” In this article, we’ll delve into this question and explore why it’s high time we started putting HR interests at the top of our business agendas.

The Irony of Neglecting the Well-being of Our Well-being Champions

HR professionals are often the first port of call when anyone in the organization has an issue. But who do they turn to when they’re the ones in need? In this section, we’re going to dig into this ironic predicament. We task HR with the responsibility of looking after everyone else’s interests and professional needs, but when it comes to their own, it often ends up on the back burner. You might think it’s odd, considering they’re well-versed in the importance of employee well-being. 

But remember, HR is usually so busy handling everyone else’s issues they often don’t have the time or forget to focus on themselves. Moreover, businesses may assume that because HR professionals are the ‘people people,’ they can handle anything thrown their way. Unfortunately, this misconception can lead to neglect of HR’s needs and interests.

This needs to be addressed. If the people taking care of the people in your company are stressed out, it has a domino effect that can have negative connotations for the entire organization. We’ll look at what can be done to prioritize the well-being of the human resources department.

Prioritising HR Well-being

After outlining the often overlooked importance of their health and comfort, we need to look at how we can ensure the people responsible for looking after everyone else are also looked after.

Recognising the Need

First things first, we need to recognise and acknowledge the issue. Remember, HR staff are human too. They experience stress, they can feel overwhelmed, and yes, they too can burn out. The notion that HR, the experts in people management, don’t need support themselves is a myth that needs debunking.

Strategies for Supporting HR Well-being

So, we’ve identified the problem, but what’s the solution? Let’s explore some practical steps businesses can take to improve HR well-being:

  • Creating a Supportive Culture: This includes acknowledging the pressures of the HR role, offering moral support, providing the right tools, and encouraging open conversations about mental health and well-being.
  • Promoting a Healthy Work-Life Balance: HR professionals often work long hours. Ensuring they have time to switch off and recharge is vital. This could be through flexible working arrangements or setting boundaries to protect personal time.
  • Professional Development Opportunities: The HR staff also needs to feel they are growing and developing in their roles. This can be through training, workshops, or conferences related to their field.
  • Access to Mental Health Resources: This could be offering access to counseling services, mental health days, or stress management workshops. Remember, HR professionals need to be able to prioritize their mental health too.
  • Recognition and Appreciation: Last but not least, regularly acknowledging the hard work and contribution of HR can go a long way in boosting their morale and well-being.

How Some Companies are Prioritising HR Wellbeing

In this section, let’s delve into the real-world examples of organisations that are putting their HR department first and reaping the rewards. A diverse range of companies, from Wiley to KPMG and Monster, are leading the way in ensuring the wellbeing of their HR professionals.

Building Community and Fostering Engagement

A sense of community and engagement is vital for wellbeing. Companies are encouraging leaders and team members to check in regularly and be intentional about building relationships. Monster, for example, has created opportunities for people to connect within groups related to particular interests or circumstances. Wiley leverages a Global Ambassador Programme to engage volunteers and collect feedback on health, comfort, and culture.

Celebration, Recognition, and Performance Management

The role of celebration and recognition cannot be understated. KPMG, for instance, fosters feedback, openness, and storytelling through its Compassionate Candor program. This approach ensures that HR professionals also feel valued and have the opportunity to grow and develop. Integrating well-being into performance management systems is also a trend, with Wiley leading the charge. Such integration allows for candid conversations with managers about flexibility, goals, and reprioritising.

Career Development and Flexible Work

Career development is a significant part of a holistic approach to wellbeing. As ServiceNow pointed out, employees need feedback about their performance today and guidance on how they can grow within the organisation. Along with this, flexible working has become a cornerstone of keeping the health and care of employees in mind. It involves accommodating the hours employees can work and finding solutions for when they can’t.

Conclusion – HR Wellbeing Shouldn’t Be the Last Thought

In the end, it all circles back to where we started: HR professionals are the ambassadors of our businesses. As such, their wellbeing is not just a nice-to-have; it’s an imperative that paves the way for organisational success. In the words of HR professionals, health, care, and comfort strategies aren’t just for the rank-and-file but also for those who are often the first point of contact for new hires, the comforters during challenging times, and the champions of workplace culture. The wellbeing of HR isn’t an added extra; it’s a core part of a successful, resilient, and compassionate business.

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