It’s a tough time for HR leaders. From the pandemic to the Great Resignation and the war for talent, HR pros are facing unprecedented challenges – all at once.
With so many forces working against you, it’s almost impossible not to get burnt out.
And if you search, “how to avoid burnout as an HR leader,” the results are about burnout prevention in employees, not in yourself.
So, we’ve created a resource to help. This article is for you and about you – the HR leader.
Like oxygen masks on a plane, here’s how to prioritize your wellbeing before helping others.
Seven self-care tips for HR pros’ wellbeing
1. Declare no-electronics evenings
Being constantly “on” can have a huge impact on your mental and physical wellbeing. It’s impossible to recharge your batteries if you continually check your work email or answer Slacks into the night, which can lead to ‘anticipatory stress.’
“Employees experience increased anxiety, decreased quality of sleep, and lower relationship satisfaction because after-hours emails promote the constant feeling that a message from work could arrive at any moment,” according to a recent Forbes article.
Shut your laptop before 7 pm, and use your evenings to unwind or spend time with your family and friends. And encourage your team members to do the same! Tell them proudly about your healthy habit of unplugging after hours, and let them know it’s okay to practice these boundaries themselves. These behaviors are contagious – and a well-rested team is a healthy team.
2. Take a break
Taking small breaks throughout the day not only prevents burnout, but also increases your productivity and restores motivation.
If you can, try taking a walk outside, or even around your apartment or office. While taking a five-minute break at least once an hour might feel like a waste of time, it can help clear your mind, reduce stress levels, and improve your mood, making you more motivated and productive when you return to work.
3. Give yourself an hour in the morning
Dedicate the first hour of your day for ‘me’ time. Before starting your workday, do what makes you feel good like practicing yoga, meditating, or enjoying a quiet cup of coffee while reading the news.
Make a habit of doing this each morning, and you’ll notice a change in your mind and body. You’ll feel more recharged, well-rested, and ready to tackle your to-do list, which can establish a positive tone for the remainder of the day.
4. Automate your busywork
As an HR professional, you know how exhausting it can be to handle employee inquiries, process time-off requests, and manage healthcare benefits manually. Not only is it time-consuming, but it can also take your focus away from other vital tasks. That’s where automation comes in, you can increase productivity and prevent burnout. You’ll have more time to focus on planned HR initiatives that add value to your organization, while also reducing the risk of errors and improving employee satisfaction. Trust us, your workload will feel much lighter once you start automating these tasks.
Automate everyday tasks like managing PTO, employee requests, and healthcare benefits. If you’re still doing it all manually, it’s time to upgrade your tech, so you can save time and avoid burnout.
Platforms like Healthee can help save you hours per week by automating all health and benefits-related issues and easing the Open Enrollment period. Healthee gives employees on-demand answers to their health benefits questions, including what’s covered, which plans to pick, and how to save money on care – so you’ll never need to answer another benefits question again (or at least a lot less frequently).
Don’t try to handle it all. Take things off your to-do list by delegating tasks to others – not just within your team, but collaboratively with all people. The organizations that foster the best cultures are those that empower their people to independently manage both personal and team-based initiatives, from organizing social events to facilitating peer learning and development sessions. These activities are often more effectively executed when your employees are actively involved.
Don’t be afraid to ask your teammates for help or speak up when you’re overwhelmed. If you find that your bandwidth is being stretched too thin, take a step back and see which tasks are truly urgent, and which you can take off your plate or put aside for now.
Remember that giving responsibility to others is not an indication of weakness. Instead, it’s a strategy for maximizing your team’s capabilities and fostering a spirit of cooperation and shared accountability. You can empower your team to advance their abilities while focusing on important and high-priority activities by delegating work to them.
Pro tip: Avoid letting other teams assign you tasks that you’re not in charge of. HR can be the go-to destination for employee-related projects that others don’t want to handle. Make sure that everything that’s on your desk is actually in your wheelhouse.
6. Understand your priorities
By creating a system to prioritize your tasks you can constantly have an eagle-eye view of what needs to be done, what needs to be prioritized (and what doesn’t), and avoid overwhelm. Understanding which tasks are urgent and which are lower on the list helps create order and set achievable goals. Categorizing tasks by urgency also helps reduce unnecessary stress by avoiding tight turnarounds and looming deadlines.
Here are a few methods to help you set your priorities:
- Use a priority matrix to help you choose the tasks you should prioritize and the ones you should hold off on
- Use the MIT, or Most Important Tasks method, to categorize only your top three to-dos
- Find your 20%. Because 80% of results come from just 20% of our work, make that 20% your priority and goal for the day.
7. Find your outlets
As an HR professional, you dedicate the majority of your time to fixing other peoples’ problems and ensuring their happiness. This can take a toll on you mentally.
Make sure you have outlets to express your feelings, cares, and concerns while taking time to recharge.
This can mean finding a therapist or a good friend to talk to.
Like music? Try listening to your favorite radio station or songs while you work. Research has found that listening to music reduces stress by triggering our biochemical stress reducers. It can also be a great escape from the everyday hustle and bustle.
Feeling more invigorated already? Great! We hope you use these tips and tricks to prevent burnout in these challenging times. Some might resonate with you more than others, so find what works for you.
Remember that prevention is the key. You may maintain a healthy work-life balance and keep thriving both personally and professionally by taking measures to prevent burnout and giving your health the attention it deserves.
Refer to this guide as a resource any time you feel stressed or overwhelmed. Feel free to share with your colleagues – many of these tips can be used in other departments to promote engagement and an overall sense of happiness.
Stay happy, stay healthee!
HR Self Care FAQs
1. What are the warning signs of burnout?
Physical and mental tiredness, cynicism, and detachment, as well as a diminished sense of success, are all warning indicators of burnout. Increased irritation, difficulty concentrating, and lower productivity are possible additional symptoms. Setting limits, engaging in self-care, and getting help from coworkers or a mental health professional are all ways to avoid burnout.
2. How does burnout affect HR and organizations?
Burnout can result in lower output, decreased work time, and greater rates of turnover. It may also have a detrimental influence on employee engagement and morale, which may have an adverse effect on quality and, ultimately, financial success. As a result, it’s critical for HR directors to prioritize burnout-prevention measures including encouraging work-life balance and offering stress management services which they too may take advantage of.
3. How can HR prevent burnout?
By fostering work-life balance, promoting open communication and feedback, fostering chances for professional development and advancement, and fostering a good and supportive work environment, HR leaders may prevent burnout. It’s also recommended for HR leaders to put their own wellbeing and self-care first.
4. How can I tell if my workload is too much?
Feeling constantly worn out, having difficulties sleeping due to stress, becoming agitated or nervous, and losing enjoyment in activities you formerly found enjoyable are some indications that your job, or the way you’re handling it, may be excessive. Setting boundaries, assigning responsibilities to others, and taking breaks as necessary are all valuable measures to prevent burnout.
5. Where can I find resources for stress management and mental health support?
Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are not just for non-HR employees. These programs offer private support and counseling for mental health difficulties. Additionally, there are internet sources like the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) that provide information and tools for stress management and mental health assistance. It’s crucial for HR leaders to put their own mental health first and use these services when necessary.