I think I can speak for most of us HR folk when say that at one point or another we’ve experienced the pressure of workplace stress, it kind of comes with the HR territory.
I know for me from the very early days when I was the only HR person in the business, through to climbing the ladder to HRD, there were times when I experienced overwhelm, stress, loneliness, and burnout – not all together although after the last couple of years let’s not rule that out!
It was these feelings that ultimately led me to leave my HRD role and corporate career behind for the world of a self-employed consultant. Taking back control of my time, and work-life balance was essential, although, I do think we’ve come a long way in the last 5 years.
It’s not just HR that feel that pressure, any role can have elements of pressure and attract stress, even for those of us who love what we do. That’s right, you can love your job and still experience stress- meeting tight deadlines, facing new challenges all count towards the stress. And here’s the thing, it’s ok to feel some pressure especially when stepping out of comfort zones, it’s when these feelings are a constant presence that change is needed.
In HR you’ll be primed placed to not only recognise the signs but also step in to support employees and leaders alike. As the ‘people’ people there are many things we can do to help employees, colleagues and leaders reduce stress in the workplace:
Being aware of the common stress factors – this includes, excessive workloads, lack of support or leadership. We are perfectly placed to spot these and advise on recommendations for change.
Consulting on Pay – A huge factor for people right now will be financially driven, consulting on pay gaps, pay increases, and fair wages can help ease the financial pressures
Employee Engagement Programmes – Understanding what people want in terms of benefit packages, support, progression plans can support a more inclusive culture and reduce stress.
Champion Leadership Development – Having supportive, empathetic leadership teams who have the tools and understanding available for their teams will reduce their pressures too.