HR happiness levels high but so is workload

Happiness levels have reached unprecedented heights among the HR profession, despite the economic slowdown and increasing workloads, according to research.

The quarterly Happiness at Work Index of 1,086 UK employees, by international recruitment agency Badenoch & Clark, showed that 88% of HR staff had experienced rising workloads – the highest proportion among all the professions surveyed.

And a quarter of them claimed the extra work was the equivalent of an extra day per week.

They were followed by banking and finance, where 72% reported higher workloads.

Nearly one in three (29%) HR professionals handed in their notice as a result of the extra work, but a similar number were handling the pressure by delegating more tasks. And 49% of all the respondents said they were keeping on top of things by simply putting in extra hours at the office.

More than half (56%) of HR professionals said they were less confident about their career than they were at the start of the year – the most in any of the professions polled.

And 48% of all the respondents said they were planning to leave their jobs in 2008, with 34% saying they wouldn’t think twice about jumping ship if another job opportunity came along.

Yet 94% of personnel managers said they were happy with their role, up from 76% the previous quarter.

Allison Gray at Badenoch & Clark said: “The results are particularly revealing for HR workers. It seems the job is becoming very labour intensive. When it comes to career prospects, confidence is dropping fast.

“The key message for employers is to not misread the unprecedented high levels of happiness for long-term genuine engagement. HR as a profession is facing some very serious challenges at the moment, and employers need to be seen to be tackling those challenges head on. If that doesn’t happen, employers leave themselves open to losing a lot of their best talent.”

Badenoch & Clark’s suggestions for helping to create a happy workforce include:

  • Conduct employee attitude surveys to find out what people really think

  • Find out why people leave

  • Provide regular, constructive feedback on performance

  • Recognise achievement.

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