UK HR teams still feeling pandemic pressure

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UK HR professionals are feeling the stresses of dealing with the pandemic more than their counterparts around the world, according to data from an employee experience platform.

Culture Amp’s data revealed that only 39% of UK HR professionals felt equipped to balance the requirements of their role during the first quarter of this year.

Globally, the proportion of HR professionals feeling confident in their ability is not much higher, at 40%. This is lower than the 44% saying this was the case in the second quarter of 2020, right at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than two-thirds (69%) of UK HR professionals felt they were unable to switch off from work and make time for rest during the first quarter of this year, and there was an 18 percentage point dip in the number feeling productive.

Just under half (49%) of UK HR professionals said they felt productive in the first quarter of this year, compared to 67% in the second quarter of last year.

Globally, 64% of people leaders felt unable to switch off, and 57% felt productive.

There was also a drop in the number of HR professionals in the UK feeling that the work they do makes a positive difference to the company – from 73% in April to June last year to 60% in the first quarter of this year.

More than two-thirds (69%) of UK respondents felt unable to bounce back quickly from setbacks, 10 percentage points higher than the global figure.

Culture Amp’s data found that HR professionals in healthcare were the hardest hit. Only 43% felt they were making a positive difference during the first quarter of this year, compared to 65% in the second quarter of 2020. Only 21% felt able to bounce back from setbacks.

In financial services, the first three months of this year marked a change in mood. Fifty-five percent of HR professionals in this sector felt positive, nine percentage points higher than the previous quarter, according to Culture Amp.

Nick Matthews, general manager and vice president for EMEA at the company said the figures made concerning reading.

“At the height of Covid, HR was powering through – looking after everyone else in the company,” he said.

“Business leaders need to be proactive in supporting HR teams as they recover from their heroic pandemic efforts and recognise that their roles have evolved and will be even more relevant in this new world.

“It’s imperative that HR should be taking the time to check in on their own wellbeing and calibrate their work-life boundaries if necessary.”

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