The news that HR professionals are less likely to cope with life’s most unsettling events than any other profession isn’t in itself surprising, but it is worrying.
It isn’t surprising because the profession is undergoing huge change. From adopting outsourced and shared services to becoming a more strategic business partner, HR departments are having to streamline themselves and reinvent themselves – the BBC is a current case in point. Change is unsettling and difficult and it takes its toll on all individuals involved.
What is worrying is that HR professionals are finding it hard to cope with this change.
By their very nature, HR practitioners have to take on other peoples’ problems as a part of their job. When there is change, they have to help others cope first, usually at the expense of their own needs. Take, for example, an HR officer breaking news to employees that they are to lose their jobs and having to help people cope, knowing full well that they have lost their job too.
In the ever-changing business world, upsizing, downsizing, mergers and acquisitions will always be a regular occurrence. And it will be HR that drives through the associated organisational change ensuring a smooth transition for employees. But where do the needs of these HR professionals fit in?
HR managers have a duty to their staff to ensure that their welfare is a priority. They must be vigilant and sensitive to the needs of staff who are under intense pressure to help business change while, at the same time, having to change themselves.
HR managers must have a good look at their own department and identify how well their staff are coping with the pressures of the job. Defining the problem is the first step to solving for the benefit of HR professionals, the team and the wider business.