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Burnt out and overwhelmed by expectations say HR leaders

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Report reveals HR leaders experience dread due to job demands and mental health neglect

According to a new report from Headspace, many HR leaders are experiencing dread, with several factors contributing to this feeling. The report highlighted the biggest drivers of panic among HR professionals. Burnout from emotional caregiving for employees and feeling overwhelmed by expectations to take on more job responsibilities were two major causes of dread, according to the report. Worrying over not being able to meet expectations and the constant feeling of unpredictability at work were also factors that contributed to the negative emotions.

The survey, which had more than 400 CEOs and 4,000 employees participating, also found that 94% of HR leaders feel an “increasing responsibility to improve company culture by supporting employee mental health.” However, only 41% of them said they use mental health benefits regularly. The report also discovered that 91% of HR leaders view their mental health benefits programs favorably, but only 17% of them don’t feel dread at work.

The report attributed the low usage of mental health benefits by HR leaders to the heavy responsibilities they shoulder, leaving them with less time to focus on themselves. The report also revealed that HR leaders are the people who are least likely to use their mental health benefits, as 64% of CEOs use these benefits at work, while 73% of employees take advantage of them.

To help tackle the situation, the report recommended taking the next steps to help take care of HR leaders’ mental health. These include encouraging HR leaders to put their “own oxygen mask on first” and proactively checking in with them. Additionally, setting up dedicated time for leadership and development and creating a boundary statement were recommended.

Désirée Pascual, Headspace’s chief people officer, underscored the importance of taking care of oneself amid uncertainty and changes in the environment. She noted that “People leaders are exhausted, with many of us asking – ‘How do we sustain ourselves amidst all this uncertainty and change, while continuing to create stability for others?’ We owe it to ourselves, and our teams, to carve out time each and every day to take care of ourselves first and foremost.”

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