As a business, prioritizing a balance of responsibilities in your workforce is more than efficient: It’s critical for the health and wellbeing of your employees.
Today, it is increasingly common for people to find themselves overwhelmed to the point of mental and physical exhaustion at their jobs, and given that the average worker spends a third of their life at work, one’s workplace satisfaction can have a significant impact on their overall happiness.
While negative workplace sentiments are frequently normalized and dismissed (i.e.: the common expression, “If it were fun, they wouldn’t call it work.”), a poor outlook on one’s occupation can affect them both professionally and personally.
This ailment is referred to as burnout, and while it can be experienced by employees at any and every level of an organization, human resource (HR) professionals are among some of the hardest hit due to dramatic changes in the workplace that have transpired in the past two years.
Today, we’ll discuss the current causes of workplace fatigue, how employees–specifically those in HR–are affected, and how partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO) can help you to cure and prevent cases of burnout in your organization.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is classified by the World Health Organization as, “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
It is commonly characterized by:
- mental and/or physical fatigue
- negative perspective on one’s workplace and work-related tasks
- inability to retain workplace focus or efficiency
Burnout is often dismissed as a personal weakness with the suggestion that employees who are unable to manage their responsibilities–however unreasonable–lack a level of mental fortitude.
But this is far from true: In reality, burnout is typically the result of rising, often unrealistic, expectations of individual employees due to a lack of resources or support within an organization.
The Burnout Epidemic
According to an Indeed survey, more than half of employees experienced burnout in 2021: a 9% jump from pre-COVID-19 findings.
And most (approximately 67% according to the same Indeed survey) attribute this to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Anxiety surrounding personal health and that of loved ones skyrocketed and was compounded by factors such as virtual schooling for children, an onslaught of negative media coverage, and the jarring shift to working from home.
Many companies were forced to scale down suddenly at the onset of the pandemic, but when businesses began opening back up in an attempt to restore pre-pandemic activity, they found themselves without the resources to manage the work anymore.
As such, remaining employees were stretched to their limits and were left shouldering a greater amount of responsibility than typically would–or should–be expected of them.
The Impact on HR Professionals
Hardships wrought by the pandemic were universal; however, individuals in certain industries were undoubtedly impacted to a higher degree than others.
Certainly, front line workers were among some of these most affected, but the impact on human resource professionals should not go unnoticed.
HR support backs every organization and plays a critical role in preserving the health, safety, and welfare of its employees.
Therefore, when suddenly forced to mitigate the ramifications of a global pandemic, pressure was at an all-time high for human resource teams.
First of all, the pandemic was a completely unprecedented event. Matters such as remote work protocols, vaccine mandates, and in-office procedures were completely uncharted, leaving HR teams to navigate and manage these new circumstances to the best of their abilities.
What’s more, HR departments are the primary touchpoint for unhappy or overly-stressed employees–meaning that, while mitigating their own anxieties and challenges, they were expected to shoulder the burden of other employees’ workplace concerns at the same time.
Lastly, the pandemic forced HR teams to maintain stability in the midst of one of the most volatile labor markets in recent history.
Toward the end of 2021, after most establishments had implemented new protocols for business as usual, there followed an observable spike in employee resignations of about 3%.
In stark contrast to the mass layoffs of 2020, the rise in voluntary employee departures–referred to as The Great Resignation–left HR teams struggling to meet the resource needs of their organizations.
The impacts of The Great Resignation are still being witnessed in the first quarter of 2022, and analysts are beginning to see it in a new light: That is, many employees are not leaving the workforce altogether but are instead aligning themselves with new companies due to the increased demand–and opportunities–in the workforce.
Fittingly, this restructuring of the labor market is now being referred to as The Great Reshuffle.
These dramatic changes in the workforce left HR teams in a vicious cycle of offboarding, recruiting, onboarding and training, expending time and money with resources who were already stretched thin.
How PEO Partnerships Can Help
Avoiding burnout in the HR field is particularly important and challenging right now. For many companies, a partnership with a professional employer organization (PEO) can be an excellent solution.
PEOs provide outsourced HR services for organizations to lighten the load on on-site teams. By delegating administrative tasks like benefits and payroll administration to a PEO, your on-site human resource teams are able to focus instead on the specific needs of your business, including company culture and workplace morale.
Some specific services offered by PEO partnerships are:
- payroll administration
- healthcare and benefits management
- retirement plans
- workers’ compensation insurance
- and risk management & compliance
Additional PEO advantages include HR support for your business. Here at FrankCrum, our team of human resource professionals is available to provide guidance through any and all of your HR challenges, including policy development and counsel surrounding interview/onboarding procedures.
Our team at FrankCrum is committed to offering PEO services that benefit the specific needs of each client. We are here to help you support the mental health of your workforce by allowing them to offload their extraneous tasks, and by advising them on the difficult matters surrounding our ever-evolving workforce. Contact us today to learn how FrankCrum can lighten the load of your HR teams.