HR as a profession has undergone a significant disruption in the last two and a half to three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stress and fatigue have led to an unprecedented turnover of HR leaders as fallout to the pandemic. “I was speaking to Marty Parker, CEO of Waterstone human capital, a North American firm,” Kim explains, and he said that he has never seen such an exodus of HR leaders leaving organizations or changing organizations due to burnout. Physically and mentally.”
When the pandemic hit, HR leaders were tasked with managing their employees remotely and handling new and unprecedented challenges on-the-fly. This added stress and pressure has led to burnout for many HR leaders. “As a result, some are taking a hiatus, Kim states, while others are finding new roles or going into consulting where they can impact organizations on their own terms.”
New HR leaders in these roles need to settle in and perform in their first 90 days or six months. This means that settling into their new roles takes precedence over wellness initiatives. HR leaders also have the big responsibility of navigating new territory efficiently and effectively. One of the biggest challenges facing HR leaders, Kim notes, is the resistance of employees at all levels to return to the office. Some employees are resistant to returning to the office while others want to return for the social connections. This has led to a war on procuring talent as organizations prioritize recruiting and hiring to fill job vacancies.
Kim goes on to mention that job vacancies, according to Stats Canada, are right now at a record high of 5.9%, and retention also becomes a huge priority in this context. The current state of the HR role is challenging, with HR leaders facing disruptions, a lack of talent, and the need for evolved employee journeys and great cultures. In serious fashion, Kim opines that “the end-to-end employee journey is tied to wellness, which is key to addressing these challenges. All that said, that's kind of the current state of the HR role as a whole.”
According to a workplace survey conducted by Oracle, 88% of employees polled said that the definition of success in their job has changed for them. With her ability to continuously have a finger on the pulse of what's happening in the corporate marketplace, Kim reveals “it’s no longer about the paycheck, but rather meaningful jobs, alignment to values, and work-life balance. This shift in priorities means that HR leaders and CEOs need to focus on employee experience, she adds.
In some cases, employees have reported being pressured to return to the office more frequently than they had wanted, and sometimes by VPs. In one particular case, an employee went to his direct boss and was adamant that he simply could not return to the office more frequently. His immediate boss supported him, and within the next week, the VP was fired and replaced with another person.
In conclusion, the pandemic has led to a significant disruption in the HR profession, with many HR leaders leaving organizations due to burnout. New HR leaders face the challenge of settling into their new roles while navigating new territory and procuring talent. Employee experience and wellness are key priorities in this context, and HR leaders and CEOs need to get it right to ensure the success of their organizations.
Look out for Part 2b, coming soon!
➡️ To view our full Sept. 2022 Virtual Wellness Intensive Replay, CLICK THE LINK:
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