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Why Recruiter and HR Burnout is On the Rise

While it may come as no surprise to those in HR and recruiting, the rates of burnout across all industries have risen significantly. According to a recent report from Indeed, more than half of survey respondents reported that they’re experiencing burnout — up from the 43% who said the same in Indeed’s pre-Covid-19 survey. Is it because so many of us are working remotely? The report says that those who work virtually are more likely to say burnout has worsened over the course of the pandemic (38%) than are those working on site (28%). Similarly, on-site workers are more likely than their virtual counterparts to say COVID-19 hasn’t affected their burnout (25% and 13%, respectively).

The pandemic’s toll is also more apparent among older generations. Baby Boomers show a 7% increase in burnout from pre-pandemic levels, from 24% to today’s 31%. More than half of Gen-Xers are currently burned out — a 14% jump from the 40% who felt this way last year.

In addition to being burnt out, HR and recruiting professionals are working in environments where they are likely short-staffed companywide, which means compensating for unfilled positions. Human resources job postings are up 52.5% from their pre-pandemic baseline. That’s far outpacing the average job posting bump of 30.5%, according to data from Indeed. So why the increase?

In June, Axios reported that companies are facing two massive challenges in the next year or so — they need to figure out what balance of remote and in-person work functions best for their workforce, and how to fill open roles as droves of workers quit in “the great resignation.”

First, both problems require solving by HR professionals. Second, companies are looking for remote work experts in recruiting and onboarding to help managers run hybrid/remote teams. The bottom line? Before the pandemic, human resources departments were on the automation chopping block. Now, as workplaces undergo rapid and dramatic transformations, HR is more essential than ever.

What Does This Mean for Recruiting and HR Professionals?

The pandemic has caused a nonstop deluge of work. The burnout many people are feeling well into 2022 — at work and in life — is especially acute for some in human resources and recruiting. According to a recent Paychex Pulse of HR Report, which surveyed 1,000 HR decision-makers in the U.S., 98% of HR leaders say the pandemic has transformed their role; 70% say this has been one of the most challenging years of their career.

If you have considered leaving your current position, the market for HR and recruiting jobs is stronger than it has been in years. It doesn’t hurt to update LinkedIn and your PDF resume. Reach out to some connections and investigate what HR and recruitment roles look like at other companies. Also, don’t forget how those companies’ employees have reviewed them in the past two years. Consider the salary, not the title. If you’re experiencing burnout and your company hasn’t been responsive, would a higher salary make your life easier or help your work-life balance? For most people, it will.

As HR professionals, you’re likely recommending mental health resources to your workforce, but are you taking advantage of them? HR sets an example for the rest of the company and part of this is to normalize the need for support. HR is also involved with evaluating benefits, perks, flex time and contingent support that helps their organization put programs in place that retain its key employees. Is HR asking for the same? Company leadership has to know what morale is like companywide, but since HR is doing the measuring, who is advocating for HR and recruiting staff?

If you’ve reached a point of burnout where you’re not as productive as you could be and you’re considering leaving the company, let company leadership know what your experience has been like and what could help, before you put in notice.

What Does This Mean for Employers?

An overwhelming majority — 96% — of HR leaders believe employee mental health is an employer responsibility, according to the Paychex survey. Roughly half say the number one change they’re making to support employee mental health is promoting awareness of resources, but that’s only part of the equation. The use of mental health benefits must be encouraged, modeled by senior leaders and easily accessible. Leaders may want to make sure HR is using the services they advise employees to use, as well as take the time to understand what the morale is like in their own HR departments. Then, adapt accordingly.

If a tech upgrade has been on the back burner, the time and cost to implement something that will save time and effort for your HR team is worth it. This is especially true if you’re also saving employees from burnout or from leaving your company. Your top performers in HR and recruiting have likely hung in there with you from the beginning of the pandemic and every possible resource should be available to them in order to retain these key employees.

Ask your HR and recruiting teams what they need. This should come from senior leadership and the company should be prepared to step in to address these needs. It could come in the form of outsourcing some functions, bringing in flex or temporary staff to support your internal teams, or even something as simple as an equipment upgrade. What’s important is the ask, and the action that follows.