What HR Leaders Need in Today’s Uncertain Times: HR Unplugged Episode 2
87 percent of HR professionals say they are facing personal challenges, a sentiment that’s reinforced by participants in episode two of HR Unplugged where Anita Grantham, Head of HR at BambooHR, discusses self-care for HR leaders.
As an HR leader, you’re swinging back and forth on a pendulum between hiring booms and hiring freezes, your organization is asking for big solutions with a small budget, employees are coming to you with work-from-home problems or problems with being in-office—oh, and that’s on top of everything happening in your life outside work. As an HR leader, you take care of everyone else, but who’s looking out for you?
In the second episode of her ongoing series, Anita shares how you can take care of yourself and your business while preserving your mental health. Here are three key takeaways tips you’ll hear repeated during the discussion:
1. Practice rigorous, relentless prioritization.
“One of the tricks you can employ right away that I’m working with on our team here is rigorous, relentless prioritization,” says Anita. “It’s a competency I want all of us to practice. We as people leaders, especially in HR, have a tendency to want to say ‘yes’ to everything and want to be people pleasers. And I want to challenge you to not be people pleasers, [but] to focus on the things that matter most to making the business successful.”
She shares further that trying to take on everything will only overwhelm you. Challenges will always be there tomorrow, and you can tackle them later on. Stick to the things that matter most and be clear with your team about what you’re working on. This will help keep everyone on the same page about what the top priority is for the business.
2. Find ways to mitigate burnout.
“40 percent of HR professionals say they’ve thought about leaving their current role because of burnout…What are you running from, and what are you running to? If you haven’t identified what’s causing that burnout, my guess is you’re going to recreate it in the next job,” says Anita.
She adds that the harsh truth is no one is going to look out for you but you.
“As the HR person, you have to be the one looking out for yourself,” she says. “We’ll do better once we realize we’re responsible for taking care of ourselves first.”
Here are some of the things Anita is sure to include in her own self-care routine:
- Yoga at least once a week. Even if it’s only once a week, it’s still something that’s built into her schedule that helps her relax.
- Connecting with nature. Going from computer screen to phone screen to TV screen isn’t the best way to cope with stress. When she’s feeling overwhelmed, Anita lets her team know she’s disconnecting so she can take a walk outside and clear her head.
- Eat! This one may seem obvious, but we’ve all had a back-to-back Zoom-meeting day where it gets to 2 PM and all you’ve had is two coffees and a seltzer water. When Anita realizes this is happening, she takes a moment to stop and nourish your body. We all need it!
Stress doesn’t magically go away because you take a walk every day, but centering your routine around small things that help you feel more focused and calm can help you avoid overwhelming burnout.
3. Build your community.
“The best learning and development I’ve had comes from on the-job training. There’s no course or book I can read that replicates the practicality of what I like to call ‘on the field learning,’” says Anita.
With learn-as-you-go style training, you have to be willing to ask questions and admit when you don’t know something. You need someone who understands your problems, and no book or course is as customized as your own experience. When you encounter a problem, “find people in a similar size company and position you’re in,” says Anita. “...[C]all them and ask how they would do it.” The best, most relevant support is likely to be found in people who are in similar roles and who understand what you’re going through.
But where can you go to build up your HR community? Participating in the HR Unplugged series is a great place to start. It’s a live, interactive space where you can talk freely and openly with your peers in HR leadership about the challenges facing HR today. We encourage attendees to interact in the chat and ask questions during the event, connect with HR professionals in similar roles, and become part of a supportive community that benefits everyone.