HR teams feel overstretched and undersupported since COVID-19

A new survey reveals that since COVID-19, HR teams feel they have more staff wellbeing responsibilities

A new survey has revealed that care for HR teams working in SMEs is being overlooked, where 58.6% said they aren’t being supported, according to findings from software provider, Breathe HR.

HR teams and COVID-19 – overworked and undersupported?

The research that uncovered how HR teams feel following the pandemic’s effects over the past 18 months found that 95.1% of HR respondents said their workload has increased since March 2020.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, HR teams, according to the study, are spending a majority of their time updating company policies (21.4%) and with recruitment-related admin (17.3%). Maintaining employee records (15.8%) and furlough management (15.1%) came in as the next tasks.

The findings also reveal that existing HR policies are not fit for purpose following the spike in pandemic-related health concerns, with 92.6% of respondents adapting policies.

Aside from a rising workload with different priorities, HR teams are increasingly concerned about managing the workplace mental health and wellbeing issues that have arisen from COVID-19, where 87.8% of employees are “highly concerned about teammates wellbeing in the past year.”

The findings suggest that remote operations have made it harder for HR teams to track staff mental health, where 74.3% feel “unable to gauge staff wellbeing across remote teams.” Another 78% said they felt the duty of care has changed with HR staff “needing to go further to protect their teams” despite only 36.5% of SMEs investing in additional training to tackle wellbeing concerns.

If left unchecked, HR teams may lose their grip on effectively helping staff with mental health and wellbeing issues due to COVID-19. Furthermore, the mental health impact on HR teams themselves, if they continue to lack the vital training, resources, and investment from the business, could be significant too.

Jonathan Richards, CEO at Breathe HR, said: “The truth is that HR teams have been a badly-hit part of many businesses. It’s shocking to see the extent to which these professionals are feeling unsupported and the varied tasks the past 18 months have thrown up at them. As we emerge out of this, I think a key area will be for businesses to check in on their HR teams more.

“Understanding where their pain points are and helping to alleviate them, be that through talking about problems or implementing software that helps to automate tasks, will be crucial to getting making HR teams feel best supported.”
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