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HR Leaders, Who Is In Your Support Squad?

hr leadership wellbeing Feb 07, 2024

HR Leaders can banish burnout, and live and lead happier and healthier lives with the right support squad around them.

Often when I start coaching Senior HR Leaders, they’ve felt alone and undersupported for a long time, they’re exhausted, frustrated, and on the brink of Burnout.

For years, whilst they’ve been the shoulder of support for so many others, although they’ve had their team around them, their support squad stops there.  And whilst protecting their team from so much of what is going on in the organisation, they need extremely broad shoulders indeed.

The role of HR, and that of the Senior HR Leader is often misunderstood and underestimated by so many, and when you finish work unless you have friends, family, or partners in the profession, they don’t understand why you care so much.

They don’t understand the often complex, demanding, and varied role of HR.

One minute you’re discussing strategy around the Boardroom table, and the...

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HR Burnout Is Real - Why Are The Numbers Rising?

Behind all the statistics, data, and numbers, are people.

People who are experiencing Burnout. 

The number of people experiencing Burnout has increased significantly since 2019, and in three sectors specifically, Healthcare, Education, and HR.

Why?

2020 was, not surprisingly a tough and challenging year. Overnight people were forced to work from home or stopped working immediately, and this took its toll on our lives in many different ways.

HR was being asked to do more to look after the wellbeing of people across organisations, and it seemed, that for once, HR teams were actually being seen for the value they create, often behind closed doors.

Constant changes, the need to keep people informed and engaged, new policies and ways of working, and the ongoing pandemic, began to take its toll on everyone.

Many in HR were juggling all the home and school challenges, whilst working harder and longer to take of everyone in the organisation. 

Here in the UK, the...

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Why I'm Declaring 2024 The Year Of The Happy, Healthy HR Pro

burnout hr wellbeing Dec 07, 2023

I'll never forget the day that the call came to tell me my replacement had died.

I was on a Mastermind day, I'd seen a couple of missed calls and I stepped outside into the courtyard during the break. The sun was shining, my energy was high, and I thought the call would be good news.

I don't remember how I responded.

I felt a mix of emotions and I wasn't sure how to process any of it.

Two days later, the call came to let me know that I'd not been the first HRD in the organisation to have become seriously ill.

Something inside me changed that week.

I'd left my corporate career to start my multi award-winning People and Change Consultancy. We were doing great work, working with great clients, making great money, and doing things differently, but my contact with the CIPD took me down a different path.

I'd reached out to them to ask what support was available for HRDs. To find out how many of us were becoming ill as a result of workplaces. And to see what was being done to support our...

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Is In-House HR At Risk Of Extinction?

hr leadership wellbeing Dec 05, 2023

Is in-house HR at risk of extinction?

Yes, absolutely!

But probably not for the reasons that you think.

I've been in the HR and People space now for 25 years (25 YEARS!!), and in that time I've worked in Staff and Training, Personnel, HR, People, People and Change, People and Culture, before leaving the in-house world.

I'm bored of the 'should we rename and rebrand HR?' conversation.

The answer is no.

It doesn't need renaming or rebranding again, it needs DEFINING, and HR Leaders need to be able to set boundaries for themselves and their teams the way that EVERY other team in the organisation does.

Because, what's going to cause the extinction of in-house HR, is BURNOUT.

People who love HR, but who can no longer handle:

Leaders not leading

Managers not managers

Strategies not being approved

One rule for everyone else and another for HR

No support

Nodding dog syndrome when they ask for things to be done by leaders across the business with NO action

Being included when they...

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Self-care isn’t a one and done (and neither is wellbeing in the workplace)

burnout coaching leadership Nov 21, 2023

Shall we play a game of true or false?  Come on, it’ll be fun!

Ok, here goes.

I ran a 5k once so now I can just put on my running shoes and run a marathon – true or false?

I did some reps with my 15 kg dumbbells so now I’m ready to win the Olympic weightlifting team – true or false?

Ok, how about this one …

I went to bed really early last night as I’ve been feeling a bit run down over the last few weeks, and I can now limit my sleep for the rest of the year and stay healthy – true or false?

In case you need me to tell you the answers, they are false, false, and false, but you know that already.

So why when it comes to wellbeing in the workplace do you think that one event a year is going to make the difference for you and your people?

When I started my career in HR back in 1998, I wanted to stop the Monday-to-Friday dying syndrome that I saw so many of my friends and family experiencing on a daily basis. 

I genuinely wanted to...

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Weekends: Rest, Recharge or Recovery?

burnout coaching hr Nov 05, 2023
 

What do you use your weekends for?

Rest, recharge, or recovery?

In the months and years leading up to my Burnout, weekends were about recovering from the work week that had been, and then just like a wind-up toy, I’d pop back into action, back into robot mode for the next week.

And like clockwork, I could tell you when I’d crash during my Christmas break, once I’d been the hostess with the mostess for family and friends for three days.

And not forgetting my summer holidays where I’d ended up with ‘flu’ aching and unable to move, but I forced myself to have fun with my family so that I didn’t disappoint them.

During the lead-up to Burnout, the stress is what keeps you going. 

The good old primitive brain and the fight/flight response keep you moving to try and keep you safe.

In the days of hunter-gatherers, you wouldn’t sit down and have a break and a picnic with your friends whilst surrounded by wild animals, you’d be eaten alive,...

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WTAF was I thinking?

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2023

"Alan's funeral is on the 17th November"

My response?

"I can't go, I've got my Power Up event"

Then I sat down and thought "WTAF was I thinking?" and the truth? 

I wasn't thinking.

The last month has been full on with work and kids, my Dad's health has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, his big op had been postponed again, and this news just felt like one more thing, and with something already in my diary, I was armed with the facts - it's the day of my event.

So without even thinking, I responded with the information in front of me.

If I were still in corporate, it would have been a no-brainer - I'd be with my family.

I began thinking through all of the options, even though I'd already made my mind up - I had to postpone the event.

Then the what-ifs flooded in!

What if the attendees felt let down?

What if they hated me?

What if everyone wanted a refund instead of the new date?

What if the venue wouldn't let me postpone?

What if it damaged the reputation of my...

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HR, what language are you speaking, and how do you ensure that you are heard?

coaching hr leadership Aug 13, 2023

One of the biggest frustrations I hear from my HR clients is that they don’t feel heard. At Board meetings, they feel that whenever they speak, their colleagues turn into nodding dogs, agreeing that things need to change, but not actually taking any steps outside of the Boardroom to action or implement anything differently.

HR feel that they are banging their heads against a brick wall trying to get their Exec colleagues to pay attention to any of the People stuff, whilst everyone else remains so fixated on the money and the numbers.

A question I find myself asking often is ‘Have you explained your frustration?’ and the answer is usually no. The reasoning behind this is that they think it will be a waste of time, particularly given that their colleagues have made comments before about:

·     You do the people stuff

·     Tell us what you want us to do and we’ll just do it

...

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Are You a Primitive Leader Or An Innovative Leader? And why you're currently more primitive than you think

Currently, without even realising it, many more of you will be Primitive Leaders, rather than Innovative Leaders, and it’s impacting you, your people, and your performance.

Here’s why!

As your stress levels increase you move from the intellectual part of the brain, the part that always gets things right in life, innovates, and sees possibilities, to the primitive part of the brain, the part where your fight and flight sits, the part where you can operate from previous patterns of thoughts and behaviours, the part that sees you in panic mode, always on the lookout for the next imminent danger.

The primitive part of the brain is what kept the hunters safe when we all lived in caves. It wasn’t weighing up whether any of the wild animals had eaten and encouraging you to sit down in the middle of the field and have a picnic with your friends, it was keeping you on red alert, and keeping you safe.

And it’s this red alert, that many Exec teams have been living...

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The Gender Gap and why #EmbracingEquity won’t fix it!

burnout leadership Mar 08, 2023

The Gender Gap and why #EmbracingEquity won’t fix it!

Today we’ll see our feeds filled with stock photos of women hugging each other and themselves, we’ll see organisations talking about all that they are doing to #EmbraceEquity in their organisations whilst they bring out the bunting and balloons and provide a round of applause to all of the women in their workplace.

Don't get me wrong, I love a celebration (as long as it's a quiet, not over-stimulating one), and I love celebrating the incredible women in my life and in the world. But I’m done with paying lip service whilst we still see very little actual change in practice. And, until there actually IS equity, for all, there's nothing to embrace!

Unless you’ve been hiding under a bush for the last few years, you’ll know that I talk about Burnout A LOT! And whilst I work with men and women, the number of women I work with, who all come to me with the same issues as clients, or just to...

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