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Burnout In The Boardroom: What's The Cost?

burnout coaching leadership Mar 13, 2024
  • In 2023 AXA Reported that Burnout was costing the UK economy £28bn a year.

  • Harvard Business Review reported that in the US, the cost of Burnout was more than $500bn a year.

  • WHOOP Unite reported that the costs to the global economy are more than $1 trillion a year.

  • WHOOP also estimated that the cost of turnover for each person is 1.5 to 2 times their salary in both loss of knowledge and skills, and the cost to hire someone new.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Varying reports and surveys from Gallup, Workhuman, Deloitte and Harvard Business Review over the years have stated that between 62% and 70% of Executives are or have considered leaving their jobs for workplaces that care more about wellbeing, and in the same studies, 50% to 60% of people outside of management roles want to quit for similar reasons.

Yet still, so many Exec teams refuse to admit that Burnout is a thing that’s worth focusing on or talking about.

Studies show that 65% of leaders have...

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Time To Rethink HRD Development?

In 2022 I was contacted by an event company to ask if I could deliver keynote talks about Burnot at two of their Leadership events, one was for CFOs the other was for HRDs.

They provided the dates along with a link to view the events online, where I could arrange a call with the organiser if I'd be willing to attend and speak.

My first question, was why the CFO event was three days and two nights, with a gala dinner at a luxury resort, while the HRD event was one day at an ok-ish conference venue in London. No dinner, no gala, no luxury, not even any networking drinks - just show up, listen to the speakers, and leave.

In 2014 when I'd set up my company, having worked away from my hometown for the last 10 years, I started to attend some local HR events. 

I wanted to get to know some of the local HR Leaders, find out what was happening locally, and generally, just build my support squad now I was no longer in London five days a week, attending London events, or part of a large...

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HR And The Invisible Housework

hr hr coaching leadership Mar 04, 2024

"We'd like to say thank you to everyone involved in making this project a success, we know you've all worked hard, put in a lot of extra hours, and made a lot of sacrifices over the last few months.  You've done a great job ..." individually thanks all of the teams involved, excludes HR.

I was once part of a quiz team called Human Remains.

I was newly appointed and the Senior HR Team members were in consultation as part of a restructuring, the Head of HR included.

They each asked me to accompany them to their consultation meetings, where nobody who knew about HR was present.  The legal team had provided a script of things to say, questions to ask, and answers to provide as part of the meetings - I controlled the meeting.

The HR Team were all under instruction to not discuss this with anyone outside of the team, and that we should show a united front at the company quiz night, especially as the event was raising money for charity, the CEO was not impressed by the...

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I Hate People!

hr leadership Feb 28, 2024

How often, as an HR Leader, have you said that you hate people?

I mean, I lost count during my in-house days.

And of course, I don't actually hate people, but after the thousandth interruption of the day, you do start to wonder why some people do really stupid things.

I've always believed that nobody gets up in the morning and decides, today I'm going to be an utter d*!k at work, and yet every day, we see and hear of people doing just that.

Like the couple who were having an affair and decided that the storeroom would be a great place to 'get it on'.

Or the other couple who were having an affair, and replied all in an email chain with some extremely private pictures.

The driver who refused to mention the 37 parking tickets he'd gotten in a week.

The woman who didn't think anyone would notice the money she was stealing.

The IT Director who was selling out of hours IT support to help people hide their search history, and this is quite literally just the tip of the iceberg.

Or the...

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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.


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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