How are you all doing?

Steve Bridger

| 0 Posts

Community Manager

3 Aug, 2022 06:30

The tweet below prompted me to ask this question. You are so busy. You may be feeling undervalued.  

It has been two years since Samantha asked this question, which generated a wonderfully open and supportive conversation days before the first lockdown.

 Are any other HR people feeling a bit lonely in all this :( 

So much has happened since then and while in some ways the pandemic accelerated a pre-exisiting direction of travel with regards remote working and technology, so much was new - not least 'furlough', which we were all talking about here. But there have also been deep structural changes and challenges - for example, in recruitment and retention. Now many of you are considering how you can support employees through the cost-of-living crisis

Amid all this, we need to look after ourselves and support one another - our peers. 

So... how are you doing?


  • Thanks for asking the question, Steve. If I'm honest, I'm feeling quite flat. The pandemic is still having a massive impact on our organisation - income is reduced as our retail sites still aren't back to full capacity, councils have less money to spend on the services we deliver and we've lost a lot of regular volunteers who are the mainstay of our organisation. Couple that with struggling to recruit staff and deal with the cost of living crisis and I just feel like the stress never ends. The world has changed and is still changing massively and it still feels like there's not time to stop and catch my breath. I've been running on adrenaline so long, I've forgotten what 'normal' feels like.

    Hopefully some of you out there in HR world are starting to feel better about everything and can share the feeling that we will get through all this!
  • In reply to Jacqueline:

    I feel very similar Jacqueline, particularly about struggling to recruit staff. We actually profited from the lockdowns in terms of business as we are a training company and suddenly everyone wanted to do courses while on furlough, which is fantastic, but now our workforce are over stretched and trying to recruit into assessor roles is proving extremely difficult.
    I also started in this job (my first ever HR position) a week before the 1st national lockdown in March 2020 and was plunged straight into working from home trying to sort out the culture of employees who have never had a HR department and don't understand what I do/managers trying to get me to do all their "dirty work".
    I think exhausted sums it up.
  • This question comes at a tough time for me personally. I love HR and love working in the profession, but I am really struggling to enjoy it at the moment - we have had so much uncertainty over the last couple of years and is it just me, or are people quicker to anger and lash out?
  • Hey Steve!

    Must admit when I asked that question back in 2020 I did feel like I was being a bit self indulgent as I said in the OP but it was nice to see that I wasn't feeling alone.

    I'm feeling ok, a bit flat like Jacqueline says. Our business has actually done really well out of such a difficult time period but I just feel like I've lost my mojo a bit. We're recruiting constantly it feels, I have to switch very quickly from doing very low-level admin type work - which is fine I think we all need things like that sometimes - to within minutes looking at complex ER issues or research....then back to admin. I lose my focus a lot and it takes a while to get back into whatever task I was doing, and I'm finding it incredibly difficult to do that and just can't work out why. It's not the job I don't think, and it's definitely not the company. maybe its just a bit of a personal "eeeeek" period that I need to work through and come out of the other side.

    One thing I am struggling with is the sort of issues and queries that are being brought to me that we've never had before and are out of our control. Some of them are absolutely ridiculous and I do wonder if there's an element of neediness creeping in for some people? Its almost as if because they have had 2 years of being 'protected' from the big bad pandemic now things seem to be coming back to some form of normal they can't cope with self-managing their own issues? (I'm sure I can word that much better - hope you know what I mean!)
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    3 Aug, 2022 10:16

    In reply to Samantha:

    You're clearly not the only one who has lost their mojo a bit, Samantha... and you certainly hit home with your post a couple of years ago.

    We're here for each other in this Community Hugging

  • I'm quite tired. It doesn't help that roles like mine (Head of EDI in an NHS Trust) are political footballs at the moment.
    It feels like everyone's tired and grumpy and feeling quite disempowered at the moment.
    On a positive note, I had a really good session with the rest of our HR Directorate this morning linked to the Trust's behavioural framework (which I lead on).
    I've recently moved back to working 4 days (after 18 months full-time). I am really enjoying the time and space it's giving me to focus on my own wellbeing and do things outside work. I'm still getting to grips with managing the workload though!
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    3 Aug, 2022 14:02

    In reply to Emily:

    Emily - it is always good to see you here (having been with us for, well... a long time!) and to read your perspective.

    The Liz Truss intervention this week must've been a lovely present (not) for those in EDI roles like you.

    I am glad you're managing to carve out some time for you... and kudos for getting traction on the behavioural framework piece. 

    All power to your elbow!

  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    thanks Steve...even if you did just make me go, "it's not a long time...it's only...oh wait a second...14 years!"
  • If you had asked this 3 months ago, I was on the floor - the tide of recruitment and (as Samantha wrote) "neediness" at work was overwhelming. There is very little about my face that says "Yes, please tell me all about how you're worried about your ferrets" and yet, they do!

    I'm that lucky sandwich-generation looking after my parents and my children, and I'm about to hit the 10 year mark in my company. So I had a think about what did I need, rather than everyone else's needs. And I gave my board 12 months' notice that next summer I want to take 2 months off (unpaid career break). After they got over the gulps, they have been supportive. I've got a year to get all the cover in place, and my family and I are busy planning what we'll do.

    In the meantime, I read something about how to get that "sabbatical feeling" in a small way every day, so I am trying at least a few days a week to make time to stop and reflect. On that subject, I am very keen on the recent idea of a CIPD book group - how's that coming along?
  • Thank you for asking the question again Steve.

    Personally, I'm struggling. I've taken on a role with a much wider remit but as we're a small start up, I still look after the whole people piece. We're so stretched that everything is reliant on everyone running things smoothly and a small hiccup is disruptive and additionally stressful. Brexit has had a big impact on the companies we work with which makes things harder.

    I have next week off and we have a new CEO starting so I'm optimistic things will improve but it's been a real slog.
  • It's definitely been quite a difficult couple of years. In the first lockdown, my mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We knew it was ultimately going to be terminal from an early stage, and I made the 'interesting' decision to change jobs earlier this year, knowing that time was running out. I took a month off to spend with her between jobs and (obviously) had Covid for two weeks of that precious time. She went into a hospice just before I started in my new role, and died a week later.

    The new job has significant legacy issues to resolve, no history of HR whatsoever, and a team that have been really personally affected by the issues of the last 2 years. Equally, the challenge is good, the perspective that my own bereavement has given me is probably quite healthy, and I'm making progress. Importantly, the people I'm working with are caring and supportive, and that makes the world of difference. And on the mental health side, I'm training for the London marathon in October, in support of the hospice who cared for my mum. I'm not one of those people who gets massive endorphins from running, but the time and space it gives me is healthy, I think.

    And this community is something I always come back to - it's such a help to share and discuss the issues that affect us all. Thanks to everyone who does so: I really appreciate it.
  • I think exhausted about sums it up. Same as everyone else. It's relentless and I don't feel like I've stopped despite having jut come back after a week off. COVID was challenging, but this is something else entirely now. I've had to fight my organisation to allow me to bring a HR Assistant on board and I'm now having to fight to get that role made permanent despite all the evidence showing that the department works much better already with two of us than just me on my own. I actively told our new MD yesterday that I wouldn't be cancelling my week off at the end of month as I'm close to burning out and need the break.
  • Johanna

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    6 days ago

    In reply to Gemma:

    Good for you taking that well-earned time off Gemma.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    6 days ago

    In reply to Nina Waters:

    Thank you for being such a valuable community member, Nina.
  • In reply to Johanna:

    Thanks Johanna, I realised I had to as I could feel my patience making a speedy get away when I had to explain 3 times to an employee why I couldn't send their colleague home just because they had a sore throat and force them to spend their own money on a COVID test. I'm sure my facial expressions are mirroring my mood and lack of patience at the moment.