Insights & Ideas

Who’s taking care of HR? 6 ways to better support HR teams 

HR teams are crucial to your organization’s success. Learn how you can support them.

Crisis manager. Organizational restructure architect. Remote, hybrid, and return to office procedure crafter. Employee wellness program navigator. DEI educator. Compensation and benefits analyst. Work engagement leader. Information system implementor.

These are just some of the hats today’s HR professionals have been wearing the past few years, all while continuing to recruit talent during a very tight labor market. So, it’s no surprise that people in the field are feeling stressed, overtasked, and under-supported. But, wearing all these hats has had predictable results. According to a survey from AllVoices, an employee feedback management platform, 53% of HR leaders say they are burned out, and 48% are looking for a new job.1 These questions lead to a question that nobody seems to be focusing on: “Who’s taking care of HR?”

Taking care of HR, for real

I speak from personal experience. After 21 years serving in HR leadership roles, I recently reevaluated my own needs, which led me to a new role at Salo as a business development director. Now I come to work energized and excited to help organizations across the country on issues like talent retention and recruiting, employee engagement, and its opposite, burnout. I’ve seen what happens when organizations embrace their HR function and truly support their people (and, sadly, when they don’t.)

Ready to get serious about how you can support those who are typically tasked with supporting everyone else? Here are six ways to do just that.

1. Offer a listening ear.

HR professionals are constantly listening to the challenges of others, which often feels like a therapist role. But HR people need to vent sometimes, too. This is where leaders step in. Set aside time for informal check-ins with HR teams to learn what they need and more importantly, how they’re taking care of themselves. Encourage them to connect with other HR pros at training or networking events to gain a valued outside perspective and support.

2. Emphasize the importance of rest.

Everyone is human and doing their best. But nobody does their best when caught up in a tornado of deadlines. Despite a heavy workload, encourage HR leaders and their teams to take time for themselves—to meditate, breathe, walk around the block, whatever works for them. When you emphasize the importance of recharging, everyone wins.

3. Involve HR teams early in any planning process

Remember—HR people are strategic leaders. They bring a breadth of experience and expertise to the table, making it critical to involve them when developing new processes or solutions. When leaders involve HR experts early in the problem-solving process, the result is more efficient, inclusive path.

4. Consider a cross-functional team approach

Often, when an organization is experiencing a big workplace problem, HR is asked for solutions, even if the issue isn’t HR-related. A better approach? Create a crisis team that includes a variety of experts. Try to include operations, facilities, communications, people leaders, and IT, alongside of your HR teams. Involving others brings in different perspectives, promotes creative problem-solving, and eases workloads.

5. Prioritize your HR team’s assignment list.

Once known as the personnel department, the human resource function now brings a different level of value to organizations. Gone are the days when HR was just a cost center. Forward-thinking leaders know that HR teams are critical to strengthening employee engagement and reducing employee turnover, both of which are essential to avoiding the costs associated with recruitment, onboarding, and organizational stress.

6. Look outside your organization.

There are only so many hours in a day. If you need seasonal support, assistance with a larger project, or have people headed out for PTO or a leave of absence, bringing on outside consultants is a great way to relieve pressure on your full-time employees. Consultants can assist on a project basis and provide help and additional expertise as workloads ebb and flow.

Putting people first in all you do

Given their role in people-focused challenges while still handling traditional talent responsibilities, it’s common that HR teams’ own needs get lost in the shuffle. At Salo, we often remind clients to take a People-First approach—and that means HR teams, too.

Taking extra time to listen, offer support and resources, share workloads, and collaborate across teams leads to increased retention of your HR talent, not to mention their work satisfaction. HR is a critical function of any business. Make sure your HR people are taken care of just as much as they take care of others.

Christine Biehl

Business Development Director


About Salo

At Salo, we’re building a world that works better together. We match expert finance, accounting, and HR consultants with organizations that need their expertise. Looking to better support your HR teams? We have senior-level HR consultants who can help. Connect with us today.