But what is it that makes it even harder for the HR employees?
If we look at the list above, we could argue that some of the most common sources of stress affect them even more than others. They find themselves between a rock (top-management pushing for cost-reductions with HR being generally the first target, having to “manage” re-organisations) and a hard place (the employees of the organisation looking for help and support, knocking on the door of HR).
Thus, on top of the universal and increasing sources of stress that affect all employees, they seem to face additional sources of stress. And the consequences can be witnessed all-over: absenteeism, turnover, burnout, depression and anxiety are the highest in HR, compared to other departments, with exception of customer service (call center).
Another characteristic of the HR-role is the inherent “human role”, something an increasingly large portion of the organisation feels uncomfortable with. In fact, the typical HR-employee is a technician, trained in one or more aspects of the HR-process, except for dealing with human issues. The lack of the soft skills needed to face these – sometimes tense – human interactions, is by itself a factor of stress.
And the (small) group of HR people, specifically dedicated to dealing with the human factor, tend to succumb to the increasing demand on their empathy. There is only that much a human being can give, without feeling “drained”.