August 7, 2023
The wellbeing of HR professionals has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, with UK HRs in particular lagging at times behind their global counterparts when coping with today’s challenging economic and operating conditions. This is according to a three-year comparative research project by Culture Amp and Thrive at Monash Business School, which found that in 2020, when the pandemic was first starting to bite, 45 percent of global HRs felt equipped to manage their own personal and work life demands.
This figure dropped to 40 percent in 2021 and 2022 – during the height of lockdown and the build-up to return to the office – before rising to 44 percent worldwide in 2023 yet, at only 40 percent in 2023, UK HRs still lack the confidence of their international counterparts when it comes to balancing out the different work and life demands being made of them.
The data, gathered from 9,900 responses from HR professionals around the world – including 856 from the UK – between 3 June 2020 and 4 June 2023 , also found that UK HRs’ own sense of purpose is lower than that of other countries. In 2023, 57 percent feel that their work is making a positive difference to their company compared to 61 percent globally – a figure which itself remains below the 62 percent average of the pandemic years (2020 – 2022).
In 2020, 41 percent of HRs globally felt equipped to balance the requirements of their HR role, dipping to 38 percent in 2021-2022 and leveling off at 42 percent 2023 – meaning that well over half of HRs still feel they aren’t getting the support they need to do their job.
On a positive note, a more resilient workforce has emerged with almost twice as many UK HRs (58 percent) in 2023 feeling able to bounce back during challenging times at work compared to 31 percent in 2020. Additionally, the UK (49 percent) is markedly more effective at switching off from work to make time for rest and relaxation compared to its European counterparts – 33 percent in the Netherlands and 37 percent in DACH (Germany, Austria & Switzerland).
Elsewhere the survey data shows fluctuating experiences for HR professionals across other aspects of their role:
- The number of HRs globally that felt productive at work dropped from 60 percent in 2020 to a pandemic low of 55 percent in 2021-2022 before recovering to 61 percent in 2023
- In 2023 less than half of HRs (44 percent) are able to take regular breaks to recharge, but this was a marginal improvement over the average 40 percent of the previous three years.