How to Protect Your Teams from Burning Out

May 23, 2022

Since the coronavirus outbreak in 2019 employee burnout has risen exponentially. So much so, that -Burnout- is now recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an -occupational phenomenon, with Mental Health UK reporting that one in five of your employees now feel the continued effects of stress and burnout in the workplace.While we focus this discussion on how to prevent burnout within your recruitment teams, these guidelines should apply across all areas of the business, because the sudden departure of colleagues has a negative impact on everyone. From increased workloads to lower engagement levels, burnout has multiple sources and may appear in different guises. In September 2021, as many offices opened their doors once more, a huge movement within the jobs marketplace began. Dubbed -The Great Resignation-, an unprecedented level of employees left or considered leaving their current positions. A record high of 3.2% job moves in 2021, according to CIPD. Consequently, internal talent acquisition teams have been working harder, faster and longer than ever before. Recruitment in science, particularly, is very strained. In part of course because of the increased appetite to solve some of the global science challenges, such as taking molecules to market faster, which in turn drives the demand for talent of any technical nature. Recruiters cannot keep up with demand, and to make matters worse, the science market is suffering from up to a 30% attrition rate within the first 6 to 12 months of a new hire.

A flawed system Recent years have impacted TA teams significantly. However, an already imperfect system before coronavirus has also contributed significantly to the effects we are witnessing now. Simply, recruiters have too many requisitions. And leaders don't necessarily know the optimum number to give them either. Equally many businesses are hiring new profiles for the first time, with hiring managers who are not clear on their needs. Additionally, there's currently short supply, yet high demand for talent, meaning recruiters are having to work much harder than ever before. And so, the metrics they were given historically aren't necessarily fit for purpose in today's market. Unsurprisingly, this cycle causes serious stress and burnout in the workplace for recruiters. Our customers, prospective customers and peers in the marketplace are all feeling the pain. Recruiters have a tough job navigating multiples systems, high workloads and profiles that are not clear, and there aren't enough hours in the day to fulfil their requisitions. Understanding how to change the narrative, is then the challenge that a HR/TA leader is now faced with. I've been there. When I started my career managing TA functions, I struggled to give myself the headspace and the bandwidth to allow thinking to happen. To get from point A to point B I was only ever in delivery mode.

Another way It can be made especially difficult when not everyone within the business understands the stressors related to working in talent acquisition, especially within such a dynamic and demanding sector as pharma. Sadly, it is a well-trodden path that repeatedly leads to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and alone. Oftentimes, it comes back to the basics. The fundamental processes that should make things easier, need a refresh. However, executing the basics well, is often easier said than done. Otherwise, challenging, high profile roles can become increasingly difficult to fulfil. It takes a deep knowledge and experience of the market to pull out those more demanding roles and manage complex stakeholders. But we must fix this with workable long-term solutions. By analysing how we manage our resource planning and approach to the market, we can implement impactful change. No one size fits all within talent acquisition and so all areas must be considered. For instance, the importance of technology is often overlooked, and systems may not have been updated for years, hindering the smooth running of operations. By stripping the process back, and understanding our workforce plan, we can strategize and mend the pieces that aren't working. A holistic, 360 approach of wraparound care is necessary if we are to keep talented TA teams from burning out. Because when they do, the damage is vast.

Know the risks Vast, of course in terms of the TA-s mental health and wellbeing, which as a leader, should always be priority. But the damage doesn't stop there. Because without a healthy TA team, you have no way to recruit high-calibre talent. Which ultimately puts your business at risk and prevents your growth potential. Financially, a smooth hiring function can benefit the business with significant savings. Shifting your function from a 40% dependency to a 20% dependency on agency, for example, can in some cases save millions. There is also a brand benefit to consider too. By optimising the candidate experience, the candidate dropout rate decreases significantly. By building a world-class candidate journey you build a world-class brand. Undoubtedly, the benefits of refining your processes work in everyone's favour. Your TA teams are focused and engaged, building the business with you, eliminating or at the very least greatly decreasing stress and burnout in the workplace. Fundamentally, we need to stop thinking of recruiters as a resource. They are your value partner, and we need to shift from a transactional mindset to that of a partnership.

Posted by

Neil Kelly

Talent Acquisition
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