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Care for HR teams is being overlooked: more than half (58.6%) say they are NOT being supported


Breathe, the HR tech company for SMEs, announces the findings from its recent research which has uncovered how HR teams are feeling following the effects of the pandemic over the past 18 months.

Breathe asked 82 attendees of its recent webinar, ‘Who is HRing HR?’, questions to best understand how responsibilities have changed within the HR function, where time is spent most and whether these teams feel best supported.

Key findings:

Workload issues

  • More than half (58.6%) of respondents say they are not being supported
  • 95.1% said their workload has increased since March 2020
  • Over half (54.8%) of SME staff report 3-5 hours a week increase on HR – costing the economy up to £94.7 billion
  • With a third (32.8%) reporting an increase of up to 2 hours a week
  • Existing HR policies not fit for purpose following pandemic health concerns boom, with 92.6% having to adapt policies

Mental health concerns

  • Overwhelming majority (87.8%) of employees highly concerned about teammates wellbeing in the past year
  • A quarter (26.8%) SMEs have not invested in additional training to tackle wellbeing concerns
  • HR staff felt unequipped to tackle broadening remit and health concerns
  • 78% say duty of care has changed, with HR staff needing to go further to protect their teams
  • Only 36.5% of SMEs have invested in additional training to tackle wellbeing concerns
  • A whopping 74.3% of HR teams feel unable to gauge staff wellbeing across remote teams

Why is this important?

With recruitment on the rise, job vacancies in the UK have reached a record high in line with the labour market rebounding from the effects of the pandemic, with growth in recruitment surpassing economists’ expectations in the three months to June, according to the Financial Times

Since March 2020, HR professionals cited recruitment related admin (17.3%) as one of the top areas they are spending the most time, so the impact of a more buoyant job market can have trickle down effects onto HR staff who are already under a lot of pressure to manage heavier workloads

The subsequent impacts on mental health, if not addressed, will very likely contribute to staff churn and burnout issues

Since March 2020, HR professionals cited updating company policies (21.4%) and recruitment related admin (17.3%) as the two key areas where they are spending the most time. Maintaining employee records (15.8%) and furlough management (15.1%) came in as the next tasks.

Discussing the findings, Jonathan Richards, CEO at Breathe commented: “The truth is that HR teams have been a badly-hit part of many businesses. It’s shocking to see the extent to which these professionals are feeling unsupported, and the varied tasks the past 18 months have thrown up at them. As we emerge out of this, I think a key area will be for businesses to check in on their HR teams more. Understanding where their pain points are and helping to alleviate them, be that through talking about problems or implementing software that helps to automate tasks, will be crucial to getting making HR teams feel best supported.”

For more information, listen to our recent ‘Who is HRing HR?’ webinar or visit our website.


According to Sage, 5.6% time is lost due to poor productivity, costing £39.9 billion each year

Therefore 100% of time is 39.9 billion / 0.056 = £712.5 billion

5 hours / 37.5 (number of hours in working week) = 13.3%

712.5 billion*13.3% = £94.7 billion lost each year due to poor productivity

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