Thursday, May 25, 2023
HomeHRWhat's Actually Stressing out HR Professionals?

What’s Actually Stressing out HR Professionals?

See the webinar and presentation deck displaying in-depth evaluation and commentary from the researchers and HR professionals who carried out this research.  

  • The 2023 HR Skilled’s Stress Index has revealed that human useful resource professionals encounter a substantial quantity of stress from numerous work-related points.
  • High stressors embody an absence of staffing help, recruitment/hiring, and financial pressures that lead to points associated to worker self-discipline. 
  • These findings point out the necessity for elevated help and assets for HR professionals to mitigate their stress ranges.

A couple of 19 min. learn


Desk of Contents:

Survey Function & Methodology


Government Abstract

Important Worry and Issues

Duties/Duties that Trigger Stress

Worth Statements Associated to a Constructive Work Tradition

Worth Statements Associated to a Damaging Work Tradition

Investing in Worker Advantages & Tradition


Survey Overview

The HR Stress Index is a world research measuring stress within the office. Our intention is to measure the stress and anxiousness of HR professionals and establish the problems which might be prone to lower their productiveness and job satisfaction.

Why conduct such a research?

We initially looked for publicly accessible knowledge about how stress impacts HR execs. We didn’t discover a lot in the best way of publicly out there knowledge, and what we did discover drew conflicting conclusions. As we tried to get our arms on some uncooked survey knowledge, we discovered it was merely not possible or price prohibitive. That’s why we selected to speculate on this research. By conducting the research ourselves, we are able to personal and analyze the info to our coronary heart’s content material, and we gained’t must depend on the great graces of individuals like knowledge brokers.

Whereas rigorous analysis requires an funding of time and assets, we’re completely satisfied now that we launched this research again in 2020. Since that point we’ve realized lots, because it all helps us higher perceive the individuals we serve in human assets.

Since launching this research, we’ve poured over tons of authentic knowledge and crunched a mountain of numbers. It’s secure to say we’ve change into roughly subject material specialists on the subject of stress amongst human assets professionals. And we couldn’t be happier.

It’s not as if we’re new to statistics, enterprise knowledge, and behavioral analysis. A lot of our weblog subscribers began out by visiting one in all our common pages that curate an unlimited assortment of HR statistics. (See our Worker Engagement & Loyalty Statistics: The Final Assortment, or the Final Assortment of Worker Advantages and Perks Statistics).

We’ve additionally carried out different unbiased analysis referring to the client sector and different verticals we serve reminiscent of membership teams, affiliations, and better schooling alumni organizations.  

The HR Skilled’s Stress Index is funded by Entry Improvement on behalf of Entry Perks, a 40-year-old firm targeted on delivering higher worth to all these we serve. However in contrast to analysis organizations that cost an arm and a leg for his or her analysis knowledge, we thought it was extra acceptable to share our findings with not solely our valued shopper companions however with all HR professionals as properly.

Our hope is that those that take pleasure in and admire this research will contemplate together with the Entry Perks worker low cost program of their suite of life-style advantages and perks.


As with our inaugural research, we consulted with HR professionals and different trade specialists who helped us construct the survey instrument. That method, we might establish probably the most urgent points dealing with HR professionals in the present day.

The research was carried out from January 2 by means of February 15, 2023, utilizing each on-line surveys and phone interviews. We obtained 2,732 responses, with respondents representing employers within the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, with a major majority of respondents from North America. With such all kinds of employers collaborating, survey members are accountable for serving over 15 million staff.

Due to this excessive degree of participation, the outcomes have a decent margin of error of plus or minus 1.87 share factors, giving us a excessive diploma of confidence within the closing outcomes.



Our respondents symbolize employers from 4 major segments. The biggest variety of respondents (52%) come from personal companies and firms. Non-profit and not-for revenue organizations symbolize 19% of respondents, and 13% symbolize authorities, schooling, and different employers within the public sector.

Whereas publicly held entities make up our smallest particular person phase representing 13% of respondents, total they handle roughly 5 million staff. This compares to the 52% of members who symbolize personal corporations, however they handle a comparatively small 3 million whole staff.

Respondents have all kinds {of professional} expertise, with many having ten or fewer years of expertise in HR. Some, nevertheless, have 45 years or extra of HR expertise.

The typical tenure of respondents is 16 years, and cumulatively they symbolize 40,544 years of HR expertise.

Wanting on the common measurement of the workforce represented by our respondents, the typical (imply) employer measurement is 310 staff.


Government Abstract

It is clear the pandemic continues to have an effect on HR professionals. How a lot of an affect just isn’t empirically delineated by the survey knowledge, however we are able to use the info to make some educated assumptions.

Final 12 months’s research revealed COVID was a major supply of stress for HR professionals. This current research exhibits that with the decline in duties associated to COVID, we noticed a 6% enhance in job satisfaction YoY, with 74% of HR professionals reporting they’re happy with the work they do. Solely 30% report they “typically contemplate getting a brand new job outdoors of HR,” that is down 19% YoY. The variety of feedback and issues about COVID was additionally down 89% in comparison with final 12 months.

But, though COVID is now not the disaster it as soon as was, many HR professionals are nonetheless dealing with the aftermath. The next are direct feedback submitted by our respondents:

“Since 2020 and COVID, HR has change into considerably extra traumatic to work in.”

“The challenges I face at work have elevated considerably since COVID closures in March of 2020. My position and skill to carry out have been far more clearly outlined beforehand.”

“After Covid, report retirements, adjustments in our workforce…I’m retiring early within the subsequent 30 days.”

“I work in a talented nursing facility, and I’ve observed since Covid that it has been tough to rent and retain nursing employees.

“(Inside politics) makes for lots of coverage adjustments that make stress the unknown, on prime of the residual COVID staffing points.”

Whereas the measurable affect of COVID on HR stress seems to be on the decline, different elements proceed to have an effect.

Companies proceed to face the problems of lingering inflation and the continuing battle for expertise. When you throw within the continued unease associated to the banking trade, the Russian/Ukraine battle, never-ending provide chain disruptions, and so forth., it stays a recipe for stress and anxiousness amongst all forms of enterprise professionals, not simply these in HR.

Inflation has change into a persistent problem, which naturally creates upward strain on wages. Many employers have already responded with pay will increase, however most pay will increase nonetheless do not offset inflation. Whereas C-suite executives search to maintain labor prices at a minimal, HR departments can really feel the intensifying strain to compete for expertise, however typically lack the flexibleness to supply aggressive wages, which means key positions go unfilled. These and different points have a direct affect on work-related stress and job satisfaction.

We see this dilemma manifested within the outcomes of the survey.

Maybe not surprisingly, the most vital stressor for HR professionals is recruiting/hiring, with 76% reporting it causes both “important” or “average” stress, however that is down 13% from final 12 months.

Different metrics reveal a better degree of job satisfaction that seems to be associated to an easing of COVID duties in HR.

For instance, 66% of respondents say “coping with govt’s calls for” causes them “important” or “average” stress, however that is down 11% from final 12 months.

Asset 14@2xThe problem the place we noticed probably the most important drop in stress ranges pertains to “coping with employment rules.” Final 12 months 71% of respondents reported this situation triggered important or average stress. This research reveals that the quantity is down 23% YoY, as solely 55% of respondents cite this as a significant stressor.

Different indicators of rising job satisfaction as in comparison with final 12 months’s research, are mirrored in these metrics:

  • The variety of respondents who say they normally go residence on time is up 40% YoY.
  • HR professionals who strongly agree that their firm is devoted to work/life steadiness are up 26%.
  • Respondents who strongly agree their firm has created a optimistic work tradition are up 36%.
  • The variety of HR professionals who strongly agree that they really feel happy with the work they do is up 15% over final 12 months.
  • Two out of each three respondents imagine their HR division has a seat on the firm’s strategic desk. That is up 4% YoY.

Seeing these optimistic indicators are encouraging and mirror an sudden enhance in total job satisfaction amongst HR professionals.

Relating to working in HR, the largest situation of biggest concern to our respondents was the difficulty of “not having sufficient employees to finish essential duties.” This reply topped the record in each years. Final 12 months 58% cited this as their greatest concern. This 12 months, nevertheless, that share dropped to 49% of respondents, down 15% from final 12 months’s research.

After the difficulty of being understaffed, we see 48% of respondents indicating they feared “not with the ability to sustain on (their) workload.” That is down 14% from final 12 months.

Asset 19@2xOn the backside of the record of issues, solely 19% of HR professionals we surveyed are “very involved” or “considerably involved,” about dropping their job. This can be a 12% enhance YoY.

To interrupt down this metric additional, respondents working at very massive corporations (1501+ staff) are 18% extra prone to be involved about dropping their job, as in comparison with all these surveyed.

Because it pertains to HR’s integration into the corporate’s tradition, absolutely 93% report they’ve relationship with their staff, 81% have relationship with their senior executives, and 77% state they belief their rapid supervisor. These metrics present little change 12 months over 12 months.

Essentially the most important points reported within the research relate to worker misbehavior. We discovered 67% of respondents stating worker self-discipline is their second most vital concern. That is up 10% over final 12 months. It’s probably this metric displays the problems associated to distant work, and the way corporations are imposing their return-to-work insurance policies.

Different metrics present an total enchancment in HR stress. Final 12 months discovered 19.3% of respondents admit they work in a poisonous atmosphere. This 12 months that share dropped to fifteen%.

We additionally noticed final 12 months 19.2% reported they’ve “too many emotionally charged confrontations” at work. That quantity is down 23% over final 12 months, with simply 15% who agree with that assertion.

We’ll dive into extra element on these and different metrics somewhat afterward.


The HR Stress Surroundings

Respondents have been requested to point fears and issues about their work atmosphere.

As said beforehand, the largest concern amongst HR professionals pertains to staffing ranges and workload. We see 49% involved most about not having sufficient HR employees to finish their essential duties. Nevertheless, that is down 15% over final 12 months. That is adopted intently by 48% who concern not with the ability to sustain with their work. This too is down 14% YoY.

Because it pertains to job safety, we see that solely 19% of respondents report worrying about dropping their job, however that is up 12% over final 12 months. Alongside those self same traces, 26% fear about cuts to their HR funds, this concern can be up 21% over final 12 months.

HR professionals aren’t with out their issues, however total, it appears most within the trade really feel fairly safe about their place, as 81% do not have important issues about dropping their job.


Asset 6@2x


Are you understaffed/overworked? Or do you will have misplaced expectations?

Almost all staff have issues and worries about our workload and burnout, and people points are in step with different research we’ve carried out. This research reveals that feeling overworked is among the many most typical points cited amongst HR professionals. Nevertheless, realizing in case you are overworked relies upon lots on whether or not or not your organization has the correct staff-to-HR ratio. Arriving at that metric is usually a tough factor, as calculating it incorrectly might be harmful to each HR staff and your organization.

In accordance with a 2021 research by Certainly, the “commonplace rule is usually 2.57 HR employees for each 100 staff. Small organizations have increased ratios with a median of three.40. Medium organizations typically have ratios round 1.22 whereas a traditional ratio for giant organizations is 1.03.” This rule of thumb varies in response to the dimensions of your corporation, and the purpose of your division.

An HR knowledgeable at PriceWaterhouseCooper says: “If the position is primarily organizational asset preservation—stopping litigation by overseeing insurance policies, slicing HR prices and outsourcing—then a ratio of 1.00 (1 per 100 staff) for giant employers is the usual benchmark. In case your division’s purpose is asset creation—an ongoing alignment with enterprise technique—then the ratio might be close to .60 (1 per 166 staff).”

Even when your organization is appropriately staffed, you’ll be able to nonetheless really feel overwhelmed. That’s why it’s necessary to reach on the right ratio of HR employees to staff in your group. In case you are really understaffed, that knowledge can empower you to advocate for brand spanking new employees.

In case you are appropriately staffed but nonetheless really feel overworked and mentally exhausted, you’ll be extra knowledgeable about your must streamline your companies, and/or outsource a few of your duties and duties. It could additionally assist whether or not or not it’s good to modify your expectations or search for work elsewhere.


Duties/Duties that Trigger Stress

Our subsequent query requested respondents to price the diploma of job-related stress they really feel when coping with a few of the most typical HR duties and duties. For those who answered “important” or “average” stress, we’ve mixed their solutions right into a single column as seen beneath:

Asset 7@2x

A big majority of respondents (76%) say recruiting/hiring is at present their most vital supply of stress. This rating mirrors final 12 months’s survey, however the variety of respondents who say it’s their prime concern is down 13% YoY.

Asset 17@2xTransferring up this 12 months to the second spot on the survey, was the difficulty of worker self-discipline. We discovered 67% citing they’re involved about how regularly they have to have interaction in worker self-discipline. That is up 10% over final 12 months. 

Final 12 months, 74% of HR professionals mentioned “coping with govt calls for” triggered them stress. However because the calls for of COVID have lifted, that quantity is down 9% over final 12 months.

Essentially the most important YoY drop pertains to “Coping with employment rules.” This 12 months 55% reported this as a major stressor, which is down from 71% final 12 months.

New for this 12 months’s research, we included a query about coping with points associated to distant work. Whereas total, 35% of respondents report this situation causes important concern, the proportion appears to extend commensurate with the dimensions of the corporate.

One other query we added this 12 months pertains to the integrity of each staff and administration. Apparently, about half (49%) of HR professionals imagine the shortage of worker integrity causes them stress. This stays roughly constant whatever the measurement of the corporate. That quantity can be about half of all respondents (48%) in the case of stress attributable to administration’s lack of integrity, however that quantity additionally will increase because the variety of staff will get larger. As in comparison with the typical, respondents at massive employers are 11% extra prone to really feel stress associated to administration’s lack of integrity, as in comparison with smaller employers.


Worth Statements Associated to Constructive Firm Tradition

The subsequent set of questions pertains to worth statements which might be typically related to firm tradition. When respondents reply within the detrimental, it could actually typically point out a better diploma of work-related stress. Within the curiosity of simplifying the outcomes, we’ve included solely these solutions the place respondents “agree” or “strongly agree.”  The survey requested: Please price your settlement or disagreement with the next statements:


Asset 11@2x

So far as HR’s relationship with different staff, the excellent news is that 93% of HR professionals report they’ve relationship with their staff.

That is unchanged from final 12 months. Equally, we additionally see 81% reporting they’ve relationship with senior executives; and 67% say they belief their CEO. Each metrics are just like final 12 months.

We additionally found that greater than half (56%) of all HR professionals imagine their firm is “really dedicated” to work/life steadiness. That is up a major 14% over final 12 months.

Asset 21@2xWe additionally see 52% of these working in HR report they normally go residence on time. This metric is up a whopping 21% over final 12 months, and once more is probably going attributable, not less than in a point, to fewer duties and calls for associated to COVID.

One other necessary metric that confirmed important YoY enchancment, was the query associated to “I stay up for coming to work.” This 12 months 63% of respondents agreed with that assertion, up 11% YoY.

Final 12 months we noticed a correlation between HR execs with increased stress ranges and never going residence on time. As well as, our research revealed those that do not go residence on time are:

– 70% extra prone to really feel dissatisfied with the work they do.”

– 81% extra prone to have “too many emotionally charged confrontations.”

– 99% much less prone to “stay up for coming to work.”

See our article and infographic: What’s at Danger when HR Professionals Do not Go Residence on Time?


Worth Statements Associated to a Damaging Work Tradition

Our closing set of worth statements pertains to conditions that when answered within the affirmative, could connote higher job-related stress. We requested: Because it pertains to your work in HR, please price your degree of settlement or disagreement with the next statements:


Asset 12@2x

An organization’s EAP/psychological well being profit is one thing HR professionals have lengthy inspired their staff to make the most of when the necessity arises. EAP utilization could also be correlated to work-related stress, nevertheless it’s problematic to imagine a causal relationship. Nevertheless, the character of this query implies the utilization of the EAP is expounded “to their work in HR,” making this query essential and related to our research.

Total, 43% of respondents agree that they’ve used, or thought-about utilizing their firm’s EAP. That is in step with final 12 months’s research and inside our margin of error. Apparently, HR professionals working at massive and really massive corporations are a median of 15% extra prone to have interaction with their EAP, as in contrast with their colleagues working at smaller organizations. (See our article Which is Extra Nerve-racking? HR at a Massive or Small Firm?)

Asset 20@2xIt is also necessary to notice that fewer HR professionals wish to discover a new job outdoors of HR. This 12 months 30% agreed with that assertion, however that is down 18% over final 12 months.

The research additionally noticed 16% of respondents reporting they work in a poisonous atmosphere. That is down 16% YoY. This additionally applies to the query about having “too many emotionally charged confrontations,” as 15% of respondents agreed with that assertion. This too is down 23% from final 12 months.

Lastly, we requested respondents about whether or not or not their firm “cultivates a false narrative.” This 12 months 18% agreed, however that is down from 21% final 12 months, a 16% drop.


Investing in Worker Advantages & Tradition

For HR Professionals, when an employer is dedicated to investing in worker advantages and tradition, it could actually make working in HR much less traumatic. We requested respondents to price their employer’s funding of their advantages and tradition. The survey requested: Relating to how your organization/group invests in its staff, please point out your satisfaction with the next:

Asset 10@2x

As in comparison with final 12 months’s research, we noticed a rise within the variety of respondents who’re happy with their firm’s advantages and tradition.

Essentially the most important bounce in satisfaction scores pertains to respecting work/life steadiness, going from 44% to 57% YoY, a 28% bounce. Workforce constructing went from 30% final 12 months, to 41% this 12 months, a 36% enhance. The biggest total enhance was for worker recognition, the place this 12 months 51% are happy. That’s up 38% over final 12 months.

Satisfaction with core advantages was up 9%; PTO was up 7%, and wages/salaries have been additionally up 7% 12 months over 12 months.

Whereas the rise in these metrics could appear small, they’re statistically important, given the proportion of change from final 12 months. We anticipate conducting this research for the foreseeable future and can maintain a detailed eye on how trade professionals reply over time.


What’s Your Take?

We invite you to share your insights and opinion about his research.  What’s inflicting you probably the most stress in your HR place? Is there something you’ve got discovered shocking on this knowledge?  Add your feedback beneath.


About Entry Perks®

As a division of Entry Improvement®, Entry Perks is a value-added life-style profit that helps 1000’s of HR professionals, advantages specialists, and employers increase worker engagement, recruiting, and retention. Utilizing America’s largest, personal low cost community, Entry Perks is a singular worker low cost program delivering deep reductions on on a regular basis purchases reminiscent of at common sit-down eating places, malls, and on-line retailers, in addition to reductions on issues like groceries, gasoline, pizza, oil adjustments, motels, theme parks, cell telephones, and so forth. With over 1 million areas globally, staff who use this system usually can save upwards of $1,000 or extra per 12 months, no matter the place they reside, work, or journey. To be taught extra, go right here.


New Call-to-action



Artistic Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) This license permits remixing, repurposing, and constructing upon this work offering “Entry Perks®, HR Stress Index” is clearly and clearly credited. Any new creation that references, or is derived, in complete or partially, from this work, should even be licensed utilizing similar phrases. All different permissions requests should contact:

Gary W. Toyn c/o Entry Perks

1012 W. Beardsley Place

Salt Lake Metropolis, UT 84109






Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments