Stress Management Strategies for HR Professionals

If one more person tells me to meditate, I’m going to scream,” says an over-burdened HR professional.  Although meditation has been proven to be effective in boosting resiliency and reducing the impact of stress, not everyone views it as an appealing or serious approach to managing stress in their lives. For those who like more direct and tangible ways of coping with stress we suggest this Re-vision Exercise.

Step I – Re-vision your life with less stress in it

Write a quick description of your job and/or full life without the major drivers of stress. Would this new vision include less travel, less difficult situations, or more control over your workflow?  What would some outcomes of this vision include? Would your life include getting home for dinner, or feeling less worn out by the end of the day? There are no right or wrong answers in a new vision.  The goal is to re-evaluate the big picture.

Step II – Tackle the specifics

Get busy addressing the issues that are truly within your control.  Following are four examples of stressors shared by HR professionals and how they managed them.

  1. Difficult conversations that don’t end well– Proactively adjust your approach to employee relations conversations by clarifying expectations at the beginning. Ask if the person is looking to be heard, would like strategies and is open to feedback. Discuss what a positive outcome might look like up front. This technique also works well at home.
  2. Impossible schedule– Account for transition time between events on your calendar and avoid letting events start and finish within less than 15 minutes of each other. Schedule travel time into your calendar, even if it’s within the same building.
  3. No recovery time between issues– Building a time cushion of up to 30 between issues helps to “reset” oneself. Be honest about the amount of emotional content each situation requires to absorb and how it affects you.
  4. Getting hit by the same bus, again and again– Break patterns by building in some de-briefing time. Assess what happened and examine what worked well or not so well. Try making some clear decisions about what you would do differently next time around.