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« Recruiting the Web 3.0 way! | Main | Moofing - The future of the workplace....seriously! »

November 28, 2007

If HR can't manage it, then what hope for the others?

It appears that HR professionals are suffering like the rest of us from working too hard and for too long. At the CIPD Conference at Harrogate earlier this year, People Management conducted a survey amongst many HR people around hours of work and work life balance etc. I know the results won't be too much of a surprise, but my point is that if this is the situation within the department that is supposed to be focused on protecting and helping employees working life then what chance have companies in the UK got to get it right?

Here are some of the stats:

  • 86% of HR professionals work more than their contracted hours
  • 23% work more than 50 hours a week
  • 30% are unhappy with their work-life balance
  • 54% say the reason they work long hours is their workload
  • 58% say that the long hours effect their homelife and/or their relationships
  • in the last 2 years, HR people who work more than 40 hours has increased by 18%

The European Union seems dead set on enforcing the 48 hour working week in the UK, and while that may be politically astute (and probably right healthwise!), it does effect the many millions that clock up 50,60 or 70 (and more) hours every week. Many companies use staff  and budget cuts as excuses not to increase headcount, but what is the real cost to them of not doing so, when all the other existing staff have to work more extreme hours just to stand still work wise.

I am sure that these figures above wouldn't be far off those for recruitment and other similar industry sectors, but that doesn't make it 'the norm' does it?  HR departments are there to guide, help, drive and 'manage' working environments and to improve the quality of the work life for their employees, so it doesn't really give confidence to their relevant businesses, when they themselves are having to work much harder to 'stay afloat'. Staff retention is absolutely key to companies doing well, and for many employees now, hours of work and work-life balance are critical factors in staff retention. HR personnel are no different, and like most industry sectors, good HR people are hard to find, so will news like this make it harder for offending companies to recruit and retain HR people - well I for one, think so!!


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