How do HR professionals stay ahead of a demanding curve?


The HR profession has been undergoing major transformations in recent years with the pace of change also accelerating since 2020. In this backdrop, the responsibilities of HR professionals continue to grow exponentially, while being asked to play a more strategic role in an organization’s success. The rise of the gig economy, remote work arrangements, and advancements in technology have made it more necessary than ever for companies to actively engage and retain their employees.

Let’s talk about something that’s often overlooked – our mental and holistic well-being. While we are frequently engaged in a competitive environment, how can we ensure that it is not merely an endless race that leads to burnout? Let’s explore some ways to keep ourselves healthy and thriving in this fast-paced landscape.

Physical well-being

It can be tough but making time for some form of exercise – even a brisk walk – thrice a week will keep you fit, aid your overall health, and give you more energy to tackle a busy day.

Seek support – coaching

Over the past few years, I trained to be a coach and sought the guidance of a coach. I believe this journey is not something you can do alone and having a person walk through all the thoughts in your head feels good. From time to time, I still call upon my coach.

Continue to learn something new – always sharpen the saw

Don’t let the rat race make you lose focus of your personal growth. Make time to learn, do a certification, or take a course. It can be directly linked to your work or something beyond it. Something I’ve benefitted from greatly was pursuing my coaching accreditation. It could even be as simple as dedicating either 20 minutes a day or 1-1.5 hours a week for learning.

Juggling the multiple asks – time blocking

The amount of work on your plate, along with all the Teams/Zoom meetings can be overwhelming. Ensure you plan ‘time blocks’ for uninterrupted focus on your work, strategizing, and even learning. I normally do it at the start of the week. The ‘focus time’ feature on Outlook is a good tool that automatically blocks your calendar. Maintaining one to-do list is also beneficial.

Remember you have a team

Learn to delegate and give responsibility. Clearly explain the task at hand, delegate, and have reviews/check-ins as needed. Allocating time for your team is essential. Microsoft Planner is a good tool to track your team’s tasks.

Communication is key

Communication goes a long way in helping others open up, so be the one to initiate it. It doesn’t always have to be work-related – for example, inquire after a loved one or a recent event in the person’s life. Understand that there may be communication limitations among your peers and/or reportees. I’ve found that group coaching sessions can help break barriers and create a stronger sense of camaraderie.

Have fun

Be the fun police! Encourage hangouts and micro-engagements. We’ve initiated a monthly ‘Wednesday Vibe’ among my team, where each month (on a Wednesday, of course!) a sub-team organises a fun, engaging activity for the wider team. We have had quizzes, birthday celebrations, charades, Valentine’s Day goodies, and more so far, and have gotten more creative with each iteration.

Time for self

Make it a habit to make time for yourself at least once a week, to pursue a hobby or just spoil yourself with some self-care. At least a day off all office networks (no, not even a quick mail check!) can help you get much-needed downtime.

Be grateful

When you’re caught amidst the chaos, you can miss some achievements despite a lot being done. As a leader, give some thought to recognition across your team and think of yourself too. For instance, try recording your wins in a gratitude journal – it can even end up helping others.

"You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

I hope some, if not all of the above, helps you “surf” through work and responsibilities!