Over the last few months a number of our clients have members of their teams on long term sick – HRD’s, HRBP’s HRM’s and HRA’s.  Out of those who are off, 80% are off with stress and the remaining 20% with illnesses and conditions that from my experience could be stress related.

When I was asked to write What’s Your Excuse For Not Overcoming Stress, I didn’t write it as a stress expert.  I wrote it based on my personal ‘burn out’ that caused me to want to find out more about stress, how it can affect us and the impact this has on personal and business performance.  I have studied Neuroscience to understand the impact of stress on the brain and qualified as a Psychotherapist and Hypnotherapist to help my coaching clients recognise stress and implement simple techniques to help them minimise stress and gain more confidence, resilience and control.

HR can be stressful

 Even if you’re someone who thrives on ER, it can be stressful, when day in and day out you are dealing with issues, racing to meet the policy and legislative guidelines on timeframes and processes to mitigate business risk and fighting against conflicting priorities.  Add to that the constant queries, the systems that don’t work properly, the data that’s not correct, the changes you need to implement, the meetings you need to attend and somewhere you’ll have your own to-do list to get done.

When I became seriously ill I didn’t relate this to stress at all, I had managed in more stressful situations and environments, juggled heavier workloads and managed more demanding teams and customers, but I cracked.  It was total burn out and it wasn’t until I’d had two operations in 48 hours seven months after the initial symptoms arose, that the two consultants I was under asked me about stress, adamant that stress has been the cause of my issues.

Many professions that involve dealing with other people’s issues all day also include supervision, counselling, offloading or support, HR isn’t one of these, yet in many cases it’s needed.

We don’t like to say we’re not coping though do we?

We cover ourselves with the HR cloak of protection and just keep going – until we can’t.

For years and probably since I joined HR over 20 years ago, we’ve been talking about the need to do HR differently, to be more creative and innovative in our approach – and now, finally, companies like Chrysalis Consulting are demonstrating that things be different.

That shouldn’t mean though that you should just implement the latest HR change just because it’s all over the social media, if it doesn’t and won’t work for your organisation and your people, don’t do it.

What you need to see is that there are other ways of doing things, and then through engaging with your people identify what they need and then get creative in the way you can deliver it.

Creativity however will come if we give ourselves the headspace to get creative

We need the right mindset, the right environment and the right energy levels if we want to be creative and we need to lead by example if we want to support our people in being creative for the good of the business.

Working flat out all day, not sleeping properly at night and coming into work the next day exhausted and ploughing through your to-do list like a zombie, is not how to generate creativity.

So, if stress is impacting your HR function and your ability to get creative, stop, take a breath, reflect and plan some much needed time out (soon) to talk about what you’re going to do differently to reduce the stress and increase your ability to get creative.

Let’s stop stress, before stress stops you!


Not one for thinking outside the box – mainly because she believes there isn’t one, Kelly founded Chrysalis in 2014 after being appointed as the UK’s Youngest HR Director (something she was told she couldn’t achieve with two young sons), after feeling that consultancy needed to more people and less process driven because – well that’s what gives consultants a bad reputation.

Through her consulting, coaching, talks, presentations, workshops and books, she rips up the rule book and helps people create what’s best for them, their teams and their organisations – not what’s best for their competitors.