Reviews, Watercooler

HR Pros Sound Off On Job Satisfaction, Work-Life Balance Edges Up

As we get ready to head to the annual Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference (Booth #1267), we wanted to take a moment and get a closer look at what it has been like to work in HR over the past few years as the folks in Human Resources have been on the front lines and have had to make some hard calls as companies looked to weather the economic downtown. As an HR professional, your job revolves around how company strategies and policies effect individuals in the workplace from entry-level employees to senior executives. While HR professionals maintain a focus on the company and the workforce instead of their personal happiness, we were curious to see if  there had been a shift in the “on-the-job satisfaction” for employees in this industry since the recession hit.

Glassdoor turned to the hundreds of reviews left by HR professionals to get an insiders perspective on the industry. The report shows that there have definitely been some discouraging moments, however, things seem to be picking up: people in the HR industry are reporting greater job satisfaction lately – is this a trend we’ll continue to see? Only time will tell.

HR Industry Report Highlights

  • HR professionals’ job satisfaction declined as recession took hold. When comparing company reviews and ratings during June 2009 through May 2010 (Year 2) and June 2008 through May 2009 (Year 1), job satisfaction was down for HR industry professionals across the board. During Year 1, HR employees said their employers were ‘OK’ (3.3) places to work; 12 months later (Year 2) overall average ratings fell to 2.8. (Ratings are based on a 5-point scale). Employee morale took the biggest hit between Year 1 and Year 2. Ratings started at 3.3 and dropped one year later to 2.7. Satisfaction with career opportunities, compensation & benefits, and fairness & respect in the workplace all fell by .4.
  • Past year shows improvement in HR professionals’ job satisfaction. Between June 2010 through May 2011 (Year 3), HR professionals have become more satisfied with their companies and jobs than in Year 2. Overall company ratings from HR professionals had a .3 bump – bringing the average company rating that year to 3.1. Employee morale also crept back up in the last year to a 3.2 rating, .5 higher than the year before. In addition, work-life balance ratings improved as they came in at a 3.4 rating, .4 higher than the year before.
  • Work-life balance continues to improve. Work-life balance ratings are the only workplace category to see improvement in Year 3 over both Year 1 and 2.

We’ve  also looked deeper into company reviews posted by HR professionals to get a better feel for the recent job and work environment…

Feedback on working in HR

“[PROS] The atmosphere is changed constantly and you were always stretched to learn a different way of handling HR related tasks… [CONS] Work-life balance was always addressed but never resolved.” – Accenture Human Resources Consultant/Specialist (location n/a)

“[PROS] Smart people. Real business challenges. Good pay. PepsiCo’s reputation is very positive and solid and the benefits of being a PepsiCo alumni last beyond your time at the company… [CONS]  Long hours. Too much internal competition and politics.” – PepsiCo Human Resources (Chicago, IL)

“[PROS] Chase has made many improvements since converting from Washington Mutual including benefits, work life balance, fairness in hiring, promoting, etc…CONS] Chase is a really large bank and has the same issues WaMu had in communicating with employees. It’s frustrating to hear about company changes in the news instead of through management channels.” – JPMorgan Chase Human Resources Manager (Seattle, WA)

“[PROS] Wal-Mart was a great place for me to work- there is ample room for growth….if you have the initiative and drive, you can get promoted and achieve success!…[CONS] Long hours- when you have your blackberry, you are expected to be available 24/7.” – Wal-Mart Human Resources (location n/a)

“[PROS] Opportunities for growth and development, including tuition reimbursement. Very competitive pay, after a few years…[CONS] The P&C industry is going through major changes, which may impact future employment.” – State Farm Human Resources Generalist (location n/a)

“[PROS] One of the leadership principles is to have a backbone. You are expected to speak up if you disagree with something. You don’t see this in a lot of corporate environment. You’re not just a worker bee… [CONS] Things change so quickly at Amazon that it can be difficult to keep up with the latest initiative.” – Human Resources (location n/a)

“[PROS] The “get fit / stay fit, change the rules, change the game” strategy was an excellent beacon during very difficult times…[CONS] Leadership change usually means regime change. It is not what you know, but who you know.” – Dow Chemical Human Resources Leader (Midland, MI)

“[PROS] Cutting edge HR planning and techniques, ability to learn and take on as much as desired…[CONS] High HR to manager ratio, good support to hi-level managers by HR but little support available to supervisors and lower level people managers.”- Hewlett-Packard Human Resources Business Partner (location n/a)

Do you work in HR? Share a company review on Glassdoor and give an update on what’s working well and what needs to be improved.

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