Roles and wellness of human resource professionals
Pieterse, Ferdinandus Lukas Johannes Bartholomeus
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The continuous alignment of human resource strategies, activities. processes and competencies within an ever-changing business environment poses certain challenges for the human resource profession in a global petrochemical industry. Modem business managers have realised the necessity of work wellness initiatives and that a relationship exists between employee wellness and business results, but very few companies measure whether such initiatives actually had any impact on work performance. Defining performance indicators and competence models for human resource practitioners has developed into a dynamic activity. Adaptation to continuously changing business needs has the potential to create a sense of incompetence, exhaustion, decreased motivation and dysfunctional work attitudes, collective1y defined as burnout. This highlights the need to identify and research psychological constructs that hold predictable value for the ability of human resource practitioners to prevent and overcome burnout by generating sufficient emotional energy to adapt to changing business needs, acquiring strategic human resource competencies to increase their feelings of professional efficacy and increasing their contribution towards organisational performance. The objective of this study was to determine perceived importance and actual performance of human resource practitioners in a global petrochemical company in terms of human resource roles, and to determine the influence of work wellness (burnout, engagement and workaholism) on the perceived value adding contribution of human resource practitioners in a global petrochemical company. The research method for each of the three articles of this study consisted of a brief literature review and an empirical study. Stratified samples were taken of human resource personnel (N = 128) and their internal line customers (N = 67). The measuring instruments used in this study included the Ulrich Human Resource Role Assessment Survey (HRRAS), Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS), Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) and the Workaholism Scale. Article I compared perceptions of human resource practitioners and their internal customers regarding expected and actual contributions of human resource practitioners towards business performance in a global petrochemical company. It was found that human resource practitioners and their line customers are in agreement concerning the importance of the human resource roles that enable business performance, indicating that human resource practitioners have a good understanding of their job requirements. Both human resource practitioners and their line customers perceived the performance of human resource practitioners as average, which is lower than the expected level of performance as indicated by importance scales. In Article 2, a correlation study revealed that burnout (Exhaustion, Professional Efficacy and Cynicism) statistically significantly predicted the perceived level of performance of human resource practitioners in the organisation. It was found that Cynicism was a statistically significant predictor of the perceived level of performance of human resource practitioners in the organisation in terms of all the human resource roles (Strategic Partnering, Administrative Support, Employee Support and Change Management). Vigour and Dedication statistically significantly predicted perceived performance on the Administrative Support role. In Article 3, a three-factor model of workaholism (consisting of Compulsiveness, Involvement and Overwork) was found which showed positive relationship with burnout factors. Statistical analysis indicated that workaholism factors of the Workaholism Scale practically significantly correlate. Multiple regression analysis showed that burnout and workaholism factors can explain perceptions of human resource practitioner performance. Recommendations were made for future research.