“How would you describe your current mental capacity as an HR head?” That’s the question Matt Summers, global head of leadership at the consulting firm NeuroLeadership Institute, posed to the CHRO of a large California-based tech firm earlier this year. She described it as trying to drive a Formula 1 car in downtown Manhattan during rush hour—blindfolded.

CHROs are tired. Three years past the pandemic’s U.S. start, burnout among people leaders is high. The health crisis, closely followed by intense economic uncertainty, has caused higher turnover in the HR function as people leaders battling their own mental health challenges are also held responsible for the organization’s well-being. It’s a mounting issue for companies that depend on CHROs to be high-performance engines, serving as partners between management and the workforce, says Summers. However, many feel they’ve been capped at the knee, overwhelmed by constant firefighting and shrinking HR teams.”