Caring for the Caretakers: Julie Turney Explains Why HR Pros Also Need Support


Julie Turney is on a mission to provide a safe space for HR professionals to lean into their positions, grow and thrive—despite rampant burnout. Those in HR roles are often the people providing the most compassion, understanding and guidance for their team. But who’s taking care of them? It’s no secret that these past two years have been a rollercoaster. And it’s not getting easier any time soon. That’s why keeping your HR teams happy and engaged is more important than ever. Enter: Julie. 

Julie Turney is a heart-centric and people-focused HR professional with over 16 years of experience. She created her firm, HR@Heart Consulting Inc., as a part of her healing process during her second bout of HR burnout. Her mission is to help HR professionals struggling to connect theory to practice and deal with the emotional weariness of working in their profession.

Julie is also the Lead Organizer of DisruptHR Caribbean for Barbados, Jamaica & Trinidad, host of the HR Sound Off Podcast Show and author of the book “Confessions of an HR Pro: Stories of Defeat and Triumph.”

Julie strives to raise awareness around mental health in HR and demystify the many misconceptions in the profession. At Engage 2022, Julie will be leading our session, “How to Keep Your HR Team Engaged When They’re More Stressed Than Ever.” 

We caught up with Julie to better understand why the people who support everyone else in the workplace (i.e., HR pros) also need support but often don’t get it— and how we can provide that for ourselves and colleagues.

Julie Turney 1

Name: Julie Turney

Title: Founder & CEO

Company: HR@Heart Consulting Inc.

Where can we find you online? LinkedIn

How do you like your coffee? Black with one sugar.

Tell us a bit about your company.

I provide a safe space for HR professionals to get clear on their careers regarding where they want to go and how they want to get there. I also help HR professionals fill important skill gaps related to business acumen, for example, understanding and interpreting HR data, embracing HR tech and becoming more people-driven rather than process-focused.

What energizes you about your work? 

After working in corporate HR for 16 years, it warms my heart to serve the people who serve the people. Knowing that I can provide a comfort zone for HR professionals drives me to engage, empower and ignite this landscape in a completely different way. HR folks carry heavy burdens, which I can relate to. I know that it’s invaluable to have someone to speak with about these unique frustrations that will not only understand but also be able to provide practical solutions. Supplying that resource to my fellow HR colleagues motivates me!

What most excites you about participating in Engage 2022?

I’m excited to learn from others about what’s being offered in the benefits space. I’m also looking forward to being a part of an experience that fully caters to offering the best experience to the people we serve in our organizations from a health and wellness perspective. 

Why is it important for employees to engage with and take full advantage of their health and wellness benefits? 

We all want to be our best selves, and often we can’t afford to foot the bill on our own. However, we don’t have to when we have access to health and wellness benefits at work. As such, I would encourage any employee beyond onboarding to ask for and seek out help to get the support that you need.

What is the biggest challenge to driving employee engagement with their benefits? 

The biggest hurdle is consistency in educating employees on what’s available and how to access it. We create programs and send out one or two emails expecting people to remember and use them. But really, sometimes even HR forgets about the long list of available benefits and resources. 

We need to be more intentional about sharing benefits with our employees through lunch and learns, posters, fireside chats — whatever it takes to remind people that they exist and how to access them.

"The biggest hurdle is consistency. We create programs and send out one or two emails. But really, sometimes even HR forgets about the long list of available benefits and resources."

What’s the one biggest thing benefits teams should be prepared for as we head into 2022? 

Benefits teams should be prepared to deal with more mental health issues in 2022. Accordingly, they should have more options available for employees to seek support for their mental health — outside of the typical gym memberships, happiness apps and therapy.

Which employee benefits and perks should employers be most focused on in the coming year and why? 

Similarly, we need to focus more on mental well-being and supporting the diverse needs of our workforce. I believe it would be advantageous for coaching to become a norm in the world of benefits. While therapy helps people heal, coaching gives you someone to hold you accountable for making the necessary changes you need to be a better you. I would encourage more organizations to consider having coaching programs available for everyone, including their HR teams.

What is your top tip—you can only pick one!—to help employees choose, use and engage with their benefits? 

I tell people that to be their best selves means choosing themselves first. To be a better, healthier, you means getting the support you need. (And that can be done via your benefits!) When people want to make a change, they’re the only person who can initiate it. So I advise them, “Only you can choose you,” which usually moves people to action.

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