By Sarah Henson
As the year begins and we start to plan for 2024, many are setting resolutions, perhaps considering how they can prioritise health and wellness in the new year. Focusing on employee wellbeing is especially important in the finance sector, where research demonstrates that 31% of financial services and banking professionals are planning to leave the industry due to the intensity of the pressure.
This data should ring alarm bells for leaders in the finance sector. For workforces to keep up the pace of a rapidly evolving industry, organisations must ensure that their health and wellbeing offering is competitive, by including key tools such as learning and development, manager support, and digital coaching.
Shine the spotlight on de-stressing
It’s no secret that the finance sector is well known for tight deadlines, long working hours, and high demand. Whilst this has always been the case, employees have now begun to reconsider its impact, with 88% of employees now prioritising work-life balance, mental health and finding meaning in their role over salary. In response to this development, organisations should consider a more holistic approach to employee wellbeing, moving beyond the traditional “talk to HR” approach.
It’s not just HR’s responsibility to watch out for the way employees are feeling. Mental ill health can influence an organisation significantly, even impacting the bottom line. Indeed, according to data from the Mental Health Foundation, better mental health support in the workplace could save UK businesses up to £8 billion annually. There are strong motivations for highlighting the importance of wellbeing in the workplace for those at all levels of senior leadership, beyond the HR team.
Managers can pave the way for the rest of the organisation
When looking to develop a more holistic employee wellbeing programme, organisations can consider encouraging a culture of openness, especially between employees and managers. This is especially important when considering that 1 in 4 financial sector workers are not comfortable discussing mental health with their manager. Yet, when an issue is endemically affecting every part of a business’ day-to-day, like employee wellbeing, managers have a key role to play.
Managers must support their staff by ensuring that everyone is catered for when wellbeing initiatives are implemented into the workplace. Flexibility and tolerance are key behaviours for a manager to display when doing so. By being flexible to each individual’s unique needs, and tolerant of changes in direction if things aren’t working for an individual, management will reap the rewards of a happy and engaged workforce. Aside from managers’ personal behaviours, offering staff the opportunity to have digital coaching, where they can work with one their career with a coach to find strengths and development areas, means employees feel respected and focussed and willing to give back to the organisation.
Building a strategy that puts wellbeing front-and-centre
Wellbeing can’t just be a box-ticking exercise, it needs to be a conscious change to how and organisation operates. Building it into the very fabric of a company is key in both retaining employees long term and securing a stellar reputation with job seekers. Inevitably, employees in the finance sector may experience stressors that are unique to their industry, but there are universal solutions that businesses can offer across the board. Digital coaching, for example, is an effective way for employees to prioritise what is important to their career journey alongside an experienced coach, identify pain points, and work together to resolve any issues. This could include wellbeing, but can also encompass career progression, leadership, and more. This tool can sit alongside other disciplines, such as mentoring and digital learning, to create a workplace environment in which people have unique support that meets their individual needs.
With such a variety of tools and methodologies aiming to enhance employee wellbeing today, organisations can seamlessly integrate wellness into their culture. Wellbeing should be seen as an organisational priority, defined by principles of flexibility and tolerance. Managers should be willing to adapt to individuals’ needs, offering regular discussions about workload, mental heatlh, and responsibilities. They must also be open to shifting gears when something isn’t working, which can ultimately boost productivity and encourage progression. Whilst finance may be dominated by a strong work-hard, play-hard culture, there is always space for employee wellness, bolstered by effective support from employers.
About the Author
Sarah Henson is a Senior Behavioural Scientist at CoachHub who has a passion for problem solving and making a difference. She is a people development leader with experience across a range of disciplines, including coaching and organisational development. Prior to CoachHub, she was Senior Learning & Development Manager at De Beers Group.