“They have been downsizing all year and the department I was in refused to replace employees who quit. I was working 50+ hours a week and management said we had more than enough staff. The overtime pay was nice, but the stress and lack of advancement opportunities forced me to look for a new job.” – Banking industry employee
The challenges keep coming for workers in the banking industry. Just as the pandemic begins to wane, bank leaders and employees are entering a multiyear period of uncertainty and disruption, according to analysts. To compete, grow, and remain profitable, banks will need to rapidly evolve, cut costs, or both, which creates pressure at all levels of the organization.
As inflation and threats of recession linger, for example, banks will need to become financially resilient, analysts say. To thrive in the long term, however, banks also will need to innovate. Meeting customer demand for a more personalized banking experience will require investing in technology as well as reskilling and redeploying workers. Addressing calls for greater transparency will require investments in regulatory compliance. And, as cybersecurity threats continue to escalate, banks will need to beef up their data security protocols and technology.
For banking leaders, these challenges create pressure but also an opportunity to reinvent an entire industry. For banking employees not in positions of authority, they could lead to more stress, anxiousness, and sleepless nights because of worries about branch closures, low raises and bonuses, or having to quickly learn new skills or take on a new role.
Work-related challenges are the primary cause of stress
Unfortunately, workplace stress was already at an all-time high when challenges to traditional banking began to gain momentum, with loneliness, anxiousness, financial concerns, and overwork becoming growing concerns post-pandemic. In fact, stress and anxiety are on the rise in all industries, and work-related challenges are the primary reason, Calm research shows.
According to Calm research on 2023 workforce mental health trends, 36% of workers in the finance industry are feeling stressed and anxious more than half the days or nearly all the time. Forty-four percent of banking employees say being overworked negatively affects their mental health, and 34% say being too busy does the same.
Prolonged stress can lead to serious issues, but workers in the finance sector struggle to make time for mental health
Prolonged stress can quickly lead to burnout, reducing productivity and increasing negative attrition. It can disrupt sleep, cause a wide range of physical health challenges, and escalate into serious mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. In fact, a birth cohort study estimated that 45% of cases of depression and anxiety in previously healthy young workers were attributable to job stress.
The good news in the finance sector is that most workers (85%) say that seeking support for your mental health makes you strong, according to Calm research. Unfortunately, nearly 40% of Gen Zers and millennials in the industry say time constraints are a barrier to taking care of their mental health.
Finance workers want more preventive mental health support
While time is a barrier to mental health support, access is less of a factor for employees in the banking and finance industry. In fact, across all industries surveyed by Calm, respondents in the finance sector reported the best access to mental health support tools for stress and anxiousness (40% of respondents). They also enjoy wellness stipends (30%) and mental health days off (30%)—both well above the overall industry averages of 21% and 24%, respectively.
But only 25% of finance industry employees said their company offers workshops or programs on resilience or coping strategies for stress and anxiousness, which lags behind technology, government, and other industries. Facing growing uncertainty and change, it’s unsurprising that 40% of employees in the finance sector wish their employers would offer this kind of mental health training and support. Learn how Ogilvy improved workforce resilience and well-being by implementing a mindful manager program.
Implementing preventive mental health support
In addition to providing resilience training for managers and staff, employers in banking or financial services should consider taking the following steps as part of a proactive, preventive approach to workforce mental well-being:
- Regularly assess stress levels throughout the organization
Conduct periodic assessments to determine how employees are feeling and identify specific employee populations that may need immediate support. Employers can use surveys, focus groups, and individual assessments to understand the causes and severity of stress present in the organization.
- Establish a core set of shared values and model them day to day
Organizations that have a successful culture of mental well-being start with a shared set of values and expectations that can serve as a guide for employees in their daily interactions.
- From the top, make mental well-being a priority, and be vocal about it
When leaders, managers, and coworkers use the well-being programs and policies in place, employees feel safe using them. And when policies and programs aren’t used or talked about, employees are less likely to use them. Think of group meetings and one-on-ones as opportunities to encourage workers to use available resources and to use their allotted PTO to rest and recharge.
- Adopt mental health preventive tools that can be easily integrated into daily routines
To help employees overcome the time barrier to mental health, adopt preventive tools that are easily accessible anytime, anywhere and that offer a wide range of formats and durations. In fact, studies show that just 5 to 10 minutes of meditation practice daily can significantly improve mindfulness and effectively buffer stress and anxiety.
Calm Business offers tools and resources to help employees de-stress during the workday, defuse panic and anxiety attacks, reframe negative thinking, and sleep better.
Banking employees who use Calm are more productive and more able to manage their workload, and they feel more connected to their company compared to peers who do not use Calm. Calm users in banking are:
- 18% more likely to feel productive compared to peers who do not use Calm;
- 20% more likely to say they can manage their workload;
- 15% more likely to feel supported by their employer; and
- 44% more likely to feel connected to their colleagues.
As banking undergoes fundamental shifts, employers will need to help employees reduce stress and develop strategies to cope with change. A proactive, preventive, and accessible approach to mental health can support employees in building resilience and achieving emotional well-being.
For more information on supporting employees in banking or financial services, connect with a Calm specialist today.