Supporting Employee Mental Health in Financial Services

Updated: Oct 13

By Bill Greene, Principal at Mind Share Partners

Business leaders—and the rest of us—had hopes that when the pandemic ended, work would return to “normal.” Clearly, that was just wishful thinking. Global conflicts, climate change, political unrest, economic disruptions, social, racial, and cultural upheavals, and yes, the lingering pandemic all shadow our lives in and out of work. Efforts to “return to office” at many organizations are bringing additional uncertainty and stress to the mix.

Very simply, it’s a hard time to work. And employees are feeling it. Since the onset of the pandemic, Mind Share Partners' 2021 Mental Health at Work Report found that:

  • 76% of employees experienced at least one symptom of a mental health condition (most commonly burnout, depression, or anxiety).

  • 80% reported symptoms cumulatively lasting a month or more, with 36% of that group having symptoms lasting five months to the entire year.

Companies everywhere have been challenged, but those in financial services face a few additional unique issues.

The most significant is that financial service firms are at the nexus of all of the world’s disruptions. Not only have financial markets been roiled by global events—creating added complexity and pressure on their work—but many financial service companies are global, and their employees are near (or on) the front lines of disruptive events. So leaders and employees need to address not only business impact, but real and personal employee impacts. This is showing up in our data, too.

  • 80% of employees in financial services, compared to the 76% figure across all industries above, experienced at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the past year.

  • 69% of financial services workers, compared to 50% across all industries, have left previous roles due, at least in part, to mental health reasons.

Leading financial service organizations have been working to address mental health impacts in their workplaces over the past several years. Although the call to action has come from various sources (e.g. employee resource groups, Learning and Development, HR, business leaders, and board directors), the most successful responses have included the following five steps.

Leaders in financial services lead on mental health.

Of course, senior leaders need to sign off on the resources needed for this work to happen. But in the most successful approaches we’ve seen in financial serv