Nov. 22, 2006 – CiC (www.cic-eap.co.uk), one of the UK’s leading Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) providers, are of the opinion that the financial sector is leading the way in providing employees with all round assistance and support. CiC is seeing a sharp rise in the number of organisations in the financial sector seeking support to cater for the psychological needs of their employees.
Within the last few years, the financial services sector has undergone significant changes. Successes have hit the headlines, and the financial sector can be an exciting and rewarding arena in which to carve a career, particularly if staff are given the correct back up support. It cannot be ignored that the result of globalization and market deregulation has often led to restructuring within organisations. Major changes such as these if mis-handled can bring with them reduced job security and a resulting increased pressure on work forces, which in turn can lead to higher work related stress, and a possible lack of commitment and motivation.
CiC has noticed that businesses in the financial sector specifically are requesting its support and guidance now more than ever, across a range of business needs:
• Psychological inoculation and preparing staff for major change and educating staff as to the likely normal reactions to change (e.g. sleeplessness, anxiety, irritability etc)
• Implementing Employee Assistance Programmes with 24/7 telephone cover – a free phone confidential helpline number for all staff
• Training managers in such issues as breaking major and bad news and explaining why changes may be occurring
• Ensuring consultancy programmes are in place so that managers have a 24-hour 365-day point of contact in times of crisis
• Putting in place risk assessment protocols for staff who may have been affected by change
• Establishing contingency plans alongside HR, OH and health & safety departments to ensure that ‘people’ aspects of contingency and change management plans are in place
“There is no doubt that the financial sector is currently leading the way in employee assistance – the sharp rise in organisations contacting us for support with their change management systems is very heartening indeed. Change affects us all in different ways – espeically when it is work related – and for a sector to be embracing employee assistance as much as the financial sector is a very strong message for other industries to follow suit.” Kate Nowlan, CEO of CiC
So why are businesses in the financial sector seeking external support from CiC? Statistics show that this high pressure sector, more than others, suffers from a variety of stress related issues*:
• 83% of UNIFI members reported feeling ill effects from work including health problems, lack of self confidence, relationship problems and anger
• 79% reported feeling regularly overloaded or burned out
• 76% admitted to ‘cutting corners’ because of workloads
• 21% had suffered illness caused by work-related stress including migraines, coronary heart disease, ulcers and depression
• 9% reached or exceeded the levels set by health & safety working time regulations
One area in particular that CiC has experienced an increased demand for support is bullying within the financial sector. Bullying as a cause of workplace stress is reported to be higher only in the voluntary sector, and has been blamed on, amongst other reasons, excessive performance targets. Providing employees with a forum in which to discuss these concerns and can prove invaluable for the long term success of the business and wellbeing of the staff.
Although the financial sector is proving to be one of the shining lights, Kate Nowlan suggests that there could still room for improvement:
“It is excellent to see the financial sector recognizing the importance of looking after their staff. It can be a tough, if exciting, industry to work in. Correct staff support is crucial. In an industry where the bottom line is measured like no other staff support and assistance is the best possible investment that could be made for long term future gain. IT results in balanced employees who feel supported and content in both their personal and professional lives, and are working to their best”.
Notes to Editor
* Information and statistics taken from: www.ilo.org/public/english/dialogue/sector/papers/service/wp210.pdf
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