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Declining Mental Health Takes Toll on Financial Services Operations

(London, UK) Absence and attrition rates are on the rise for front-line agents working in financial services. Mental health concerns are a primary driver, forcing financial service providers to address a once-taboo workplace subject. According to members of Auriemma Group’s Customer Service and Complaints Roundtable, mental health is frequently the cause for taking time off or leaving the company entirely. This, in conjunction with recruitment challenges facing the industry, has made mental health and well-being a top priority for firms.

According to the researchers at the University College London (UCL), only 49% of working age adults say they feel in control of their mental health, down from 54% six months ago. The study also found that the proportion of people with symptoms of anxiety and depression is at its highest level in 11 months.

There are several reasons why mental health issues are growing at higher rates amongst front-line agents. Increasingly complex calls and a rise in vulnerable customer volume has taken its toll on the mental health of many agents. Concurrently, the cost-of-living crisis is placing more pressure on all consumers, which agents are also not immune from.

“This compounds when considering many are still working from home and missing out on the social elements of the workplace,” says Louis Stevens, Director of Auriemma Roundtables. “It is easy to see why many firms are in firefighting mode in terms of capacity planning.”

The combination of these factors has led to a marked increase in both attrition and absence rates. In 2021, Auriemma Group’s Customer Service and Complaints Roundtable members reported an average attrition rate of 23%, up from 16.5% in 2020. Mental health-related absence rates showed a similar trend up to 14%, in 2021 from 11% in 2020.

“The cost-of-living crisis will only put further stress on both customers and employees, meaning without sufficient support measures in the place, this trend will likely only worsen throughout 2022,” says Stevens.

To combat this, firms are taking a varied approach by making mental health resources more accessible, building overall engagement amongst their employees to improve job satisfaction and embedding mental health awareness into their company culture and rhetoric. Roundtable members have also reported more return-to-office strategies, which will help those who have not taken well to home-based work.

This is an area of focus within Auriemma Group’s Customer Service & Complaints and Collections & Recoveries Roundtables, both of which have upcoming in-person meetings at the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh. The Collections and Recoveries meeting is scheduled for the 9th and 10th of June, and the Customer Service and Complaints Roundtable meeting will be on the 16th and 17th of June. If you are interested in attending either session, please contact roundtables@auriemma.group.

About Auriemma Group

For more than 35 years, Auriemma’s mission has been to empower clients with authoritative data and actionable insights. Our team comprises recognised experts in four primary areas: operational effectiveness, consumer research, co-brand partnerships and corporate finance. Our business intelligence and advisory services give clients access to the data, expertise and tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex environment and maximise their performance. Auriemma serves the consumer financial services ecosystem from our offices in London and New York City. For more information, visit us at www.auriemma.group or call Louis Stevens at +44 (0) 207 629 0075.

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