There has been a significant spike in demand for mindfulness programming since the start of the pandemic – but can the financial services industry really bank on the benefits being real? A new white paper from the Mindful Finance Institute shows how mindfulness can strengthen mental health, risk management and a culture of innovation and collaboration in financial services.
Including data from the first study of mindfulness in finance, over 400 financial services employees in the UK and Germany took part in the mindfulness-based workingMIND training that led to significant improvements in well-being, stress, focus and agility.
Friedhelm Boschert, Co-founder of the Mindful Finance Institute said: “Mindfulness unlocks human potential – even in the middle of a pandemic. Our White Paper connects the dots: It shows how and why mindset-change creates and sustains the much needed and upcoming transformation of the finance sector for our shared future.”
HSBC Case Study: mindfulness in the time of Covid-19
Demand for HSBC’s mindfulness-based programming has grown steadily over the past years, with a significant spike in employee interest at the beginning of the first lockdown. Using a blended model of internal Leader Champions and external partner trainers, they were able to quickly scale up the reach of their Mindfulness Foundations programme by five-fold, with more than 450 employees participating in the six-week training in April through May.
During a time when mental health levels plummeted in the general population, a survey of participants found that resilience to stress and flourishing improved by 27% and 22% respectively.
John Hinshaw, Group Chief Operating Officer and global executive sponsor of HSBC’s Mindfulness Employee Resource Group, said: “I am heartened HSBC was able to respond so quickly to the Covid pandemic by scaling and mobilising the mindfulness programme begun by our employees. Ensuring everyone is able to be at their best at home and at work is a key part of our ambition to build a bank fit for the future. HSBC’s mindfulness practise clearly supports our colleagues’ wellbeing by enabling crucial skills such as resilience and creativity.”
HSBC’s Mindfulness employee network, first established in 2014, is an award-winning, employee-led initiative and community offering mindfulness services, resources and training to all HSBC employees. Since 2018, over 10,000 HSBC employees have participated in the bank’s mindfulness programmes, training and events.
How to integrate mindfulness into corporate culture
Case studies by HSBC and NASPA, a German savings bank, share recommendations about integrating mindfulness into their corporate culture in the white paper.
The core attention and emotion regulation skills that are associated with mindfulness training have broad applicability for the financial sector:
Banking cannot prosper within a culture of fear and stress. Reducing stress translates into increasing innovation.
- Employee wellbeing drives culture change. Employee wellbeing leads to better customer relations and is a characteristic of a resilient business (HSBC Navigator Report 2020).6
- Effectiveness starts with paying attention. Increasing concentration while reducing multitasking is key to economic results.
- Psychologically safe collaboration and a new kind of risk culture can increase collective intelligence.
Chris Tamdjidi, co-founder of the Mindful Finance Institute, said: “The inner changes that are supported by practices like mindfulness can lead to insights into the kind of changes that we need to see in the financial sectors. Mindfulness starts by developing wellbeing and resilience but doesn’t stop there. The study results and research shows that the skills acquired can be applied to create a more sustainable future in finance.”