UK Finance: How can financial services employers create a healthy culture for staff?

Julie Curruthers

Julie Curruthers, Managing Director of Membership and Strategic Partnerships at UK Finance, explores how financial services employers can take action now to create a healthy culture for staff.


Much has changed throughout my career in financial services, and the mental health of colleagues has never been more important to employers in the sector. Leadership has taken mental health more seriously and over the last decade attitudes have changed, especially in the financial services sector.

New research from MHFA England shows two thirds of finance sector employees feel it has become easier to talk about mental health at work since the pandemic. However, there is always more that can be done to support colleagues. UK Finance recently teamed up with MHFA England to provide some recommendations on how organisations can support colleague mental health:


Evaluate wellbeing practices

Senior leaders are in a unique position to positively impact employees’ experience in the workplace by developing policies that prioritise mental health and wellbeing.

Cultural change must start at the top and creating a psychologically safe space should be part of a much wider strategic organisational approach to psychological safety at work.  A truly holistic mental health and wellbeing strategy should be created, endorsed and promoted by senior leadership and delivered through HR.

Good job design with people in mind is critical and should be adaptable. An example of this could be allowing job sharing where possible. It is also important for leaders to listen to feedback and constantly adapt and update their policies at regular intervals. Senior leaders can also ask employees for feedback using regular staff surveys on their wellbeing and mental health at work. This is something I’ve seen the benefit of in my own team, who I encourage to provide honest feedback which we can act on and find ways to provide greater support for each other.


Training and supporting managers

Managers help build working environments that can allow people to feel psychologically safe and have conversations about their mental health and wellbeing. They create the golden thread between an individual’s objectives, the team’s plan and the business’ vision and mission.

Managers have an important role to play in creating the right culture, but they need to have the training, time and tools to support their teams.

As senior leaders, we must make sure that our team, and especially managers, are aware of what resources are on offer so they can utilise these services or signpost them to colleagues. For example, are your managers aware of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), counselling services, or access to trained Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAiders®)?

At UK Finance our MHFAiders® are a valuable point of call for colleagues experiencing poor mental health.

Whatever your wellbeing strategy or resources, it is important that policies and support services are signposted on multiple platforms to reflect the hybrid working world. Make sure support services are clearly visible both in the office and virtually.

It is also important that you follow through on personal basis. Regular one to one meetings and reviews are central to performance and wellbeing at work. They provide a chance to check in on wellbeing, to understand successes and challenges and celebrate achievements. While regular one to ones are helpful for tracking an individual’s career objectives and goals, they are also a vital channel for checking in on someone’s wellbeing and this should always be on the agenda in a line management catch up.

At UK Finance, we believe that teams are at their most effective and creative when everybody feels psychologically safe and is seen, heard and valued. The financial services sector employs over a million people up and down the UK, and taking steps to support the mental health of everyone in the sector is better for wellbeing and better for business.


Spanning a 30 year career, Julie Curruthers has held a number of senior roles delivering and implementing large-scale strategic projects and organisational transformation programmes across operations and technology.

Previous article

Leeds Building Society hires Asda vet as new marketing director

Next article

Starling signs 3-year sponsorship deal with Southampton Women's team

Get access to valuable thought leadership from the financial services marketing industry

Keep up-to-date with current trends and changes across marketing and financial services is vital in this fast-moving business environment.