In the dynamic world of financial services, the importance of mental well-being is often overshadowed by the focus on financial success. However, a recent episode of the ‘Just Covered’ podcast, recorded by Financial Planner Life Studios Legal and General for Advisers, brought this crucial topic to the forefront.
Sam Oakes, founder of the Financial Planner Life podcast and a long-time advocate for mental fitness, joined the hosts Wayne Holcombe and Hazel Johnston ☂️ . They delved into mental well-being and discussed goals for 2024, aligning with recent findings from a Forbes poll that highlighted mental health and financial well-being as top New Year’s resolutions.
The episode explored initiatives by Legal & General for Advisers in this area and discussed ways the financial planning profession can enhance mental well-being for employees and clients.
A key takeaway was the powerful, yet simple question, “How are you? Out of 10?”—a question that Sam Oakes, a board of trustee’s member at the Talk Club charity, emphasises and explains on the podcast.
So, who are Talk Club?
Talk Club is a UK-based mental health charity focused on men’s mental well-being. It emphasises the concept of “mental fitness” rather than just mental health. The charity operates through talking groups, where participants are encouraged to express their feelings using a rating system based on the question, “How are you? Out of 10?” This approach is designed to help build resilience and has shown to improve mental fitness.
Understanding Talk Club’s Approach
Talk Club’s innovative method focuses on mental fitness rather than just mental health. By encouraging individuals to quantify their feelings on a scale of 1 to 10, it prompts a deeper understanding and articulation of one’s emotional state. This system not only fosters self-awareness but also nurtures a culture of empathy and support within groups.
Application in Financial Planning
Incorporating the “How are you? Out of 10?” approach in financial planning firms can revolutionise workplace culture. This tool can be used in various ways:
- Regular Check-ins: Managers and team leaders can use this question during one-on-ones or team meetings. It opens up a dialogue about mental well-being in a non-invasive way, allowing employees to express themselves honestly and seek support if needed.
- Building a Supportive Culture: By normalising discussions about mental fitness, firms can break the stigma around mental health. This question can be the starting point for creating an environment where employees feel valued not just for their professional contributions but also for their overall well-being.
- Client Relations: Financial advisors can use this approach with clients. Understanding a client’s mental state can provide insights into their decision-making processes and risk tolerance, leading to more empathetic and tailored advice.
- Training and Development:Incorporating mental fitness into training programs can equip employees with tools to manage stress and build resilience. It also prepares them to support colleagues and clients effectively.
Benefits for the Financial Planning Profession
- Enhanced Productivity: Mental fitness is key to productivity. By addressing mental well-being proactively, firms can reduce burnout and increase overall efficiency.
- Improved Client Satisfaction: Advisors who are mentally fit are more likely to build strong, empathetic relationships with clients, leading to higher satisfaction and trust.
- Employee Retention: A workplace that prioritises mental well-being is more likely to retain talent. Employees feel more engaged and loyal when their overall health is valued.
Implementing the Strategy
Adopting Talk Club’s approach requires more than just asking the question; it necessitates a cultural shift. Here’s how firms can start:
- Leadership Buy-In: Leadership must understand and support the initiative. They should lead by example, openly using and responding to the “How are you? Out of 10?” question.
- Training: Employees should be trained not just to ask the question but to listen actively and respond appropriately to the answers.
- Resources and Support: Providing resources for mental health support, such as counselling services or stress management workshops, is crucial.
- Regular Follow-Up: The question should be part of an ongoing conversation about mental health, not a one-time check-in.
Talk Club offers a Business Support program to help businesses actively prevent poor mental health among employees. This support is customised for each business and is inclusive of both men and women. The services include Group Leader Training, Talk & Listen Groups, Talk & Exercise Groups, Talking Therapies Groups, one-to-one Listening Support, Talk Club Champion roles, Mental Health First Aid, HR Support, as well as Talks and Films. Businesses interested in these services can contact Talk Club for more information on how to integrate this support into their workplace. This initiative highlights the importance of proactive mental health care in the business environment.
For more details on Talk Club’s Business Support services, please visit their website.