#A Study In Banking Sector of Nepal

Correlation Among Operational Risks, Employee Stress Management, and Well-Being

Published On: May 27, 2024 08:30 AM NPT By: Bijay Sharma

Bijay Sharma

Bijay Sharma

The author is a seasoned banker with over 15 years of experience in the Nepalese banking industry and currently working in the Lloyds Bank in the UK.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that work-related stress costs global businesses approximately $300 billion annually in lost productivity. 

Work stress is a growing concern in the dynamic and fast-paced work environments of the banks in Nepal. The pressure and tension arising from work demands, coupled with the challenge of meeting high expectations within strict rules and regulations, contribute to a stressful atmosphere. A study in Malaysia identified workloads, working conditions, and relationships as primary factors leading to workplace stress among managers in multinational companies. The prevalence of stress in the workplace is evident, with a stress pulse survey reporting that 62% of employees experience high stress levels, leading to significant weariness. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that work-related stress costs global businesses approximately $300 billion annually in lost productivity. A global survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that work-related factors, including workload and deadlines, were the primary source of stress for employees across countries and industries. A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that employees in the banking sector reported significantly higher levels of job stress compared to workers in other industries, with work pressure identified as a major contributing factor.

Such stress has pervasive consequences, affecting mental and physical health, contributing to chronic diseases, and adversely impacting job performance. The financial sector, particularly the banking industry, faces excessive pressure, affecting staff performance and creating an environment where employees may feel undervalued.

The issue of work pressure is a widespread and pervasive concern that is present in professional environments globally, impacting workers in diverse sectors and job roles. The banking industry within the financial sector is a prominent case where there is a significant amount of pressure, leading to stress that negatively affects both the well-being of individuals and the performance of organisations. This pervasive problem is not limited but is instead a worldwide concern, having consequences that go beyond local borders.

The banking professionals in Nepal, like their counterparts globally, are trapped in an unyielding and rigid cycle of demanding work hours. Their duties cover a wide range of tasks including managing costs, ensuring efficient use of time, guaranteeing quality, and complying with safety regulations. At the same time, these experts deal with the challenging and changing environment of organisational reform, technological progress, and new work methods. The combination of these obstacles, which represents the ever-changing character of the sector, unavoidably fosters a high level of stress.

The consequence of high labour demands in the banking sector are significant, with stress emerging as a key adversary. The harmful effects of stress on mental well-being, combined with its ability to undermine job performance and reduce productivity, create a negative influence on the professional environment.

The term "operational risks" refers to possible dangers to a bank's operations, reputation, or financial stability that may arise from internal systems, processes, human mistake, or external events. These risks are wide-ranging and include fraud, both internal and external, difficulties with the law and compliance, problems with operations and business continuity, harm to one's reputation, technology vulnerabilities, and risks related to outsourcing and vendor relationships. Comprehensive risk assessment, strong internal controls, employee training, and continuing monitoring and mitigation initiatives are all necessary for the effective management of these risks. Banks use a range of risk management techniques, including risk assessment, measurement, oversight, and reporting, to reduce the negative effects of operational risks and protect their company operations and overall effectiveness.

“Stress management” is crucial for the Nepalese banking industry since it has a big impact on worker satisfaction and organisational performance. In this industry, stressors can include excessive workloads, strict deadlines, expectations from clients, and regulatory pressures. To lessen the negative effects of stress, such as lower productivity, employee burnout, absenteeism, and turnover, it is imperative to put effective stress management measures into practice. The banking industry in Nepal faces a number of challenges related to stress management. These include fostering a supportive work environment, giving employee assistance programmes, supplying tools for stress-reduction strategies like mindfulness or relaxation exercises, and encouraging work-life balance. Employees can also be empowered to manage stress well by encouraging open communication and offering training on coping strategies and stress awareness. Stress management is a key component that banks in Nepal may prioritise to improve overall organisational resilience, job happiness, and employee well-being.

The delicate relationship between "Operational Risks," "Stress Management," and "Employee Well-Being" is significant in the ever-changing banking industry. Operational hazards can cause employees' stress levels to rise, leading to tension and anxiety in the workplace. These risks might include everything from technical malfunctions to compliance barriers. As a result, efficient stress management programs—which include techniques like counselling services, training courses, and creating a positive work environment—become essential defence mechanisms against the negative impacts of these stresses. Banks may create a positive work atmosphere that supports employee well-being in addition to relieving immediate stresses by investing in stress management tools. Thus, stress management initiatives and employee well-being in the banking industry are mutually beneficial. This is demonstrated by the increased job satisfaction, lower attrition rates, and higher productivity levels that follow.

To summarise, the diverse experiences indicate that bank workers in Nepal's banking sector have heavy workloads in numerous performance areas, as well as prolonged and rigid working hours. Examining how operational hazards affect stress management and worker welfare in Nepal's banking industry is crucial. Overload, conflict in the workplace, and role uncertainty are among the risks. Understanding the relationship between an individual's job performance and workplace stress is also important in high-pressure industries like banking. There should be effective strategies to elucidate the distinct sources of stress encountered by banking professionals in Nepal, with the objective of enhancing stress management and fostering employee well-being within the banking business.

There are a number of practical tactics that can be used to reduce stress in Nepalese banking sector:

1. Training and Skill Development: Stress levels can be lowered and confidence levels raised by offering thorough training programmes that provide staff members the know-how to handle difficult work and high-pressure situations.

2. Supportive Organizational Culture: Stress can be decreased in employees by creating a supportive work atmosphere that values open communication, teamwork, and mutual support. This will make employees feel appreciated, respected, and less alone.

3. Wellness Initiatives: Employees can be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage stress and preserve a healthy work-life balance by having access to wellness programmes like mindfulness workshops, yoga classes, or mental health services.

4. Recognition and Appreciation: Stress levels can be decreased by encouraging employees' efforts and accomplishments with incentives, awards, or praise. This will also increase staff morale, motivation, and job satisfaction.

5. Flexible Work Arrangements: Employees can manage their workloads and personal commitments more effectively and experience less stress linked to work-life balance by implementing flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting choices or flexible hours.

6. Workload Management: It is possible to avoid burnout and promote sustainable performance by putting into practice strategies to reduce excessive workloads, such as delegation, task prioritisation, or realistic goal-setting.

7. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): An environment free from stress can be provided for workers by giving them access to mental health specialists, support hotlines, and confidential counselling services via EAPs.

8. Leadership Support and Communication: Stress reduction can be facilitated by encouraging leaders to show empathy, provide support, and communicate honestly with their teams. This fosters a sense of psychological safety and trust.

By putting these tactics into practice, banks in Nepal may better control worker stress, improve well-being, and foster a happy and productive workplace. Indeed, stress management is a widely discussed issue in the banking sector, yet it often receives inadequate attention. It is imperative for the banking sector in Nepal to contemplate the dynamics of stress management, which not only promotes employee well-being but also enhances the overall productivity of banks.

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