Our 4Cs ways of working starts with colleagues. We believe that engaged colleagues lead to happy customers so we are committed to investing in, developing and listening to our colleagues so they continue to contribute, thrive and be who they are.
Investing in and developing our Colleagues
The ability to deliver straightforward insurance comes from a high performing, dedicated and customer focused team. We invest in our colleagues and provide them with an environment in which they feel included, valued, empowered and able to reach their full potential. Attracting, recruiting and retaining talent is vitally important for us as we grow. Our agility, clear identity and 4Cs ways of working is why we stand out and what makes us who we are. Colleagues really like working at Hastings and feel they can truly be themselves and bring their personality to work. They feel supported, that there is a strong sense of team and a focus on getting it right for customers.
However, feedback from colleagues tells us that there are always things we could do better; for example, as a result of colleague feedback we’ve introduced significantly improved pensions, options to buy or sell up to 5 days holiday, more apprenticeships, opportunities to access Graduate programmes and a digital career builder tool that enables colleagues to be able to take ownership of their development at Hastings.
“My colleagues are of varying ages, backgrounds and nationalities, which is what initially attracted me to Hastings. I feel confident that I can be myself and look forward to coming to work each day.”
We believe every colleague can contribute to the success of the business. Accordingly, we recognise the hard work and dedication of our team by linking remuneration to personal performance in a way which does not compromise the impact on customer outcomes - we do not remunerate colleagues through sales incentives. Pay rates for all colleagues across the Group are in excess of statutory minimum requirements and roles are benchmarked to similar roles within financial services firms, using data from an external service provider. This way, we ensure that colleagues are fairly remunerated for their contribution to the success of the Group as a whole. The Group does not operate any zero hours or similar type of contracts for any colleagues. It will also not tolerate slavery and human trafficking within its business and supply chain. The full slavery statement can be found here.
Core health and lifestyle benefits for all colleagues include annual leave, pension, healthcare cash plan, income protection and life cover. Other benefits are available, either at no cost or at a colleague contribution relative to salary, and include access to a digital general practitioner, ability to buy or sell up to five days holiday a year, enhanced health insurance including dental and eye care, health assessments, childcare vouchers, Share Incentive Plan, and discounts and cashback at a large number of high street and online retailers, including Hastings Direct car and home insurance.
“Thanks for massively improving the company pension. It means a huge amount to many colleagues and is very much appreciated.”
We actively encourage personal development by offering a range of development options to build the capabilities of our teams for the future and encourage the behaviours needed to deliver our business strategy. In 2019 we conducted an extensive review of our learning and development offering to make sure it is fit for purpose and reflects our colleagues’ needs and those of our digital business. Along with induction, upskilling and on the job training requirements, the review also included looking at other development opportunities such as apprenticeships and digital learning. Colleagues told us that they would like to take ownership of their own learning and career development at Hastings so we launched our digital learning tool, CareerBuilder, giving all our colleagues access to a wealth of learning and development opportunities, anytime, anywhere. We increased our apprenticeship schemes too.
Here are some of our 2019 highlights:
- 1,220 colleagues have logged into our new digital learning tool, CareerBuilder and have accessed nearly 16,000 pieces of eLearning material;
- Customer facing colleagues completed over 37,000 hours of upskill training;
- Over 134,000 hours of induction training was delivered to new customer facing colleagues;
- In our annual engagement survey when asked about careers at Hastings:
– 76% of our colleagues said that they ‘know what skills they need to be successful’;
– 89% of colleagues agreed that they ‘understand how their role contributes to Hastings' success as a business’; and
– 70% of colleagues say they have received the training needed to perform the job they are doing.
- 50 colleagues enrolled on apprenticeship schemes in 2019 and we now have nearly 100 colleagues studying for professional qualifications in a range of subject areas across Finance, Underwriting Services, Retail Operations, Insurer Services, Human Resources, Actuarial and Information Technology.
“Although starting training in New Business, then Customer Service and lastly Renewals was scary, we were taught all the tools, skills and knowledge required and overall I have never been so prepared for starting a job – can’t thank you enough for the solid start you gave me in my career with Hastings.”
Listening and acting upon feedback
As we grow, it’s important that colleagues share how they feel about life at Hastings. Regular conversations allow us to listen and respond in the best possible way. We encourage two way feedback through a number of channels, including:Your Voice
Our annual engagement survey is designed to understand how colleagues feel about life at Hastings and what we do for our 4Cs. We then capture key themes raised by colleagues through company-wide and local action plans that feed through to 4Cs objectives so we can make improvements where necessary and, importantly, we can measure progress through the year. This gives us one view so we also regularly ask for colleagues to share their thoughts, ideas and frustrations through all of our communication channels to make sure we that we focus on things that are front of mind. We also run pulse surveys throughout the year to check in with our colleagues about communication, how they’re feeling or to get feedback on key initiatives. Some of the key changes we have made as a result of colleague feedback include improved learning and development tools, improved pension provision, benefits, career development, annual leave and removing single use plastic across our sites.Hastings Colleague Forum
Our colleague elected representatives from across the business meet monthly to discuss and consider issues impacting colleagues and the employment experience. They also regularly meet with senior management, and Board representatives to discuss key changes and to provide invaluable feedback and insight from their teams. The Chief Executive Officer, the Chair of the Board, a nominated Non-Executive Director and the Group HR Director make themselves available to attend meetings and enjoy a positive and constructive relationship with the forum. The colleague representatives are free to express themselves and their opinions. As a result of their input we have made some significant changes, ranging from improved benefits to simplified HR policies and processes. In October 2019 the HCF held its first AGM attended by colleague representatives from our Bexhill and Leicester sites. The agenda for the day included a range of topics including a business update, benefits consultation and an open session with senior leaders. The Group does not officially recognise a trade union preferring to engage with colleagues directly, either through their line manager, the HR function or the HCF. Colleagues are however free to join a union and be represented by a union member, as appropriate, should they choose to do so.
Examples of items discussed at the HCF:
- Benefits consultation – including formal consultation around the significant improvements we made to pension contributions for the majority of our colleagues
- Salary and bonus review consultation
- Business reorganisation consultation
- Colleague policy consultation
“One of my key highlights for 2019 as Chair of the Hastings Colleague Forum was our involvement in the recent formal pension consultation with senior leaders. With the HCF’s input we have helped shape a new and improved company pension provision that meets our colleagues’ needs and expectations and also makes us stand out as one of the few FTSE companies to harmonise and make pension improvements for the majority of colleagues not just the minority. The feedback from colleagues has been really positive.”
Our Wellbeing starts with Colleagues
Wellbeing at Hastings is a key part of our role as a responsible employer and we believe it has a positive impact on both our individual colleagues and the productivity and efficiency of our business. That’s why we created a comprehensive Wellbeing programme that is now in its third year providing colleagues with free support, education, information, courses, events and practical advice to help them feel healthier, happier and stronger, both inside and outside of the workplace. We also have a fantastic group of committed champions who are the mainstay of our Wellbeing programme, responsible for making sure that our colleagues are up to date on all things wellbeing - including mental health, physical health, environmental health and resilience. As well as advocating a healthy culture at Hastings, our champions promote mental health and wellbeing messages, education and events across the Group. They also support colleagues who may need wellbeing help and advice, making sure they have access to the right services to meet their needs.
Our aim for 2019 was to build on our strong foundation with an applied focus on mental health so we introduced mental health first aiders across our Bexhill and Leicester sites with the aim of normalising the conversations that our colleagues have about mental health in the workplace.
Our key highlights for 2019 include:
- We provided training to 28 of our Wellbeing champions who act as mental health first aiders at our Bexhill and Leicester sites to support with the Wellbeing programme’s mental health strategy. We also had the opportunity to invite various organisations to come and talk with our Wellbeing champions which have included Public Health England and Gamcare, one of the UK’s largest gambling charities;
- We won the Acts of Kindness in the Workplace award from LAMP, Leicestershire’s mental health charity;
- 39% of all colleagues attended our annual ‘Wellfest 2019’ event where suppliers and champions showcase what support, information and guidance there is on offer to colleagues. 100% of those who attended said it was a valuable use of their time; and
- In February 2019, we partnered with a new Employee Assistance Programme that colleagues and their dependents can access 24/7 to get advice on all sorts of topics from health to home to financial and legal. We’ve seen a 151% increase versus the 2018 number of colleagues using the service and 32% of all colleagues have utilised the services since launch.
“The openness around mental health, as well as highlighting its seriousness is something that makes Hastings stand out for me. Our Wellbeing programme and support offered to Colleagues is what Hastings is about. I know that if I’m in a period of crisis, I’d get the help or information I need from Hastings. I’d have no reservations about speaking to a colleague, from frontline up to senior leader level about any problems I might be facing in the workplace. The same cannot be said of other companies I’ve worked for previously.”
The Hastings Wellbeing programme includes:
- Confidential support via external service providers for a wide range of matters such as financial advice (loans and credit cards), initial legal advice, bereavement etc. as well as contact details for external charities and other support networks and organisations.
- Sleep awareness, physical, environmental and mental health awareness, migraine awareness, flu jabs, blood pressure and other health checks including diabetes.
- Family friendly workshops - designed to help colleagues and leaders understand the steps they both need to take before, during and after a period of extended leave. These are primarily aimed at colleagues taking maternity leave but also offer useful information for those taking other types of extended leave.
- Subsidised in-house restaurants at our locations in Bexhill and Leicester provide breakfast, lunch and dinner with an ethos of offering freshly made food using local ingredients.
Colleague feedback has resulted in improvements to the healthier options on offer including a wider range of salads, proteins and more vegetarian options and we’ve also significantly reduced single use plastic to introducing vegware cutlery and takeaway boxes.
“At the Colleague Roadshows in January, I asked Toby, our Group CEO and Carole Jones, our Group HR Director about development and progression for part-time Colleagues as my availability didn’t fit with training schedules and I felt it stunted my development opportunities. Carole met with me shortly after to discuss my thoughts and as a result I was asked to look at the new CareerBuilder digital tool that was being created to help colleagues develop when it suited them. Fast forward six months, and not only did I review the tool but I was invited to be part of the digital learning team presenting it at Wellfest to other colleagues. If I learned one thing from the experience it was to take responsibility and not be afraid to ask about the things that affect you – they may be affecting others as well and look what can be achieved as a result!”
We regularly recognise and reward the hard work and dedication our colleagues whether it’s just by saying thank you, awarding instant reward vouchers or by celebrating with them at our 4Cs Awards events or at other social events. We also use the 4Cs framework to recognise and thank colleagues for going the extra mile on a monthly and annual basis. Our 4Cs Awards programme offers colleagues the chance to nominate their team members for their achievements and in 2019 we had over 3,500 nominations. From those nominations, 112 colleagues made up the teams and individuals who were chosen as our overall winners of the seven categories, receiving their coveted awards at our annual 4Cs Awards black tie event.
Be who they are
Equal opportunities and human rights
We are committed to ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities at all stages of recruitment, selection and throughout their working careers. Shortlisting, interviewing and selection is carried out with neutral regard to disability, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief or age. Our approach to recruitment is to elicit candidates from as many different backgrounds as possible.
The Group has a responsibility to conduct its business in an ethical and transparent way. Accordingly, we adhere to a set of business principles which include a commitment to human rights principles. The Group has policies in place to support these principles which include non-discrimination, health and safety, anti-bribery, human slavery and trafficking and environmental issues. We maintain a zero tolerance approach to bribery, corruption and anti-slavery.
To support and guide our colleagues in the work place the Group has policies in place ranging from discrimination and anti-bullying, diversity and inclusion, to stress management and flexible working practices that drive the right behaviours to recognise and develop all colleagues. These policies are an effective way to ensure that all colleagues understand their rights and to reinforce the appropriate behaviours. Regular training and awareness, not only on policies and work practices, but also wellbeing and health are provided throughout the year. Mandatory training is required for all colleagues to ensure that they are aware of company policies, the company’s values and legislative requirements. Our training courses cover data protection, information security, anti-fraud, anti-money laundering, anti-corruption and bribery, customer experience, complaint handling and vulnerable customers, to name but a few. Training outcomes are monitored and remedial training is provided as appropriate.