ESG: Valuing our colleagues

Our business performance and our customers’ experience depend on the ability to attract, develop and retain talented individuals at all levels, with diverse skills, perspectives and backgrounds.

Our colleagues are critical to every aspect of our strategy and we committed to supporting them through developing skills and capability, building a diverse and inclusive business, and supporting colleague wellbeing.

We are committed to workplace diversity and to cultivating, fostering and preserving a culture of inclusion. We know that bringing our diverse backgrounds, cultures and perspectives together is the best way to deliver the best outcomes for our colleagues, customers, the communities we serve and the company.

Development

Our business and our industry is evolving and we need to look continuously at what critical skills our people need to ensure we have the organisational capability to succeed now, and that we are investing in developing the skills we will need in the future. There are three components to our colleague development offering:

Early careers

Our early careers strategy focuses on developing new skills through structured learning whilst practically applying newly acquired skills in different entry level roles across the organisation.  We have graduate schemes running in some functional areas, school leaver programmes in our Pricing and Analytics teams and, in 2020, we have launched a series of apprentice schemes for both existing and new colleagues.

Role based development

We actively encourage personal development by offering a range of role-based progression schemes. We currently run two schemes across our customer-facing teams, supporting colleagues to develop through a structured career path and remuneration progression. A similar approach is being developed in our technical teams, such as IT and Analytics, to build greater expertise and proficiency in the core skills needed for our future.  To support both role based and broader personal development, we launched our digital learning tool, CareerBuilder, in September 2019. Since CareerBuilder’s launch, almost 2,500 colleagues have accessed our online training modules with over 50,000 log-ins.

Leadership development

We recognise the critical role our leaders play in developing our colleagues so that they are able to deliver for our customers. In 2020 we have taken a more structured approach to developing our leadership colleagues and launched a Frontline Leadership Development Programme for 100 leaders; this will be implemented our broader leadership community throughout 2021.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing is a key part of our role as a responsible employer and we believe it has a positive impact on both our colleagues and the productivity and efficiency of our business. Supported by 79 Wellbeing Champions and 40 Mental Health First Aiders, our extensive programme offers helps colleagues feel healthier, happier and stronger.

We want every colleague to have the opportunity to achieve their full potential whilst putting their wellbeing at the heart of everything they do. The aim is to help colleagues live healthy and happy lives, both inside and outside of work.

With that objective in mind, we created a comprehensive Wellbeing Programme that is now in its fourth year that has continued to provide our colleagues with 24/7 help and support with mental, physical, financial and social wellbeing.

This was made possible by giving colleagues the opportunity to attend various wellbeing workshops and establishing new partnerships with, amongst others, financial wellbeing support providers, and access to a mental health app.

The Wellbeing Programme includes:

  • Various awareness and educational wellbeing initiatives throughout the year.
  • Access to a vast library of wellbeing support and information to help Colleagues live a healthy and happy life.
  • Personalised financial support from our new financial wellbeing partner.
  • Access to our Colleague Assistance Programme, which also has a free app for colleagues to access a range of webinars, factsheets and four-week programs to support their and their dependents’ wellbeing needs.
  • Access to a mental health app, which supports colleagues’ mental health.
  • 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.
  • Subsidised in-house restaurants at our locations in Bexhill and Leicester that provide breakfast, lunch and dinner with an ethos of offering freshly made food using local ingredients.

Our Mental Health Digital Learning module also helps support colleagues and leaders spot the early signs of adverse mental health within others, providing tips and coping strategies on how best to approach and support those who may be struggling, and understanding coping strategies available both inside and outside of Hastings.

Activity in 2020

A monthly wellbeing survey was introduced to capture how colleagues were feeling which allowed us to focus on areas of wellbeing that were most important to them.

We produced many support guides for colleagues which included ‘How to work from home remotely and look after your wellbeing’ and ‘Supporting parents who have children returning back to school’ amongst many other wellbeing topics.

We continued to invest in our growing network of Wellbeing Champions and Mental Health First Aiders with the aim of allowing them to understand what tools and resources are available to provide colleague with advice.

We supported many wellbeing initiatives during the year, including World Sleep Day, Stress Awareness Month, World Suicide Prevention Day and Migraine Awareness Week. Our colleagues helped to produce our ‘Be Kind’ video in support of Mental Health Awareness Week as well as the wellbeing ‘It Begins With Me’ campaign which was shared to mark World Mental Health Day.

We continued to run our Menopause Café’s virtually and over 770 colleagues took advantage of a free flu vaccination voucher.

Since April, c.1,050 colleagues have attended a mental health workshop, helping teams and colleagues to look out for each other in case anybody is struggling with a mental health issue and help to signpost them to the correct support and help.

Diversity and inclusion

Doing the right thing for our 4Cs starts with our colleagues. We want to make sure we remain a place where all colleagues can contribute, thrive and be who they are, and to create a culture where every colleague feels that they belong. 

We encourage our colleagues to be themselves in the workplace, because respecting diversity of thinking, and appreciating different perspectives, strengthens the way we work. This helps us to deliver better outcomes for our colleagues, customers and the communities that we serve.

We regularly monitor all aspects of colleague diversity across the business. We consider candidates from all backgrounds as part of any recruitment process and we are dedicated to attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion has been further embedded this year with the creation of a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion Manager role and by developing a strategy to further enhance and guide our approach to diversity and inclusion. In addition 14 colleagues from across the business formed our new Inclusion Council, to push boundaries and highlight things that need to change and evolve with the aim of making Hastings an even more inclusive place to work.  

We have highlighted many important days throughout 2020, including:

  • In March, we celebrated International Women's day to recognise the achievements of women and to support the call to action for gender equality.
  • In September, we celebrated national inclusion week, where colleagues were given the opportunity to say what inclusion meant to them, and hosted small discussion groups about subjects that colleagues felt passionately about.
  • In September and October we celebrated Black History Month by sharing colleague stories and heritage, and what black history meant to them.
  • In December we celebrated International Day of People with Disabilities, by sharing colleague stories about invisible disabilities which are not always immediately apparent have effected them.

Following the events in the USA and across the world involving racism and prejudice, every Colleague was invited to have discussions around race. We worked with experts to shape our initial discussion, which was open for all colleagues to attend, followed by a series of confidential small group conversations, with the aim of listening to colleagues and allowing all voices to be heard. We shared a toolkit to support our colleagues and leaders to have ongoing meaningful and constructive conversations about race as a starting point to drive change.

We continue to be signatories of the Women in Finance Charter supporting the progression of women into senior roles in the financial services sector by focusing on the executive pipeline and the mid-tier level. We are also signatories to the 30% Club and have met our commitment of having women in 30 percent of senior leadership positions ahead of our 2020 target.

We are proud to have partnered with Carers UK this year, which enabled us to provide our colleagues and leaders with free online support and resources, and helped us establish a network of carer ambassadors. Our Carer Ambassadors are colleagues from across the business, trained by the Care for Carers charity, to help our colleagues who have caring responsibilities. They can support and guide carer colleagues and their leaders to relevant information.

At the end of the 2020, we were delighted to be recognised in the 2020-21 Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers league table, placing us alongside other leading organisations working hard to promote diversity and inclusion for all.

Pam Angel, Group HR Director, said: “Recognition of the progress we are making in this area is great, particularly in a year where diversity and inclusion has featured so heavily in the public arena. This accolade is testament to our colleagues and the 4Cs culture that we are all part and proud of; it represents a strong foundation for us to build on. We will use this momentum to continue engaging our colleagues, leaders and our Inclusion Council to embed an inclusive approach in all areas of our business practice

Paul Sesay, Inclusive Companies CEO & Founder commented: “This isn't simply about building a list, but about recognising organisations who are brave and innovative, and see diversity and inclusion as a smart way to grow their business; and we are thrilled to showcase your organisation as one of the UK’s most inclusive employers."