Sophie tells us about her development journey so far with Hastings Direct and her plans for the future.
I'm originally from Doncaster but I moved to Leicester in 2014 to start university where I graduated with a 2:1 (BA Hons) in Policing Studies (Practice) in 2017. I then started my journey working for Hastings Direct in September of the same year, where I joined the renewals department. I have now worked here for nearly two years. During this time, I have built my own brand and got involved in many new challenges which has enabled me to enhance my skillset and has led to me undertaking a new role as a New Business Review agent in our Counter Fraud department.
I started as a customer service/renewals agent and I was trained on both car and bike policies. When I joined Hastings, I was originally only trained on our call centre software, CDL and around 10 months ago I was then upskilled onto our new software, Guidewire. After having this training, I thought it was about time I built my own brand and networked as I was ready to take on a new challenge and was looking for a promotion. I started coaching in my own time, allowing me to get to know the academy leaders and other coaches and before long, I was offered a role to step-up as team leader for two weeks. This was an amazing experience, although challenging and one I was selected for due to the fact I had made myself known. Within six months, I was awarded colleagues' colleague twice before winning the annual award for colleagues' colleague earlier this year. I then applied for the talent pool to step in as Team Leader as and when needed and to be a New Business Review (NBR) Agent within Counter Fraud and was fortunate enough to be offered both. I have chosen to take the role of NBR agent as this is a brand new area and I hope that eventually it will lead me to working in claims fraud. Whilst awaiting to start my new role, I was also selected to be a performance coach in academy with our new Guidewire retention upskills and I am enjoying every minute of it.
My biggest support has to be my manager Abdul. Abdul recently took over as our leader and since then he has done nothing but believe in me and my capabilities and has allowed me to gain an enormous amount of experience and skill. I can't thank him enough for all he has done. Alongside Abdul, my original manager Emma has also supported me and provided me with a lot of knowledge and skill. In addition, my colleagues and other managers have all supported me in my decisions and made me want to constantly strive to achieve more.
In terms of future development, I would love to work in claims fraud or even our special investigations unit as this is relatable to my degree and something I have a huge interest in and passion for. I would hope to progress to management level as I feel I have developed so many skills that would allow me to achieve this.
Networking has a huge influence on you achieving what you want at Hastings. It is important to get yourself known and to develop relationships with people who can help you progress. Also, a willingness to spend your own time shadowing different departments or just volunteering is vital as this allows you to gain experience and knowledge which will make you stand out from the rest.
The main reason I love working at Hastings is the people and the atmosphere. Having previously worked in only smaller teams, when I first joined Hastings it was a bit of a shock but I instantly felt at ease. Working at Hastings is like having one large extended family and it was the best decision I made. You are also constantly made to feel like you are doing a great job. In terms of rewards, the recognition scheme is excellent makes you constantly strive to achieve more.
I would say if you are thinking of joining Hastings, DO as you won’t regret it. This is a company that genuinely cares about their colleagues and has their colleagues at the heart of all they do. I mean it's not very often you get to have a coffee and catch up with a CEO in such a large business but that is something Hastings offers, showing that even those in a higher rank take into consideration those of us who are at the heart of the business.
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The shifts in customer service teams are quite colleague friendly. There is free tea and coffee in the call centre, and a subsidised Costa Coffee and canteen. There are lots of incentives to earn more, and a decent social life.
It has a really positive environment with everyone who works there being very helpful. The managers really do go out of their way to assist you. There are a lot of benefits and rewards at Hastings Direct which if you are doing well are quite easy to achieve.
There is a well-rounded approach to the wellbeing of all colleagues, including an inclusive approach to wellbeing activities. Hastings Direct aims to roundly develop colleagues and set them up for future careers within the company.
There is a wonderful work environment, with a strong sense of team work which purveys throughout the business. And there is a sense of friendly competition which works to heighten this.
As an employer, Hastings Direct offers a lot of company benefits to all employees which are fantastic and I feel this is quite unique. The company culture is inclusive and encourages everyone to participate in local causes.
All employees are well looked after, respected and recognised for the hard work we do for the company. It is a great experience to be working with such amazing team. It much easier for me to balance my work and personal life.
It’s a great place to work with amazing benefits, support and colleagues. Lots of hands on support. Amazing rewards for achieving targets and also plenty of time to get together as a team outside of work and bond with your colleagues.
The company culture, management structure and general atmosphere is really good. The share scheme and Hastings Direct rewards are also fantastic for staff.