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During Mental Health Awareness Week, we asked our Wellbeing Manager Mark to share his career journey since joining the Hastings Direct HR team several years ago, along with the important impact our wellbeing programme has had on the Hastings ‘family’ since its launch in 2017. 

An easy decision to make
Joining Hastings was an easy decision. I started my journey with Hastings as an HR Advisor nine years ago, which – as you can imagine – was a very different company back then. My background was in hospitality and then supermarkets, which stood me in good stead for working in a busy call centre environment. As time went on, I grew to know the leadership team well and the challenges they were facing. I was seeing a rise in the number of mental health conversations they were having, yet Leaders were not very well equipped to deal with mental health and I wanted to do more to help and support them.

I was part of a trial in 2015 where we provided wellbeing support to colleagues and leaders – the feedback was very positive, and it was evident that there was a need to provide more wellbeing information and support. When the decision was taken to introduce a wellbeing programme in 2017, the role seemed a natural progression for me.

I’m really proud to be working within the HR team at Hastings
Working at Hastings is like being part of a big family – I have, and continue to make, great friends and the relationships I have forged over the years will be with me for years to come. I have made some strong connections both personally and professionally that go way beyond our work and it’s something I value very much.

As the pandemic hit last year, isolating was challenging for a lot of us as we adjusted to the new norm and those relationships became more crucial than ever. I visited the office last December and it confirmed that it’s the people that make Hastings – the building simply felt like a shell. Not many companies the size of ours can boast that.

It’s not been an easy 12 months but if anything, it’s brought the HR team even closer together. They’ve supported me with my proposals (no matter how bizarre they can be!) and their trust in me to deliver an ever-evolving wellbeing programme means a lot. Even though this time every year some of them are reluctant to get involved in my Eurovision paraphernalia!

Wellbeing has been at the top of everyone’s agenda 
There are so many reasons why Hastings is a great place to work. Having an established wellbeing programme must be a good thing, as more and more of our workforce are utilising the offering to live a healthy life, both in and outside of the workplace. Over the past 12 months, our work patterns were forced to change, the boundaries between home and life became blurred, our support systems were shut down overnight – the list could go on. But the wellbeing programme was there to support. All of these factors sent the topic of workplace wellbeing to the top of everyone’s agenda. Reading the comments shared by colleagues during various surveys, hearing how they felt and the benefit of understanding that they’re listened too, has made me proud to work for a company that puts its workforce first.

There are a number of projects that the wellbeing programme is currently working on, which will hopefully support those who need help the most. We’ll be improving access to wellbeing content to make it even easier for those looking for information they need, plus our Wellfest event returns in June, as a different concept to previous years. In the lead up to the government’s 21st June milestone, we’re collaborating with the business to host a three-day virtual event, including many of our wellbeing providers, to talk about subjects that mean something to all of our colleagues – with some fun added in.

The wellbeing programme is there for colleagues right from the start
Many companies talk about supporting their employees’ wellbeing when they advertise roles and during inductions, – playing a degree of lip service to wellbeing and the reality can be quite different. At Hastings we do things slightly differently. The wellbeing programme is there for colleagues right from the start – our aim is to provide ‘in the moment’ support through various channels when colleagues need it the most. By joining Hastings, you are joining a big family that looks out for each other and one that signposts the help and support at the moments in our lives when we need it the most.

Join us: If you’re looking to be part of a team working together to support each other as well as our customers, come join us!


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