Penny Cuthbert, Group Planning & Corporate Projects Director tells us about her role within IT and shares her aspirations for Hastings Direct and her team. Could you be interested in being a part of this team’s bright future?
I’ve worked in technology since joining the graduate programme at Accenture directly out of university. During my consulting career, I worked for clients all over the UK as well as a 3 year secondment to PwC’s Toronto office. Other than learning about moose, poutine, where to watch Six Nations rugby over breakfast and how to survive Canadian winters; I also enjoyed the opportunity to broaden my industry experience as in the UK I had mostly focused on public sector and government clients. Both during and following my secondment, I worked on outsourcing or application selection projects for Insurance, Telco, a Uranium mine, an Oil company, and a pharmaceutical firm amongst others. This taught me much on how my skills as a change & technology professional are adaptable to most industries as much of the same challenges are faced across the board.
I left London and consulting when I met and married my husband as the travel schedule wasn’t in keeping with my new need for more of a balance to home life. I joined Tesco.com in their Transformation Office shortly after they launched a new e-commerce technology platform and supported their move to agile delivery. Another house move followed, as my family called me to East Sussex and after a break to pack and unpack boxes, I started at Expedia Affiliate Network on a contract. I enjoyed my time there, supporting in setting up a programme & portfolio management methodology and working with an amazing global team of people. My next contract was closer to home, and I joined Hastings Direct in October 2014. Originally on a 6 month contract to conduct a piece of work on project assurance, I liked it so much I stayed.
My role in the IT & Change team at Hastings Direct is focused on application and project delivery. The team encompass many roles, Business Analysts, Project managers, QA, Development, Application Support, Scrum Masters and Architects. We are responsible for our policy and claims administration systems, the Hastings Direct website, MyAccount customer portal and the mobile App to name a few. As the wider organisation strategy is focused on both data and digital, the IT & Change teams are pivotal in delivering on that strategy. It makes for a challenging and rewarding pace of change delivery, as well as lots of opportunity to progress as an individual or a team.
The strategic focus on data and digital is exciting for a change & technology professional. We are engaging in some really transformational programmes that are founded in what technology can do for the wider organisation.
I think if someone is keen to stretch and grow in their career, enjoying variety and challenge, then Hastings Direct offers a great place to work and thrive. We follow scaled agile in the change teams, meaning we work collaboratively where all team members have an equal voice and contribute to the outcomes for the team. Although we are based in Bexhill on Sea, we are looking to recruit into our London office for specific roles and skill sets which has hopefully broadened our geographic appeal.
If you would like to find out more about the opportunities in our IT team, click here
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.