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HR Excellence Awards 2012 – Best Talent Management Strategy: Hastings Direct


Having doubled its customer base in two years, insurer Hastings Direct was faced with a sore need to attract and retain talent. It was time to turn the focus to developing a talent management strategy that could enable the business to maximise the potential of the most skilled.

Thus, 'Hastings Way Forward' was born. The programme had many challenging objectives: to fill first line manager and other roles from within; to establish a talent pool to secure future growth; to establish Hastings Direct as an employer of choice; to retain talent; to improve the performance of its people to deliver high customer satisfaction; and to increase employee engagement.

The Hastings Way Forward framework defines 'outstanding' not just by how employees perform against targets, but how they demonstrate the Hasting values.

Staff can also be nominated to progress through the talent programme by their line manager or nominate themselves. The nine-month programme comprises workshops, in-business learning, assessments and accreditation, while content ranges from self-awareness to project management skills. It includes a business challenge to solve and it emphasises self-directed learning, accountability and self reliance.

Since launching, 82% of participants in the programme have progressed into new or more senior roles and management roles are now filled internally 80% of the time. Some 66% of participants say they are less likely to leave the firm following the programme.

Moreover, 100% feel their performance has improved, 92% have a greater understanding of the business and engagement scores are at an all-time high. Hastings has saved an average of £1,300 per role by recruiting internally - a saving of £94,500 per annum. ROI per annum is a staggering 1,929%, Hastings says.

Judges loved the fact that the talent strategy was designed and implemented in-house, to ensure it was appropriate for Hastings Direct's people and properly aligned to the business. Judges said it pulled the whole organisation up, rather than "selecting the elite in smoke-filled rooms". Overall, the panel felt this was a clear talent strategy, backed by a strong business case and with board-level buy-in.

Highly Commended


For UK law firm, DWF, launching a talent programme in December 2010 was a way of differentiating it from the rest of the sector, while supporting its retention and succession plans, linking to the people aspects of the business planning process and enabling the firm to invest in and nurture high potentials.

But it was not all about promotion: a fifth of candidates are seeking development alone. Judges loved the tangible impact of the strategy, backed with plenty of evidence and a clear business case.

"It is ahead of the sector," said one.


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