A little background

We started working with Hastings Direct in 2017. At which point we researched, designed and delivered a new employer proposition that underpinned all of their employer brand, marketing and communications. The next five years saw the ‘Clearly Hastings Direct’ identity rolled out across their internal and employer communications. And pick up a hatful of industry awards.

Roll forward to 2022, and Hastings Direct asked us to help them revisit and refresh their employer proposition. Working closely with the talent acquisition, brand and marketing teams we reviewed the initial research, reviewed the output, augmented it with additional insight and developed a new set of proposition pillars. And then we worked with the team to develop and roll out a new employer identity.

The guiding principles

What Hastings Direct were looking for was an employer proposition and identity that:

  • Represented the culture of today’s Hastings Direct
  • Would resonate with job seekers across customer, financial and professional services
  • Was less ‘fun and quirky’ and more ‘warm and professional’
  • Was centred on the people who work at Hastings Direct
  • Could be easily adapted to the media that it is being delivered on

Ultimately, a key objective of the new proposition is to attract, engage and retain better people. So (in the short term) the success of the project would be judged on whether there was a clear rise in traffic to the Hastings Direct careers website, an increase in applications received by the recruitment team. As well as positive feedback from applicants, a noticeable impact on their employee engagement survey scores, and anecdotal feedback from line managers.

The research

Hastings Direct identified three core audiences – customer, financial and corporate services. These were then further segmented into 15 key employment groups. It was these groups that provided the essential insight into what makes Hastings Direct a great place to work. To help identify the common themes that are universally experienced by everyone who works there.

Online surveys gave us a great starting point. But it was the focus groups and executive interviews that provided us with valuable insight. Insight that we could turn into meaningful employer marketing messages. That we could develop an overall employer proposition around. That we could adjust depending on which key employment group we were talking to. Something that would have real impact.

The proposition pillars

What quickly became clear though was that different themes resonated well with different areas of the business. These key themes, or proposition pillars, became our main focus as we developed the overall proposition. Knowing that we could ‘dail up’ or ‘dial down’ these key themes depending on the target audience that Hastings Direct were looking to engage.

Our success is built on trust

We’re an agile business

Supporting people is in our nature

As we grow, you’ll grow

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The creative execution

Throughout the research it was highlighted that great people at Hastings Direct have a ‘certain something’ about them. Something indescribable, but instantly recognisable. That they had a manner, approach or personality that was ‘simply Hastings Direct in nature’. And that those people flourish in the working environment offered by the business. It was a happy coincidence that the new Hastings Direct advertising campaign was just about to launch with the line, “Simplicity is the best policy”.

And so the ‘Simply Hastings Direct’ employer proposition was born. A bold, brash and brave colour palette helps the marketing stand out. A roll call of over 25 Hastings Direct colleagues, where their workplace ‘super power’ is highlighted below their name. And a supporting message that relates to a specific business message, team or the medium the line is appearing on.

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The careers website

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression, so the new Hastings Direct website has been designed not only to be interesting and informative, but to have a real, lasting impact on the job seeker. To position them as an employer of choice to a wide range of financial and corporate services professionals, as well as those fantastic people who work in customer service. The result is the new Hastings Direct careers website.

Find out more

Story-driven content

Hastings Direct has a fantastic story to tell. And nobody tells it better than their colleagues. It’s why we’ve placed them at the centre of every aspect of the website. They feature on every page, blog or job and, of course, in every piece of video. Each major section of the website has a hero film. Where people share their thoughts on the Hastings Direct story, their purpose, work, teams and benefits. As well as offering an insight into living and working in Bexhill-on-Sea, Leicester and London.

Playing an important role in this is their blog. A platform for the team to showcase their expertise, knowledge leadership, culture and their colleague’s personal experiences of working at Hastings Direct. The blog is a central part of their ‘social media for employer branding’ strategy. And in many cases a blog article is the landing page of a new visitor to the Hastings Direct Careers website. A visitor who is attracted as much by the Hastings Direct story as by their brand.

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The results (so far)

Having re-launched in December 2022 the Simply Hastings Direct proposition and careers website are still quite new, but we can already see some very encouraging trends. All data covers the three-month period from 1st December to 31st January, and has been taken from Google Analytics, the Workday ATS and directly from the Hastings Direct resourcing team.

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increase in average page views (per month)

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increase in average pages viewed per visit (per month)

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increase in applications (per month)

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increase in hires (per month)

The final word

“We’re extremely proud of both our employer proposition and careers website. While the look and feel supports the new ‘Simply Hastings Direct’ employer brand, the content and functionality was designed specifically to meet the needs and expectations of the modern job seeker. Easy access to the information they are looking for, content that helps them get a great feel for Hastings Direct and an enjoyable user experience has all led to a marked increase in high-quality applications.

We have transformed our operating model as a recruitment team and our messaging and the structure of the careers website directly reflects this. Offering each member of the team the opportunity to ‘own’ and manage their section of the website – to build on the content already in place, add more stories, more films and more reasons to join Hastings Direct.”

Diane Rysdale, Head of Recruitment