Key Group focuses on helping over-55s finance a better retirement by enabling them to access the wealth tied up in their homes.
The group includes one of the UK’s largest equity release advisors (Key), a top UK equity release provider (more2life), one of the leading later life sourcing/support systems (AiR Group), as well as one of the sector’s biggest referral services (Key Partnerships).
Key Group has won over 100 awards and its advice arm has gained over 15,000 Trustpilot reviews.
Launching as one of the UK’s first equity release (ER) advice firms in 1998, the group has since unveiled several new brands and initiatives, including Key Partnerships, its estate planning team and more2life. In 2017, Key Group was sold, which is when Simon Thompson, the former CFO, took over as Group CEO and set about building a strong new leadership team.
In May 2018, the group acquired a stake in AiR Group, and, in October 2020, its advice arm (Key) split to provide customers with the choice between fee-free or whole of market advice.
With now over 500 colleagues, Key Group’s culture is driven by its ASPIRE values (ambitious, supportive, personal, act with integrity and be responsive and expert). Teams are expected to ASPIRE to be the best they can and these values impact on all aspects of work life – from customer interaction to end-of-year reviews. The company offers a benefits package including pension, holiday purchase, mental health support, training/development opportunities, a charity committee and access to PMI.
“Against the back drop of a difficult year when our focus was very much on supporting partners, customers and colleagues, we are delighted that our hard work was recognised with a Best Companies accreditation. Moving from being ‘one to watch’ to being awarded a 1 star accreditation is a significant achievement which shows just how seriously we take workplace engagement – especially as the current pandemic saw a significant change in how we operate and a move to having the majority of colleagues working from home. We look forward to analysing the results more closely and considering how we can make more real improvements to how we develop and support our team” Alison Longley, HR Director
Key Group held manager focus groups to understand the issues faced with managing teams that are either completely remote, at home or in the office. Once they were aware of the challenges, which were mainly around supporting the wellbeing and motivation of colleagues, Key Group provided individual coaching and mentoring. Line managers were encouraged to regularly arrange phone or video calls with their team members to check in on them and have a chat.
Key Group has taken an active interest in the wellbeing of all their colleagues and, in particular, has encouraged anyone with questions or concerns to reach out to appointed mental health first aiders or via its Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) if they do not want to discuss their situation with their manager or HR. They launched a webinar on how to manage both stress during lockdown and working from home, and have refreshed their bereavement policy to extend company-supported leave. Key Group also launched a sabbatical policy, following feedback from colleagues that this could be a supportive measure to help. Zoom quizzes also became popular on a Friday afternoon to engage and interact with colleagues from home.
When the Government imposed the first lockdown in March 2020,Key Group successfully moved 97 per cent of their colleagues to working from home over a period of 10-days. This was a significant achievement for a company, which has a significant head office presence and a national face-to-face adviser sales force. They saw increased reliance on systems such as Zoom and Slack, as well as the adaption of internal processes to suit the new working environment. To facilitate this, over 60 laptop computers and 60 phones were quickly purchased, uploaded with the required software and distributed to colleagues.
Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here
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