Fast forward just a few months and that virus became the Covid-19 pandemic that went on to shut down the entire country and practically the world. To its credit, Just Mortgages identified that greater support was needed to help brokers through such a stressful time.
As a trainer and mental health first aider, it was my task to look at our wellbeing approach and how training could be improved. We had a good foundation through our employee assistance programme and our partnership with Health Assured. This gave brokers a confidential service to access specialist support whenever they needed it. However, the service wasn’t well known to brokers, so our first job was publicising this and its many benefits.
In the meantime, Just Mortgages continued to grow the self-employed division and Just Wealth launched later that same year.
There was a clear gap for self-employed advisers, so we worked closely with the provider to launch an individual assistance programme to allow those in the two remaining divisions to access the same level of independent support.
With both programmes continuing to deliver real value for brokers and the pandemic now seemingly behind us, it would have been very easy to say our work was done. However, the trends were telling us that brokers still needed extra support and highlighted areas such as stress, anxiety and loneliness as key challenges.
So alongside our third-party support network, we launched comprehensive wellbeing training through our digital ‘My Learning Space’ platform. This consists of 24 modules covering all areas of mental health and wellbeing support including modules on stress, depression and anxiety – which is the most accessed among our brokers. These are all available online whenever they are needed.
The most recent module provides menopause support, which is too often underserved as it’s unfairly seen as a taboo subject. It covers how it works, the impact and the support that is available pre-menopause, during menopause and also for partners too. This includes support from Health Assured as part of our programmes.
The initial feedback so far has been incredibly positive.
We’re now in a really healthy position where everyone through the door receives wellbeing training as part of their induction, as well as management and business principles. This is critical as it gives these principal brokers the necessary skills to spot signs within their own teams and to act accordingly.
After all, good health and wellbeing can be a core enabler of both adviser and business performance.
Rather than a fluffy subject or a hangover from Covid, we must make sure that wellbeing remains a core pillar of learning and development.
In truth, the current market conditions make wellbeing support as vital as it’s ever been. Volatile demand, complex cases and drawn-out transaction times are still a great source of stress, tension and anxiety for brokers. That’s not even considering the financial implications facing brokers with fewer completion cycles and their own cost of living pressures.
In addition to accessing support with their own financial wellbeing, brokers also need to stay close to clients as they feel the pressures of higher living costs and a higher interest rate environment.
As part of the holistic approach that make brokers so valuable to borrowers, our focus on financial wellbeing identifies the support available from each of our lenders and providers, enabling brokers to signpost clients much more effectively and nurture long lasting relationships.
We’ve been encouraged by the appetite for the available support, with engagement and activations increasing with every new module launched. Rather than just ‘drop and go’ or death by PowerPoint, we’re constantly looking to innovate and identify needs to expand the service further and ensure it makes a difference.
After all, a team of happy and healthy brokers is good news for all involved.