This year’s Talkback survey opens next Monday, 4 September, until Friday 22 September.

It’s my first one as our Co-op’s Chief Executive and it’s really important to me to find out how you feel about working here – what we’re doing well and what we need to do better.

This year we’re focusing on what makes a really great colleague experience. The questions will ask about the everyday behaviours and actions of our leaders and colleagues, whether you feel proud to work here, and your working environment.

We know you liked the shorter survey last year, so we’ve kept it brief again. It will only take around 10-15 minutes to complete. Filling it in is optional, but I really hope you do.

After a successful trial-run last year, it’s also the first year that the survey will be run completely online.

I’d like to personally assure you that your feedback is completely confidential and managed by our survey provider, Karian & Box. No-one at the Co-op will see your individual feedback, so please feel free to be open and honest in your responses.

I’ll be encouraging all my leaders to take action on what their teams say and I’ll be asking them for updates on the progress they’re making. Your feedback is important and really will make a difference.

Thank you for playing your part in making our Co-op a great place to work.


Join the conversation! 269 Comments

  1. Found out this year that most of the people who work for Funeralcare are of the older generation and are against computers……. When asked if they wanted to fill out Talkback all I got was ‘nah your alright’ That was from about 8 colleagues from just one area!! I gather this is a common theme in Funeralcare as the majority of colleagues are at pensionable age or above!!

    • Dear The_Guru. I think you’ll find that your facts are incorrect as My Colleagues at Funeralcare are not all of pensionable age and above there are more than 3/4 of them under the age of 50 and as that might be old to you they still have at least 20 years left in them and most of them have probably been in Funeral care longer than you have been on this earth and have that much experience. The reason most of them don’t fill in Talk back is because they don’t have time to get on computers as they are out caring for Our Deceased. As for computers and digital that’s because we are worried its impersonal. Regards 55year old.

  2. There is a very simple solution for avoiding exploitation of colleagues who work through lunch. Just restore the “paid break” pay code in TARA. Most colleagues don’t take their 2 x15 mins but do take their 30 mins. Since they’ve only taken 30 mins which they are entitled to paid, it seems rather unfair to rob them for the other 30 mins which they didn’t take. Stop being so cheap Co-Op or are you trying to give Sports Direct a run for its money?

  3. We didn’t even get our result last year but I will assume it was negative given that this year our surveys had to be filled out under manager supervision, before he was seen completing the surveys on behalf of absent staff.

    What happens if your response rate is over 100%?

    If ‘No-one at the Co-op will see your individual feedback’ then how will anything change?

    Seems like another completely pointless waste of time if you ask me, however I do have an open mind if you can convince me otherwise…

    • Hi, I’m concerned to read this, Talkback should be filled in confidentially. If your manager has insisted they were there while you fill it please do raise this immediately with the HR team so this can be looked into, especially regarding your manager filling it in on behalf of colleagues. If you don’t raise this with HR this can’t be looked into. Manager do not see individual surveys, but they get given an overview of all the surveys from their team. Not allowing managers to see individual surveys stops the ability to be able to identify colleagues based on their comments. ^Catherine

      • @co-op colleagues

        Its common practice in most stores. I have just lost an excellent manager who always told us to be honest regardless. However the message that is passed down from above is we need good engagement scores and a full response. We have been directed to coach our teams through talkback. I have had a conversation with a few people in the last week where they were more worried about the score than they were about how the team feels to be working for the co-op. If the staff were left to be completely honest without fear of the reprisals you would maybe get a more accurate reflection of the feeling amongst the thousands you have on your payroll.

        Just by reflecting on this feed alone, you can see the ill feeling and unrest is quite worrying and yet from what I can read still no response from the powers that be. When the results roll out, I fear they will not match with mood on the ground.

        It’s just so sad to read

      • Thank you for your reply.

        I am averse to sending a complaint to HR given I feel that too would be pointless. I heard today however that the Talkback result affects the store manager bonus. Please could you confirm if this is true or not and this will decide whether or not we proceed with a formal complaint.


    • OMG! at least with a paper version sent to your home address this kind of practice could not happen

      there has to be a way to prevent this kind of behaviour

    • Nothing happens if response rate is over 100% .
      I’ve done that myself in the past.
      it’s so easy to do as there is no filter to prevent multiple submissions.
      A manager could stuff the ballet box with false positives very easily.

  4. Like others have said the talkback does not allow you to talk back as the questions are so restricted and only on some areas. (No change there then)
    Also its so corrupt, managers on your back “be extra know what to do..” see corruption through the business so much, mainly because of corrupt area managers.

    • Hello. Thanks for your comment. At the end of Talkback there is a field where you can type freely. It’s concerning to hear about your manager’s comments – please feel free to contact us with further details so we can investigate. ^Ian

  5. Look forward to receiving our three weeks shifts instead of just one so can actually plan a social life. Also surprised to find name added to bakery training list as already did training at other store while waiting for our new store to be built and was advised not to do and manager agreed I did not need to so was placed on checkout and he would employ new backer.

    • Hi Helen, Have you talked with your manager about this? Sounds like it’ll be a waste of time going on some training that you’ve already done! Mistakes happen, but be sure to highlight it and resolve. And on the three week schedules… definitely speak as a team about the impact this has if things are changing without enough notice. Again, something shifts change because of unforeseen things happening, but it you should be getting notice for any changes. In my comment below, the store I was in had the same problem, but they talked it through so everyone understood the impacts of short notice changes. Think they’ve got a much happier team there now who respect and understand the impacts. Something it just needs a chat – it worked there. ^Kevin

  6. I know there’s a lot of comments on here that portray a world of doom and gloom (and rest assured, I know this is all being taken very seriously by the Exec – your comments are being heard!), but I’d like to provide some balance to the article as well with some observations of my own from a store I was in last week (yes, I work in the support centre). The biggest thing that struck me from colleagues I spoke to was that it was all about the manager there and how he treated and developed his team. It wasn’t easy but doing things like letting colleagues try their own ways of improving things and having a go worked. Where he’d talked with his Area Manager about some problems he was having, and got the help to resolve them. Where he took the time to look to develop his team to the next step on their career – even where others had dismissed them as not worth it. And one comment from a colleague there stuck with me when I asked about Talkback – he said that he was pleased to see that action had been taken on their comments and the place was much nicer place to work now.
    So, I’m not trying to deny that there are problems around or walk around with blinkers on – I’ve also been in some stores with real issues that I’ve tried to help feedback and get resolved… but equally, there are some great examples of where things do work and Talkback has enabled real change to happen.
    All I can do for everyone is encourage you all to say what you think via Talkback and add constructive comments that could make a difference in your team… and for stores to use listen act and fix to suggest the improvements that will make an operational difference to your lives. No one here is trying to do a bad job or stitch anyone else up. The absolute focus in the support centre is trying to find ways to make lives easier on the front line (of whatever business you work in) – whether that’s through clearer and easier to access information or through using technology to free up time to serve our customers and members.
    Having visited that store and saw how the positive attitude and approach there was making a real difference gave me hope that this can all work and we can make things better by working together.
    And advice for support centre colleagues that visit any front line business – always take the time to speak with colleagues too – beyond the ‘reason’ for your visit. Not just to get some more ‘real’ thoughts on what you might be able to help with directly, but to live up to our name as support colleagues – taking issues back and seeing what you can do to help fix them by making the right contacts.

  7. Maybe our Senior Management should take these words into their consideration:
    Clients do not come first
    Employees come first
    If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the Clients

  8. OMG when are co-op going to realise that TalkBack is not the answer? It is not a true reflection of how colleagues feel. A lot of colleagues are fiercely loyal to their manager and they all work extremely hard to make sure their store does well, they understand the stress they are under and although the business will say otherwise, a ‘poor’ TalkBack score is always held against the store manager. Most problems come from far too many hours being taken out of stores and that is FACT. All of these negative comments would go away if senior management would give stores enough hours to do a decent job. There is nothing more demoralising than walking away from a shift knowing that you have not been able to do a good job because of time restrictions. Exploiting the good will of employees who do extra, unpaid, is not the answer.

    • Hi ‘Store Manager’, have you seen our Leading the Way Programme? Steve talks about this in his Q&A from April 10. He states that with the Leading the Way Programme ‘ any hours that we take out we want to put back in, but on things that will help colleagues have more time to do their job’. You can watch this in full here, And you can hear the latest on our Leading the Way Programme here, Thanks ^Sophie

  9. Hi Karen, the link is, your line manager will be able to provide the access code. Thanks for taking part. :o) ^Scott

  10. did I see there was a link to complete the form on line?

  11. Hi Alex, this is concerning to read, please make sure you fill the form in and give your feedback again. If you don’t think anything has changed, please add this in the comments box too. ^Scott

  12. A number of comments posted have been removed or are no longer available to see, I do hope that this is not censorship as I was under the impression that the company wanted honest feedback, good or bad. When I worked for a supermarket that one of our current Co-Op Non Executive Directors used to run he told us to embrace criticism and complaints as it would make our service better in the long run. Must have meant a lot to me, as over twenty years later I still remember it and believe it to be right. Although we all gripe and complain we still pull out the stops for our families at Funeralcare and I dare say our colleagues in retail do the same. Please understand that we all want the best, we are not making these comments just for the sake of it. About time things got pulled together rather than torn apart.

    • Hi Richard, thank you for your feedback, I share your belief in an open Co-op. However, any comments which breach our Social Media Community Policy will be removed. This could include (but is not limited to) posts which contain personal information of the poster or others, reference our service to customers and clients or are in other ways, offensive. I hope you can see from the posts which remain, we’re not seeking to censor colleagues; a number of negative comments remain. ^Sophie

  13. So good to hear that other staff are feeling disgruntled – thought it was just me. After years of working for the Co-op can’t believe how it’s going. As to the recent changes being so that managers have more time to have121s, that is still not happening. Haven’t had an appraisal for a good few years. There is a huge mismatch of workload from one person/role to another which is never addressed. We are not valued, never get a verbal thank you let alone anyone ever being nominated for a Thank You gift or mention. Cutbacks keep being made yet there are so many areas where money is wasted, it’s all very bizarre. Co-op is no better to work for than any other firm yet we keep hearing about how ethically sound etc they are.

    • Hi ‘Betty Jones’, I’m very sorry to hear this. Have you spoken to your manager about your lack of 1-2-1’s and appraisals? Are you still receiving your yearly reviews and results? Please do communicate this in your Talkback Survey. ^Sophie

  14. Well said Jac.
    I think this is how the majority of arrangers feel.

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