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. Dear all,

    With immediate effect all overtime, unless pre-agreed and authorised by myself or a member of the management team,will no longer be authorised. Therefore, can I ask that you all work your contracted hours across the Region and notify myself, Marie or one of the other managers if the need arises where you have to work longer than your allotted hours.

    This is an email I have just received. I had a family turn up at 5pm and left at 7.15pm !
    How am I meant to get authorisation for this?
    2 hours overtime = £4k funeral !!!!

    • We too have had a cap on over time.
      Funeral choices states- Use of Private Chapel of Rest = Any time.
      So who is going to open up a branch out of hours for our families to view their loved ones?
      Are us arrangers expected to do this in our own time?
      The FSOs cant, they are already over stretched due to lack of staff.
      Clients are having to wait 3 weeks plus for a funeral service, due to again lack of staff, or too many branch’s to service within an area.
      After many years working for Funeralcare I am also looking for another job.
      I love my job, but I can not put up with the way senior management treats its staff and clients anymore.
      Its truly disgracefully and heart breaking.

    • Hi Mark, I’m sorry to hear this. Please do raise your concerns with your line manager and HR and explain these circumstances. No colleagues should be working and not being paid for it, and in the same time be put in a situation such as the one your have just talked about. ^Catherine

      • I am very concerned to read this constant reply from Co-op Colleagues saying “please do raise your concerns with your line manager blah blah blah…” If all these line managers don’t know what is going on in their own area what’s the point in having them? Perhaps we should look at replacing them with people who do know what’s going on to help eliminate the problems before they arise.

  2. I’ve just read every comment on this list ( in a rare lunch break by the way ) and Oh My God . Someone please start to pay attention to us . One bad comment is fair enough but virtually every one? It’s heartbreaking to be honest . What are you doing to the Co-op ( across all businesses ) . You’re ruining it .There’s nothing special about us now and Funeralcare is turning into a supermarket for funerals . Disgusting

    • Couldn’t agree more with the comments that I have just read. If we carry on like this the Co-op Funeralcare will no longer exist, I too am looking for another job after over 16 years loyal service to both Funeralcare and the families that I have cared for. I have given many hours up for free, I have had clients knocking my door at home asking about visiting their loved ones, I have given clients my personal phone number so that I could arrange visits to the chapel of rest over the weekend. On my walk to work I’m often told that someone has died before I have even seen the frontline report. I have been active in my community. Now all of that will stop. I will work 9-5 take my lunch each day and nothing more until I leave .
      So many of the management have not come through the funeral business, they have no idea what it is like to sit across the table from a grieving mother, daughter, husband etc.. We no longer give a unique tribute to a unique life, now it is a case of option 1, 2,3 or 4 Our deceased and our families are now just figures on a spread sheet.
      We have an EPL and CLM who don’t have time to read their emails until they go home.
      According to the men that came to test how slippery my floor is (04.05.17) their company had just secured a £100 million pound contract over 5 years, they were very excited.
      We can’t do any overtime unless we are given permission… go figure. I have no TCU to keep my deceased cold, families are waiting too long for a funeral and we don’t have enough staff to carry out our funerals or open our branches.
      Sad, demoralised, unvalued and fed up with it all, I give up.

      • Couldn’t agree more .
        We have had commissions gone, discounts slashed, local outreach community spends gone, discounts on family funerals again slashed.
        And now over time.
        But it will be frowned on if we close our branch for our unpaid 30 min break.
        I have never done this, but I will now .
        In future till I leave, which will be soon.i am working to rule,.
        Had enough.

    • Hi “Sad”, thankyou for your comment. Firstly if you are not having your lunch breaks you need to raise this with your line manager. Every colleague is entitled to their break and this should not be happening. If you are having issues with this please raise this with the HR team. Secondly, this is why Talkback exist so that colleagues can give honest feedback about their day to day experience in their team and in their workplace. So I hope you are taking the opportunity to fill in Talkback honestly. ^Catherine

      • We know we are “entitled to a break”, but how can you take a break when there are no staff to cover – you can’t just abandon everything so you don’t get a break. This happens all the time, we are advised to put ‘code 7 – working lunch’ on our timesheets where we are not able to take breaks. Management only need to look at that to realise how many of us across the company are not taking breaks. It’s been happening for years!

  3. I feel sorry for the Northern Ireland Funeral colleagues who are now going to go through the Cull !

  4. I have never been more saddened to read the comments here, it actually makes me want to cry. I love the Co-op. Having been in and around the business for a number of years I have to agree that I have seen a sharp decline in the morale of colleagues on whom an impossible burden is being placed. Work / life balance has always been a problem but now is non-existent and we continue to expect more and more of colleagues, pushing them further and further until they feel they have no option but to leave. I’ve had the great pleasure to work with some talented, creative, passionate people over the years but I too have felt that our values have declined and I cannot continue to work for an organisation that expects me to give of my all, motivate my team to do the same and yet treats people in a manner that sparks comments of the like published here. I’m a senior manager in our organisation and for our colleagues on the front-line, trust me, I feel it too. There is a lack of clear strategy and leadership at the top, money being spent without proper consideration on programme after programme with no accountability for spend, too much trying to be achieved across Retail and the Group of businesses all at the same time, resource constraints preventing us being able to deliver BAU and programmes of work effectively and efficiently whilst at the same time there are pockets of the business who have a bottomless pit of money at their disposal. Colleagues are suffering from fatigue both with change and physical exertion which is resulting in high sickness levels and mental health issues. The level of pressure we are putting on our colleagues is not sustainable and the result is an exodus of talent. The most difficult and saddest decision I have ever made is to leave the Co-op and I’ll be doing that in a few weeks. I was proud to work for the Co-op and proud for what it stood for, not so much now. A message to the Co-op Exec – please, please, please LISTEN TO OUR PEOPLE and their strength of feeling and more importantly DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT before our business has no good people left.

    • Thank you for your honest feedback, Joanne. Even though you are leaving you’re still able to fill in Talkback and we recommend you do to voice these concerns. We wish you the best of luck in the future and thank you for your loyal service over the years. ^Sophie

  5. I work for the insurance in GI Claims and am leaving the business soon, I was interestingly enough never sent the link for the talkback survey. I emailed HR several times asking for this to be sent and was ignored. In the end I found the link in these comments but it was never sent to me or added to my schedule. Is this normal when someone is leaving the business, or is it (as I suspect) an attempt to stop me from having my say?
    Unfortunately, I did not say nice things about the Co-op, the main reason I am leaving is due to how unflexible, unreasonable and unrewarding it is to work here. Staff are constantly being marked down on calls and claims for the tiniest and most pathetic of mistakes and not properly rewarded for the good work that they do and people are not happy, so sadly I don’t think you’re going to get a good talk back response this year whether or not you try to prevent certain members of staff from participating.

    • Hi Anon, Did you speak to your manager about this. This is the first year we’ve completed moved to an online survey so in previous years you had the choice of paper or online. Can you send us your HR reference numbers so we can chase this for you? Feel free to email us details at ^Sophie

      • Well yeah as I said in my comment I spoke to my manager who said I needed to contact HR, so I asked them for the survey to be re-sent several times and each time was ignored, I have already completed it now as I did find the link elsewhere but I will email you directly with my HR number so you can see why it was not sent 🙂

  6. Surely to goodness these comments show management how the Coop is shambolic, how the staff are totally and utterly demoralized across the group to the point of leaving, how we have been systematically destroyed over the last couple of years. I hope there is some acknowledgment now at last, I hope to see a true and accurate statement from ‘Steve’ shortly and not a sweeping, pie in the sky, utopian and complete fabrication of how wonderful it is to work at the Coop. We have seen too many of these sugar coated comments for far too long. And yes, well said Lottie!!

    • Hi ‘Disappointed’, All your comments on this blog post has been fed back to senior leaders including Steve. We circulate colleagues comments to senior leaders on a weekly basis not just during Talkback. ^Sophie

  7. My area manager and store manager have decided for our store that staff must fill their TalkBack forms on the back office computer, which has no privacy. I have been telling staff it can be done from home but my store manager has said they are not to do this so they can properly monitor who has and hasn’t done it. Am I right that these are supposed to be optional, and private? This is a ploy to rush people through, preventing a well thought out response and fear of writing anything negative. Last year’s TalkBack results were horrendous and a fair measure of what it’s like here. They are trying to avoid a repeat this year by doing this. Please advise.

    • Hi, I did mine at home today, so much more relaxed,
      And your password is your 4 digit store hub number
      do it at home if not comfortable with doing it at work,
      My manager is letting colleagues use the office but we are to stay well away from the office for privacy reasons.

    • Hi Voice O’Reason, You’re more than welcome to complete your Talkback survey at home. All you need is the link ( and the code from your manager. If this continues please raise it with HR People Services. ^Sophie

  8. Wow is all I can say.
    After 8 years in Funeralcare I personally have never seen morale so low and never felt like such a number!
    We have no staff and no management willing to even acknowledge that there’s no staff.
    We don’t even have the resources to so a home arrangement within 4 days!!
    What an absolute shambles…….. Shame on you Co-op!

    • We’re very sorry to hear this, C. Can you confirm for us which Funeral home this is? ^Sophie

      • Let you know which funeral home it is?
        People are genuinely scared to say anything at all for fear of reprisals! Funeralcare has become a dog eat dog society where those in command only seem to be interested in their increase in salary and what new car they are getting! They are difficult to get hold of and some are unapproachable. If anything is said you are classed as a ‘mood hoover’ who should look for another job (said by the S.F.D.) OR ‘the changes are happening if you like it or not, don’t like it? The door is there, you can all be replaced’ (said by the new Ops Manager)
        So forgive me if we don’t feel able to come forward and say who said what, disclose which shop we work from or which branch we man, its difficult!

  9. To any store-based colleagues who have not been told their code- it appears to be the store’s hub number. That’s the 4 digit number associated with your store and can be found in the top-right corner of the InControl login screen on the PCs in store.

  10. As someone who has worked for the Co-op at head office for over twenty years it is with great sadness that I can only add to the previous comments in saying that morale has never been so low. It seems to be across the board in both the Support Centre and Food and Funeral branches. There is a continuous lack of common sense, sensitivity and teamwork. Within the last two years the new management structure seem to have total disregard for our customers and staff and it seems to be the more arrogant the better. Being expected to work many extra hours for no extra pay seems to be becoming the norm rather than the exception. I see no evidence of being Co-op at all from senior managers. I am particular distressed by the comments from our Funeral care colleagues who have a very stressful job at such a difficult time in peoples lives . The Co-op don’t deserve to run a Funeral Business if we are not prepared to support the staff at the sharp end. I am also surprised that we are bidding to service Nisa stores when we are struggling to service our own due to staff cuts in the depots. I have always been very proud to say I work for the Co-op and would always recommend it as somewhere to work but quite frankly I have become pretty embarrassed to admit to this fact. There is a continuous exodus at the moment of talented staff who say they have just had enough which is a huge loss to the business. I hope senior management are being made aware of these comments as if I was them I’d be ashamed

    • In reply to Lottie, Well said. I don’t think it could have been put more eloquently than that. Lets hope the Managers do read it but as to whether it’ll make any difference, I doubt it

    • I have worked in Funeralcare as an Admin/Arranger for the past 10 years and I TOTALLY AGREE with your comment! Couldn’t have put it better myself.

      • Town Hall meeting for us tomorrow it will be very interesting. 11 years I have worked at Funeralcare and yesterday a branch that is closed had a first call, which came through to us in the Hub!
        Take note Management we are slowly hitting rock bottom
        Agree with everyone’s comments on here

    • In reply to Lottie, well said, I totally agree with everything you have said. I really hope that the senior management are being made aware of these comments, and let’s hope they do actually respond to them either by visiting branches during the next town hall meetings or arranging a special meeting at the care centres.

      • Caroline – All our town hall meetings have been cancelled and we haven’t had a Team Brief for months so good luck Unhappy

    • Well said Lottie.
      Its nice to hear some one from Head Office that understands us.

    • I too work as an arranger, and like many people who have commented on here I used to be so proud to work for the Co-op…well not anymore. I am disheartened, demoralised and stressed out. This is not only due to our working conditions, i.e. lack of staff, no one replacing the fantastic staff that have left the business due to the way they have been treated (and there’s more to follow), but also because of all of the rumours flying around regarding the arrangers positions in the future, with talk of reducing full timers hours to 30 hours a week and that we will no longer be Arrangers but simply admin staff, with the majority of the funeral arrangements being made by the FD’s. Myself and many of my colleagues work full time because we have to, not because we want to, so where will that leave us?? One of the main parts of my job that I love is spending quality with the families that I have been honoured to look after over the years, so if that is no longer going to be my role I feel that I may as well start looking around for another Funeral Directors who will value my skills and experience..

    • Hi Lottie, Thanks for your honest feedback we hope you also include this in your Talkback survey. These comments are being communicated back to our senior leaders. ^Sophie

  11. I have worked for the co-op for 12 years and am in the “middle aged” bracket. It is so sad to see the disillusionment in colleagues, including myself. I used to be so proud of working here. I love my colleagues and am fortunate to work with such caring people, without them I doubt that the job would get done with the time and resources available. We are understaffed, overworked and under supervised, allowing the unscrupulous to take advantage with no-one on the job to see it. Management needs to be branch based. You could well find that the caring staff leave, leaving you with a lax, inefficient, poorly provided service. Our competitors must be loving it! It is an effort making myself come to work knowing that I will often be doing the work of 3 people with no break (even for the toilet unless I take the phone) and then made to feel less than committed if I am not doing community activities in my own time. I work full time and have a life with 4 ill family members to look after and grandchildren who I take care of when I am off so that my daughter can work. Roll on retirement!

  12. How can we participate in talkback when we haven’t got any idea where the survey is or what code we need to access it????? First example of the terrible communication practices at the moment – here is a survey for you to feedback but you can’t access it because we haven’t communicated with you how to!!!

    • Your code is your store hub number

    • Hi Donna, This blog post was an intro to let you know that TalkBack is coming. It launched yesterday and communication was emailed out to all managers. Here’s a link to the survey you just need to ask your line manager for the code. ^Sophie

  13. I find it sad and slightly worrying that the Morale across the board is so low, we thought it was just us. Then again it proves there must be something sadly lacking if so many people feel this way.

  14. Interesting to see how many negative responses are being posted, although I agree with every single one of them.

    The formula is a very simple one, if the management looked after the staff well, then the staff will in turn look after the customers well. You get out of staff what you put in and by the looks of 95% of the comments, the staff are over worked and mistreated. This will be projected to our clients, sad times for the co-op.

  15. I work in the Support Centre and when I went to my local store to ‘Lend a Hand’ for one day, I felt really sorry for our front line staff that worked in the store. The manager mentioned how they were really targeted on selling membership and they didn’t even have enough staff to run the shop floor and stock shelves and customers were always left waiting at tills. I worked at M&S on the food section for 5 years and we always had enough people for tills and enough for stocking shelves. From reading the comments I think we need to invest more in our colleagues who look after our customers and make them come back to us time and time again.

  16. The co-op is now a prime example of too many coaches not enough players……constant cuts in stores, morale low, progression stopped by influx of Tesco and sainsburys bodies. yet we constantly see advertised jobs in the ivory towers of 30k plus, company car, Monday to Friday!!
    A good team has well paid and looked after players. Take Note co-op

    • Hi Aza, Have you applied for some internal positions to progress? Our resourcing team would happily talk this through with you if you can give us more detail on where you’d like to progress. ^Sophie

  17. How many times can stores tell the business that we’re all overworked and need more hours before they actually do something about it? I suppose the good management that leave the business or go off with depression and stress aren’t enough of a sign. I’m sure the business sees it and believes it’s an acceptable balance, but for a company that apparently prides itself on ethics surely we should be making cuts elsewhere and investing in our colleagues. If we want to see sales we need bodies in stores. We cannot rely on the unpaid goodwill of management colleagues who eventually get disenfranchised and either leave or end up with psychological health issues.

  18. We’re very sorry to hear this. Have you discussed this with your line manager or HR People Services? ^Sophie

  19. I have worked for Funeralcare for 12 years and I have never known such poor moral. Its truly awful.
    Funeralcare has had a major management re-structure which clearly is not working.
    It seems to me that the Care has gone out of Funeralcare when it comes to higher management.
    New branches are opening up everywhere, with no staff to man them. Older branches are now not being refurbished or maintained due to costs. Most of the branches do not even have an air conditioning unit to keep a deceased cold.

    Do I believe that management will act on results?
    Yes I do, but not in the way us employees would want, instead it will be how they interpret the results, bearing in mind that most are not from a funeral back ground.
    i.e A Deceased is a product.
    A grieving family is a purse.
    Employees are Numbers.
    A Funeral Home is a store.

    • It’s always important that you include this feedback in your Talkback survey, ‘Fed up.’. If you see no change you’re always welcome to speak to HR People Services in confidence. ^Sophie

    • Or they will send an EPL(?) or an unknown CLM (?) – who knows who is doing what job now at your local care centre because we aren’t told …… on a training course to tell them how to pacify, empathise and make promises to arrangers and FSOs but not actually do anything to effect any change or improvement! So disappointing as Being Co-Op last year was so energising and now I feel like doing feck all …. if they don’t care why should we????

  20. I have just returned from long term sick and during this time I had welfare meeting with management and recommendations were discussed. I have been back at work now for a couple of months and NONE of the recommendations have been put in place or acted upon. In fact if anything things have got worse, staff resignations, staff off on long term sick, staff actively looking for other jobs and staff moral is at an all time low. As for talkback what is the point in this useless exercise, nothing is ever done or acted upon. There has been no results given in our area for the last four years, if the results do not favour management it gets brushed under the carpet along with any other issue or problem that may arise.

  21. try working at lea green….still under tupe after 8 yrs….not on same rate of pay as all other depots…..shocking place to work. everyone down.. no moral….low talkback results every year,,, nothing ever done…..

    • Lea green is shocking, certain mgrs are corrupt and favour certain individuals and clicks! If they could do undercover boss in here, you would see what it’s really like. only interested in paper results and not people’s welfare and working conditions,I don’t blame the colleagues for breaking every policy and H&S regulations in there,I blame certain mgrs for letting it go on. Upstairs don’t see the reality of this warehouse and the conditions we have to work in.

    • We’re very sorry to hear this. If you don’t see any action from your Talkback feedback we recommend that you speak to our colleagues in HR People Services for some advice. You can call us on 0330 606 1001 or email us at ^Sophie

  22. …quote from above……The confidentiality of your responses is protected so this means that neither team nor individual responses can be identified in the reporting of our results. To make sure of this, Karian and Box will not release any survey results to teams with fewer than five responses…….

    If I am one of only 2 people working in a funeral home does this mean our replies will be ignored?

    • And don’t forget gender and age are also reported. For example, within a team of 5, if you’re the only person over 40, your response will stand out.

      • well I am prepared to give my name on it- can’t be sacked for saying your thoughts and feelings

  23. Sorry to read that you feel this is a ‘tick box exercise’, Richard – it is exactly the opposite, in fact. We pride ourselves on values and ethics as you mentioned which is exactly why we’re doing Talkback in order to continuously improve. ^Ian

    • The values and ethics that you project are not reflected in the actions of the company. When I can see people listening and we get physical change I may start to believe again. Unfortunately we have been given so many false promises in the past that until that day comes I see this as just more lip service. I am seeing on a daily basis colleagues being run into the ground and being made ill through being over worked, again , when this changes I may start to believe again.

  24. Talkback is a confidential survey where you are free to express your own opinions.
    The confidentiality of your responses is protected so this means that neither team nor individual responses can be identified in the reporting of our results. To make sure of this, Karian and Box will not release any survey results to teams with fewer than five responses.
    We take allegations of any misconduct involving Talkback very seriously. This includes any allegations of a manager trying to influence their team’s responses in order to achieve a more favourable Engagement score. This kind of behaviour will result in an investigation and could lead to disciplinary action being taken.
    If you have any concerns about not being able to complete the survey confidentially or not being allowed to express your true opinions in your response, please contact the Co-op’s whistleblowing ‘Speak Up’ helpline on 0800 374199.

    • I have worked in Funeralcare for 13 years and have never felt so low all I seem to do is give, give, give and never even get a thank you from my manager. I am paid for 45 hours a week but do 50+ every week for no extra pay, with the excuse “well its over a 17 week period”. I like most of my colleagues are at breaking point. Every year I put in my feedback about how bad our management is and it is never addressed. I emailed my manager last week with some serious concerns I have and he just didn’t want to know, pretty standard I guess!

  25. I’m ‘generally’ happy working here, but only because a job is a job and it pays the bills.
    I work in the Support Centre but when I read all the comments from store colleagues I see the vast difference between work ethics and work/life balance and level of happiness.
    I’ll fill in the survey as usual, and I’ll hopefully be able to drop in a few comments about store colleagues’ concerns, it isn’t nice to work somewhere where the front line/customer facing staff aren’t happy.

    • I would like to make some comments of my own but afraid i would get in trouble. I have been in the company 18 years

  26. Co-op are you sure this is a good idea !
    I have been in the Funeral business thirty years and I have never experienced such apathy amongst the staff. The recent changes have been poorly imposed, decent staff with vast experience are leaving in hoards and there just isn’t enough staff left to man the funerals.
    Oh – but as long as you spend millions on TV & Radio adverts then everything’s alright!

    • Hi Mark. Sorry to read this. TV and Radio Adverts are an essential part of letting people know about membership, which I’m sure you would agree with. We’re still in a period of change but it’s not an excuse – which is why we need your feedback to keep ourselves on track and keep our colleagues happy. We look forward to getting yours next week. ^Ian

  27. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… God only knows how we have survived for so long. Our systems are way behind other retailers. The majority of the kpis we strive for are unrealistic. Staff morale is very up-and-down in stores due to hours being cut and assorted streamlining (what happened to speculate to accumulate? ). Our supply chain is a joke and any constructive critisms are taken as negativity (as is any constructive criticism regarding co op) – they struggle to get deliveries to stores at a reasonable time which affects date coding and sales not to mention failed cage collections becoming health and safety issues. It’s always do what you can for the depot but that only goes one way. As a company we are still not competitive enough with our pricing and after stopping regular double discounts the majority of colleagues in my store shop elsewhere. I have worked for the company 12 years and have gone from feeling proud to work for the coop to just another disillusioned employee.. something needs to be done soon or we will lose a lot of great and experienced people.. And buying nisa when we can’t even run all our stores and supply chain properly as it is, is not the answer !

    • The Co-op is still in a period of change. It unfortunately, doesn’t happen overnight which is why ongoing feedback from yourself is exactly what we need to keep checking our progress. ^Ian

  28. In all honesty I generally put what I think you want to hear! I’ve never felt so much of a number as I do now…working for the business for over 12 years. Working in store is unbelievably hard & running a store is breaking managers. Not just psychologically but physically too & to reward us we get a benefits website, unachievable bonuses & more and more KPIS.

    Listen, Act & fix is also a waste of time as the tiny fixes we do hardly make any difference in store.

    I do think we fo some fantastic stuff like the 5% & 1%… however we do not look after the colleagues or managers enough. Benefits have gradually worsened such as loss of healthcare, double discount & extra pay on bank holidays… with evermore extended opening hours.

    Let’s hope you listen and make it easier for colleagues to be open & honest without fearing reprocussions.

    • Double Discount still exists, the next one is at Christmas and there was one just a few days ago. There is a fantastic amount of benefits here: ^Ian

      • Ian I must say you are terrible at this, stop disputing what people are saying and take their feedback on board.

        • Sorry, couldn’t help but smile at that comment. We all are feeling the same way, I think it’s time coop really thought about treading carefully.

      • Ian is right, it still does exist but greatly reduced. It used to be each payday, now its a couple of times a year. Oh what joy!
        The society has systematically shut down these sorts of benefits; for us in funeralcare no more commission on masonry work or on funeral plans sold. It wasn’t a lot but it was a moral boost.
        Yes, there are a number of benefits available, we don’t use them all because a lot of them are of no use to front line staff. The main ones we tend to use are food (10% sounds great, but our local food store is more expensive than other supermarkets even with discount) and electrical (just look at the prices, again VERY expensive)!
        As ANON says, stop disputing peoples responses, what they are saying is from the heart. Things ARE hard outside of Angel Square and employees are feeling it. Its nothing personal to you guys, just honesty.

  29. The money that the Co-op are wasting is terrifying, all the refits, going from lovely purple to depressing dark grey, really? I was the first to be refitted in April 2016 and I still haven’t got nice chairs, cushions, pictures, flowers, curtains, storage, I was asked to take an internal photo for a leaflet promotion and it looked so bad they used a stock shot instead! but the saddest thing is how you are cutting back with staff, never letting us work full time if we want or need to, here is a shocking and shaming example, if a family wish to view their loved one, we are ‘here for you’ but if they ask to view at 4.30pm instead of agreeing at once [ which I do] I am supposed to ask formal permission to work overtime [ we close at 4pm] before I let them know they can view. They are already nervous and I am supposed to keep them waiting while I try to find a manager to ask permission of? My families come first, I agree to whatever they want, whenever they want, then I worry about the hours the Co-op will ‘allow’ me to claim. Ten years in a job I love but morale has never been lower. And how can I utter the words ‘ Fair Funerals Pledge’ when under the disguise of Funeral Choices we put our prices up over 20%?

  30. As someone who has worked here for over 8 years, I think the proof is in the comments listed here. It’s so blindingly obvious that something is badly wrong, when you see the same sort of comments being made over and over again – year after year. Unfortunately, senior management simply don’t care – because they are only interested in safeguarding and increasing profit margins.
    Go back 5-6 years and you wouldn’t have seen the level of disgust, stress, disinterest and general negativity that is shown in the comments now. ‘Back to being Co-op’??? The Pioneers would turn in their graves if they could see the shambolic mess that is the modern ‘Coop’.

    • Yes but the Co-op has never before had to weather a storm like the crisis five years ago. Frankly, it is only down to the strong leadership, decisive management and commercial acumen without conceding CORE values that we are in the positive position we are in now in a relatively short space of time and with minimum casualties. They have managed to sterer the ship through a very stormy period whilst retaining the must- haves . Going forward we will be able to look at the nice-to-haves.

    • I’m not quite sure what you mean as ‘Back to being Co-op’ was something that the Pioneers would have absolutely approved of. ^Ian

      • Hmmn. It depends if you think the Pioneers were looking at the idea of Back to Being Co-op or the outcomes.

        It’s part of the problem when you spend so much effort and money on something like “back to Being Co-op”. You just raise expectations. Slapping the slogans over every lift door does tend to drive the message home.

        But people here aren’t mugs – while senior managers wrote self congratulatory articles about how great things are people noticed that they also binned off all the people actually involved in doing the work and cut the budgets completely.

        People noticed that senior managers didn’t commit their time to sustaining the effort. They claim to be leaders – people notice where they put their focus and behave accordingly.

  31. Having “improving talkback results” set as one of your yearly objectives, hardly allows for the open and honest approach that talkback is supposed to be about does it really?

    • I couldn’t agree more. Most of the complaints and reasons for negative talkback responses are to do with the workload the business places upon us and the lack of resources we are given to deal with it. Yet who gets the blame when the negative talkback results come in?

    • I agree … it puts pressure on the managers to put pressure on the colleagues…. a bit like gap results… fudge it to hit a number …not the truth!

    • I refused to have it as an objective last year and it wasn’t mentioned as one this year. Speak to your manager when objectives are set?

    • Of course, it’s a fair objective that we should all work towards. ^Ian

      • That goes agaisnt your quote from above “Talkback is a confidential survey where you are free to express your own opinions.”

        Lets be honest, who is going to deliberatly fail one of their objectives to voice an opinion that never gets listened too?

        Adding this as an objective is just a simple way to fudge the results.

      • It’s not a fair objective if you are not given the tools to buck the trend of the past 6-7 years. understaffed, underpaid and over worked. If you can’t see the theme running across the group from your front line colleagues. Who, by the way are too worried to speak out about anything for fear of investigation or disciplinary. It, shouldn’t be set as an objective for the branches or stores, but instead should be set for the exec.

  32. Dear ‘management’ – If you ask for opinions then you should act on the answers. Whatever answers they may be. There are no right and no wrong, they are opinions and experiences of colleagues. What is the point of having this open discussion? As an exasperated, stressed and disillusioned employee looking for another job I hope ‘management’ can see the low morale demonstrated on here already. Talkback??? Another pointless exercise but I will fill it in because it is our right and ‘management’ can’t say they don’t know our thoughts. Whether they choose to act on them is another matter..

  33. I was reassured that talkback results would be discussed and actioned last year, but alas, like every other year, they weren’t. They were mentioned briefly in a town hall meeting and we were told there would be another meeting to discuss the results, but this never happened. Lots of sickness, resignations and low morale in our area. It’s such a shame because it could be so much better.

  34. It really comes down according from my experience in the COOP and also working in several stores that there are multiple things that needs sorting. The biggest in my books are the management; their job is very demanding and are expected to do more than what most people seem to understand.

    As a CTM, I don’t want progress into Team Leader because of the amount work that role is needed to complete. Doing multiple unpaid overtime and finding that most are doing nearly over 100 hours annually and getting told, “It’s part of the job” like some regurgitated throw-about.
    I believe this factors into why managers tend to very distant and have a negative impact with their team.

    Our store pulls in over 9k-14k a day and gets really busy quick. We do bloody try our hardest and want to get all the tasks and jobs done. But, if you start telling us to go higher while making cuts, shortened breaks, less staff and etc, just tells us that we’re not being appreciated for what we’re doing, in fact, it’ll hurt the business more and kill morale among the team. Especially, on Sundays and during holiday times when it becomes something out of a horror movie. Hell, don’t get me started on how many times I’ve been threatened by some drunk because I refused to serve them alcohol.

    Im quite lucky that my Ansdell store bosses are very understanding and are a joy to work with.

    All we ask is some slack for all the staff inside the store. And if we get the, “It’s part of the job” or “Do it or we’ll get someone else to do it”, will NOT fix your/our problems and won’t get us working at a 110%.

    I will post this as anonymous as I hope you take action.


    • Thanks for your feedback ‘M’. If you’d like to discuss further please email us at ^Sophie

    • This echos exactly what’s happening in my store, except I am currently a team leader, though not for much longer. I have chosen to step down becuase of the work load with too few hours. I’ve given up on going the extra mile, I used to, but now I don’t really care about the company even a little bit, they are nothing more than a means to an end for me. I’ll do what’s expected within the bounds of my role and not an iota more. Can’t wait to go back to CTM, much less stress and the pay gap isn’t all that any way.

  35. I have worked for co-op for 10+ years and i am finding its getting harder. Hours been cut to near impossible and wanting everything to the same high quality. New 20 year old managers been taken on from Tesco’s who know absolutely nothing. And all we get told is that’s what the company wants. What about the existing staff. We are just getting left behind.

    The talkback in my opinion is worthless and a complete waste of time. Nothing ever comes from it and the managing staff continue to have things work for them and not the the store or staff. Staff continue to feel unappreciated and just another number.

    Will anything ever change for the better?

    • Please please use Talk Back to put these points across, I hope that this time they will listen, but we have to try, we owe it to our clients not to give up without a fight.

    • My Manager last time didn’t do anything with the talkback.

    • We have made changes from issues raised in Talkback and will continue to do so – but this is only possible with your input. ^Ian

  36. Thank you for sharing some positivity, Gavin. ^Jordan

  37. Hi Bob, your comment makes for a difficult read, I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such difficulty. If you’d like to email me on or Private Message me on Colleague Facebook @coopukcolleagues, perhaps I can help you identify the support available? ^Jordan

  38. While the job is reasonable, and there are opportunities to progress, what is seemingly expected is beyond a joke now. Speaking as a Team Manager in store we are expected to achieve ridiculous workloads with an ever diminishing workforce. The hours we earn assume that every single team member is fully able, highly motivated, and never stops working at 100% even for a minute. Obviously this being the real world means that sometimes our human colleagues have bad days, sometimes we’re not at 100%. Sometimes we have colleagues who are less than motivated (which I would be too for the current CTM wage). What happens- management are expected to work long hours, skip breaks, spend days off catching up on admin or coming into stores.

    All of this is bad enough, but it’s made worse by most store management simply saying “it’s part of the job”. That’s something you hear all too often. Why is it part of the job? What other job would you do where they pay you for 39 hours a week but “it’s just part of the job” to work 50+? When did this become acceptable?

    Of course I know the typical response is “you shouldn’t be working more than 45 hours a week. Speak to your manager if you’re being made to feel you have to routinely work beyond this”. I write this not for a response to that effect, but to ask those on here- do you believe it’s “part of the job” and fair to be working excessive hours to simply get the job done? If you do believe this, could you please elaborate on why.

    • Hi D, I know you said you didn’t write this comment for a response, but I wanted to just reach out to say that I hear you. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of working too many hours when we’re salaried colleagues, under pressure. Whilst management roles do require a degree of flexibility, talking to your manager about your work load is a good first step. Still, there are avenues you can reach out to for support. The Employee Assistance Programme is a helpful resource and you can even speak to trained professionals if you’re finding your work load too much to handle and need some advice. ^Jordan

      • part of the problem is the stunning amount of emails we get on a daily basis from various stages of different management saying ‘read this and let us know at once you have read it’, and attached are pages and pages and pages of gobbledegook, yesterday it was a 54 page document on payment security that was sent at 2pm, I opened it at 3pm and I was supposed to drop everything and read it by 4.30pm, yet I am supposed to shut at 4pm, as it was I was with a very distressed family and couldn’t do so. We were told it had to be printed and shown to all staff, so over just Funeralcare that’s 54,000 pieces of paper using goodness knows how much ink. Cannot our new line managers talk to us about it, explaining points that are unclear during their proposed regular meetings with us?

  39. I would just like to say that none of these comments reflect how I feel working for the Coop. I have worked for the Coop for 10+ years stuck at it through the difficult period where it would have been much easier for me to walk away as I wanted to see us succeed, there is still work to be done and people need to understand that.

    The comments about younger colleagues are incorrect, very polarising, and quite frankly offensive. Comments like this are completely unconstructive and do not help anyone.

  40. Steve,
    I remember as a young boy running errands to the Co-Op on Medlock St in Hulme, in the 1950’s and can well remember the friendliness shown and the warmth with which the Co-Op was regarded in the community. Imagine my surprise when I was contacted by the Co-Op and offered an interview as a Corporate Security officer in 2013. I got the job and started work in Angel Square. Within a year, as part of the recovery, Sunwin Security were sold as we no longer fitted in with the Co-Op’s business model. Four months later we were sold again. When I came to the Co-Op my hourly wage was £0.93 above the minimum wage. Four years later I am now £0.07 above the minimum wage for a five day, 60 hour week. Security staff have not had a pay rise for the last two years, previously being part of the clerical pay band. We have recently been told that we are not performing to ‘a high enough standard’ and that we should ‘appreciate the Angel Square working environment and the free tea and coffee’ How insulting!! Hardly following the ‘ succeed together’ ethos is it?
    It would not be wrong to say that the relationship between certain contractors and their in house managers has deteriorated to a near toxic level, and needs to be addressed from the highest levels.
    From a personal perspective, I shall not be affected by the pending loss of the security contract by Kingdom, and the inevitable upheaval that lies in wait, as I retire tomorrow (30th). However Steve, please be aware that all the self congratulation, backslapping and high fiving in the world cannot hide the fact that a large proportion of those who work in Angel Square (both staff and contractors) do not feel part of the future and would rather be elsewhere.
    I wish you all the luck in the world and hope that you and your team can turn things around and turn the ‘inclusivity’ dream into reality.
    John Holmes

  41. I used to love working for the coop, started as a team member just over 6 yrs ago then to made up to team leader 3yrs ago, it was fab, friendly staff, opportunities for advancement in the business and BAM I have a car accident, ended up with a disability from this which cause memory loss (including with dealing with mundane tasks) and made my job 100% harder for a long-time, I asked for phase return and retraining and was brushed to one side and left to feel invisible, I ended up retraining myself..i don’t get time off for hospital appointments,I’ve offered to put holidays in but still have to fight for that time off, can’t get holidays when wanted, not told when we cant have the holidays ubtil a week before so we are losing money,
    never trained adquately on new ways of working (even if we ask)…co-op is a joke with its staff, shame you have managers who put in a good show for their superiors but are actually no good for the coop in general, time to open your eyes Manchester and actually see what’s going on!!!!!!!

  42. Hi everyone. We always know that posts such as this will cause a lot of strong feelings to come out in comments… and in the words of ‘Steve (not that one)’ below, do make sure that you fill in your Talkback survey honestly and openly. Encourage other colleagues to do the same so that the response rate is high and the comments are really representative of your thoughts.
    Please keep comments on here to your own experiences and not make sweeping comments about ‘everyone’ or ‘ it’s always’ and alike… colleagues who don’t share your views may find that offensive.
    If you have any specific concerns about an issue, then please do make use of the HR line on 0330 606 1001 or our Employee Assistance Programme on 0800 970 1030. and don’t wait for Talkback.

    • I always do fill in my annual satisfaction survey honestly but then the CEO hands the responsibility for solving the problem to the people who created it in the first place and they use their best middle manager skills to take charge of the situation and then do what they have to do.

      By the way, if you’re a middle manager and you’re short of an idea here, something I’ve seen done a lot is to set up a working party to investigate and make sure you’re in charge of it and then explain how it’s not possible because :

      a) it’s not the right time
      b) it was very much reflecting the mood at the time the survey was taken which isn’t representative of how people feel now
      c) there’s no budget available
      d) it’s not a high enough priority
      e) we can’t do anything until after the restructure and the new TOM
      f) there’s too much change going on at the moment and people need time for the last changes to bed in before we address this
      g) it’s our busy period, we can’t commit the time until March
      h) The new director will be taking up their post in a couple of month’s time and it’s only right we seek their view on something this important
      i) we need to ensure it takes lots of time to consider the right response to a tricky problem.
      j) it’s fake news
      k) All our management time is being taken up with BREXIT
      l) We need to deploy the new OneHR employee hub before we can do that
      m) That might have worked where you were before but we’re special and different and need more time to adapt it to our circumstances
      n) “Being Co-op” is the answer to that
      o) That any change has to go through all the correct channels and get sign-off at highest possible level
      p) Multiply the procedures and clearances involved. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.
      q)See that important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers.
      r) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible – never less than five.
      s) Haggle over precise wordings of communications.

      A middle manager here knows that they only have to keep their boss happy not their staff.
      This is the unchanging law of any bureaucracy like the Co-op. As long as we persist with the sacred cow of Talkback we’ll get the same as we get every year. It’s a once a year corporate ritual – it isn’t anything more than that.

      • you made me smile, thank you, but don’t give up on Talkback, despite everything Co-op are at core a good company with amazing staff, fill in Talkback with hope in your heart, yes I am a glass half full sort, and I still love the Co-op, despite everything.

  43. I am in my 14th year now and I can honestly say I have enjoyed every day, ok some days are tough and yes I have worked long hours and 7 days a week to get the job done(but that’s not the norm). Yes the business has changed a lot since I joined, however I feel it needed too, I am confident that Steve M and other senior Managers will deliver. Before I get lots of replies, I agree the top team need to look at hours and I am sure that will show in the TB results and NO I am not a Manager, just someone who is proud to work for the Co-op.

  44. I look forward to filling in the feedback form. I have been working at the co op for less than one year, The company have changed the Bonus structure twice, changed the structure of our shifts at least once. The managers are unprofessional and really not what i expected from the “ethical” co op!

  45. I have not worked for the co-op long ( just over 4 years) I see the vestiges of pride in my colleagues, I also see an alarming level of people who are becoming fed up with being ignored.
    my understanding is that the co-op is (should be!) different. we should CARE. but increasingly, as has been mentioned below, it seems that “new and improved” is always better. the young are the future etc.
    granted I am still very proud of the heritage if the co-op, but the present and the future of the co-op appear to hold the danger of our becoming “mainstream”. Normal. Just a slightly higher than average priced medium sized retailer.
    That isn’t who or what we are. or at least it shouldn’t be. but until we recognise the talent we already have, the experience and the professionalism and commitment our core employees have, the new young “go getters” will work here for a few years then move on.
    I came to work for the co-op to be able to retire from the co-op, not to fill in another line on my ever growing CV!
    I will be completely honest with my talkback answers and I encourage everyone to do the same, I hope, this time, we will see a difference.

  46. l find it reasuring that Coop is prepared to register negative as well as positive comments on the Talk back issue

  47. I too feel that the co-op is not a great place to work and this has been the case for a few years and only seems to get worse. I will be filling in the Talkback as I always have over the years and still nothing seems to change for the better. There are less and less staff to do the job, and more managers. Who I appreciate are also doing a difficult job when they know there are not enough staff to continue a high level of professional service which our clients pay a lot of money for. We are all trying our best and really love the job which we do, but this is resulting in the loss of a lot of good staff and sickness.
    When will enough be enough as far as saving money goes !!!.
    I feel for new staff who will never know the good days of the co-op …. And there was a time when I was proud to say I worked for the co-op, but not now.

  48. I think this is a bit early for Talkback isn’t it ?

    Knowing how it’s wired into senior leader bonuses I can only suspect you want to get a good rating in early because there’s a lot of bad news coming later in the year.

    A new HR Director normally means a reorganisation and the multi-million pound costs of OneHR have to be recovered from somewhere.

    No need to deny my suspicions. Time will tell. I’ll be happy to be wrong.

  49. The coop is NOT a great place to work, Steve. I’m hoping we all take the opportunity to tell you why. I have been here over 10 years and it has never been as abysmal as it is now. Get ready for the responses. And John, sorry you feel like you are not valued but no one here feels valued here either irrespective of age and or experience. It’s all very sad. But I’m sure the talkback will inform you.

    • I feel valued and I do think it’s a great place to work. I’m sorry to hear that you’re so unhappy but don’t assume everyone’s experience is as negative as yours.

      • I do not assume Matt I speak for my immediate colleagues whom I know feel the same. I’m glad your happy.

  50. I have been with the coop for nearly 12 months now,I am middle aged and feel discriminated against because of my age! Messages from CEO on news/ we’re I work(warehouse) all information I revive is focused on our younger colleagues!! There the future etc. Please don’t dismissed older colleagues, We Havre allot of work/ life experience(like myself) a manager for over 20 years but now I can’t even get a supervisor job within the co-op( told more suitable applicants, they are kids with no experience) but because they are young, they are the future,I knew one young colleague who got a job and all’s they had to offer was school / college education/
    There are a number of colleagues who are older than me were I work and they have been there a few years and more, they have said to me, don’t bother saying anything, they tried themselves and nothing was done or said. I can see why turnover of staff is so high. There is no value in older colleagues, they are there to fill a gap. Its sad.

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