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. And now we have a new “Social Media Policy” I wonder if that is to prevent any of these comments been public knowledge?

  2. I have worked in Funeralcare for several years now and have loved every minute of it. I have not once got up in the morning thinking, I really do not want to go to work. We have some great team members across the Country inc FSO’s , FD’s and some amazing FSA’s. You work tirelessly for your families and you should be proud. I have covered branches recently as we are short of staff and have seen first hand what you have to do and how many balls you juggle. But in the words of the late David Hendry remember Granny Brown. We have to remember that the re-structure came about as a result of Talkback. The feedback was that performance reviews were not completed, you never saw your line manager and that you did not feel valued. It wasn’t right that a Care Centre Manager could have to do up to 60 reviews so Senior Managers came up with a new structure but we have to let it bed in. I have had Arrangers say that it is nice now having an ELP to talk to and who know what they are talking about when they raise an issue. Please do complete your Talkback surveys, attend team briefings and have your say and please do ride the storm. As with all change, things will get better.

    • Hi. Your supportive words are very much appreciated. Thank you too, for recognising the period of the change and the difficulties that can come with that – as you said, things will get better provided we continuously share feedback and support each other like you suggested. ^Ian

  3. I am quite new here so this was my first Talkback. I was really surprised that there wasn’t more space for open text for people to feedback more qualitatively. I get that it’s important to have some multiple choice bits for the headline results, but I think even a ‘anything else you want to tell us about this’ option under each section would be really helpful. I know that it would take longer to read through but surely all in a good cause?

  4. Even someone as unfeeling and robotic as Teresa May knows when the game is up and responds to pressure eventually.

    Can we get the same response from the robots in 1 AS?

    Austerity has gone too far in the Co-op just as it has in the rest of the UK.

    Let’s have some hours so we can do the job properly and sustainably.

    “Burn them out then replace them” isn’t a good management approach.

  5. None of our new AEL, ELP, SFD knows what they are doing, WHY? probably because they have had a whole load of …………. changes thrown at them too. Many have been moved from a job they know to a totally different set of rules and staff. Wouldn’t have my ELP or AEL’S job for the world. Gotta have a damn good memory and a lot of patience. and I don’t have either

  6. The CEO and senior management of this company should be ashamed of themselves!!

    Over 200 damning comments about the way Co-op is currently being run and the stock answer is “Complete Talkback, because your comments will be taken on board and all this useful feedback you provide will be acted upon”.

    Why wait for your staff to complete the Talkback? Surely this gives you a very small example of what is to come? This is proof positive that the staff of Co-op are stressed, depressed, worried, disillusioned and disgusted with the way things are going! The comments on here speak for themselves. I haven’t seen any positive contribution on here and I would be willing to bet that you won’t find much in the Talkback survey either.

    By the time the Talkback survey closes, and the information is collated, analysed, discussed and fed back to the top brass; who, in turn, will have to call meeting upon meeting to discuss the outcome, then sit around scratching their heads at how this has all come about – and all that before we hit the “Who can we blame?” stage – Co-op could very well be on the verge of complete crisis, as clearly the company is teetering on the brink now.


    Back to being Co-op? The founding members must be turning in their graves at the absolute shambles Co-op has become.

  7. Not to in anyway disregard the clearly honest views and feelings of my colleagues – their feedback is genuine and should be listened to, but it is not representative of how everyone feels

    66,520 Employees (eligible) – 235 Comments

  8. I hope you’re all looking forward to your monthly 1-2-1 re-education session with your blue suited, brown shoed and overly hair gelled manager (does a lot of work for charity…..doesn’t like to talk about it…much)?
    Remember to be yourselves, always!

  9. Hi Anon, I’ve been on them for over a year and as you say so are half mt colleagues and I think the other half have joined the queue………………. Not a good advert for Caring Co-op

  10. Some very brave comments here, and very revealing too. I only hope that the talkback results this year reflect the opinions shown here. As a food manager, I see daily the stress of running stores. It’s never been so bad, and certainly not what I signed up for 14 years ago. Thankfully we have a good support network on my area – we can call each other and sound off and de-stress, relieved in the knowledge that we’re not alone. Unfortunately area managers and above seem to think that everything that comes out of angel square is gold-plated and fur lined. New gap process = less time spent on gap = more time to spend with customers? . . . NO! WE’LL JUST CUT THOSE HOURS! Further efficiency savings recently on stock counting and delivery receipting. More hours cut. Sorry, but I never checked my deliveries off anyway, but you’re still cutting the hours I was meant to use on that task! Cutting hours we never knew we had. Brilliant move. One area manager I know keeps banging on about “having some head space” when changes are afoot. I don’t even know what that means, but I think its something along the lines of “this has to work or you’ll be down the dole office with your P45”. And don’t even mention safe and secure. The constant threat of disciplinary action. Nice touch on top of everything else.

    • In less than a week I will hand my notice in and the sense of relief is unbelievable. I feel sorry for the people that remain behind. I thought maybe I am doing the job wrong. I could not understand how you could achieve what you were meant to achieve on a weekly basis with the hours I had. You mention hours to your area manager and you are quickly shut down. You end up staying a few extra hours to get jobs done, but you end up looking at the delivery that turned up and because the evening shift is one on one, you do a bit of the delivery. Before you know it you’ve been there 13 hours and a cold cup of tea in the office is the reminder of the break you never had. This is a good day, so no one has phoned in sick, the supervisor is unhappy about being on with one member of staff and you feel guilty about leaving. Sounds familiar anyone?

      Reality is you are running as fast as possible to keep still. Great let’s take some more hours off a store because we have removed a task we never did anyway.

      What should be a simple job is not. Stock counts, never had the time to do them, you are aware ambient date checks need doing, plus the reviews for the supervisors and assistant manager, who is paid a pittance and does as many hours as you.

      Another conference call, that’s 45 minutes of my life I will never get back. Quick stick something on WhatsApp. So you try and make something look good just to please the area manager.

      Everyday it feels like you are keeping the store open held together with goodwill, luck and a lot of pleading. You go to other shops and count the staff and think how can they do it yet the Co-Op can’t?

      The Co-Op is broken. It needs radical change from top to bottom. Angel Square is a huge vanity building that houses lots of people who don’t have a clue about the daily pressures in the real world.

      Bullying is rife, not enough hours, pointless tasks, pointless emails and don’t get me started on conference calls.

      If you had more hours, staff would get breaks, jobs would be completed, deliveries worked, date checks done, customers served quicker, the place would run smoother, people would get holidays and days off.

      It is not difficult to see what needs fixing, but until the people at the top realise the problem then for the people at the bottom nothing will change.

      Your systems are rubbish. Your tills are slow, hand held terminals crash constantly. You do a task like the gap in the morning and it takes twice as long as it should as you have to reboot 3 times.

      Nothing is fit for purpose. But you notice all the field people with their nice new iPads and new smartphones.

      This is reality in the Co-Op and people are ignoring reality because it doesn’t fit the image of the caring ,ethical Co-Op.

      • My words, mate. I wouldn’t write it better but all this is truth. How the hell a shop with 40k a week (per example) or even bigger one could menage run with 2 people? Shall I work until midnight or simply leave the shop untidy? Choose one. Give me people (hours) and I’ll do the shop running smoothly.
        BTW I can’t find a link to fiil up a Talkback…

    • Hi ‘Anon store manager’ I understand your frustrations, fellow colleagues of our’s have expressed them too. Talkback is the best chance for you to have your say, I’d encourage you to do so. ^Jordan

      • Jordan how many hours a week do you and your colleagues work?

        Do you get a lunch break?

  11. Hi ‘Astounded’, These negative comments are definitely not being ignored. All comments positive and negative are being fed back to senior leaders on a weekly basis. We’re very sorry to hear you’re struggling so much, have you reached out to HR People Services? You can also contact our Employee Assistance Programme, a free and independent help available 24/7 on a wide range of personal and work-related issues. If you’d like to reach out to them the phone number is 0800 970 1030. ^Sophie

  12. Hi ‘Fed up’, Yes all these comments have been seen by senior management. Our Funeralcare colleagues are valued and this is shown in David Collingwood, Head of Operations, recent blog post ^Sophie

  13. Hi ‘J’, This is very concerning to read. Have you raised this with HR People Services? Our colleagues in Funeralcare are valued, and this was outlined by David Collingwood, Head of Operations for Funeralcare in this blog post ^Sophie

    • We certainly do NOT feel valued out in the Care Centres, in branch; we are frequently just ‘left to get on with it’ and God forbid anyone complains about a situation!
      David’s blog is indeed very nicely written but the quote of ‘Leaders eat last’? Please! Give us some credit! All the ‘leaders’ seem to do is skim the cream off the top; you only have to look in any care centre car park at the vast array of hugely expensive ‘company’ cars to see this isn’t the case. There are some little 10, 12 year old cars dotted about but these belong to the F.A.’s and F.D.’s!!!

  14. I’m trying to set up a new supplier and I’ve never encountered such protracted processes and number of emails I’ve had to send as here at the Coop. We have some really great and passionate people as is very evident from the many comments below. Please Coop, make it easy for us to do our jobs.

    • Hi ‘ONe man and his ferret’, Sorry to hear you’ve encountered problems with onboarding a new supplier. Is it possible to pass this feedback onto our colleagues in IT and Finance? I’m sure they’ll be happy to talk this through with you. ^Sophie

      • Hi Coop Colleagues. I know what the process is and I’m following it. That’s my point.

      • ‘Onboarding a new supplier’ #ShakesHead Seriously, what’s wrong with ‘Setting up a new Supplier’? I mean – Onboarding even a correct word according to spell check!

  15. I’ve completed my Talk Back and was somewhat surprised that near the end you have only one free text box to say what change could improve performance. The wording suggests you can list only one. Regardless, I listed many points. But it’s disappointing that you couldn’t explain/expand on some of your answers by providing free text at each question – I think that in itself is a missed opportunity Co-op. You could have gained more of an understanding of why people have responded in such a way. What a shame.

    • Hi ‘Generally disappointed’, You’re definitely able to list as many points as you’d like. We’ll feed this back to our colleagues so they can review the wording and layout for next year. Thanks for your feedback. ^Sophie

    • Ohdearohdearohdear… it’s all in the appearance, there’s one single solitary line to make you think that’s all you can enter, and to make it difficult if you solve the first puzzle, to scroll back and check what you typed – seems pretty blatant, I’m afraid. We’re being run into the ground by Yuppies, or whatever they’re called now, chasing the dollar regardless of the cost to our clients, customers, staff, reputation, everything we as Co-op stand for. Stop it, stop it now, step away from the i-Pad and let us get on with the work we love. Please?

  16. Don’t forget everyone. We are a “colleague driven business” or so the management keep telling us whilst they hold back door meetings with Tata to ship our jobs off to India all the while telling us “it is not our intention to outsource”…then why hold the meetings? Do they think we were born yesterday?

    This company make me sick, we’re about as ethical as Nestle.

  17. As soon as managers start talking about ‘values’ you know your about to be shafted.

  18. We keep hearing about how the comments are / will be fed back to management – but that doesn’t give any confidence that there will be any positive changes made. It is senior management who have driven this company into the ground AGAIN. The staff are leaving. The staff are utterly fed up and disengaged. Respnse…….. ‘have you filled in your talk back survey?’ Do you not understand that Talkback is a tick box exercise that achieves absolutely nothing – and never has. We are banging our heads against a brick wall. The people higher up the food chain couldn’t care less because they’ll simply recruit new people who they can bend to their will. It doesn’t matter if they leave after 6 months – because that’s how all modern businesses work now. The Co-op is nothing different anymore – it is a copy of every other modern business where there are more chiefs than Indians and everything is run on hot air, reports and statistics.

    • Well said. Everywhere is understaffed, across the group. You need more people on the ground not more mangers/supervisors/mentors to ‘coach’ staff, you need people at grass roots who can do the jobs. People don’t need ‘coaching’ on how to do their job, they need sufficient number of colleagues to ensure the jobs are conducted professionally and safely not just for our colleagues but our families too.

      It’s a shame that staff are not paid a decent wage for what they do. It’s a pittance for the responsibilities that are carried out with good grace.

      There are numerous comments about staff being unable to take breaks, as I’ve previously stated on here, we know we are “entitled to a break”, but we can’t take a break when there are no staff to cover. This happens all the time, and our managers are aware of it, not just immediate managers, but regionally. And what’s worse they don’t seem to see it as a problem, its expected that you work that way because it’s happened for years now.

    • Hi ‘Arranger’, Sorry to hear you’re so unhappy and don’t feel supported. The Co-op is all about community and we want our colleagues to feel part of this, not replaceable as you’ve suggested. As well as Talkback you’re welcome to raise your concerns with HR People Services directly. ^Sophie

  19. If you want more salea, invest in your staff on the shopfloor. If you want waste down, invest in your staff in the shopfloor. If you want happy staff who are running around doing loads of job invest in the staff!
    You have taken too many hours off the shopfloor! simple standards! Dont make me laugh. I bet the people who cut these hours are sat in manchester office and the only shop there go to is the one on the ground floor!

    Food has never been so bad, all these comments on here highlight how bad it is. Less hours but you want us to do more. Help in the community but we have not enough time to put the stock out, gap scans, plans, and serve our members! The coffee shop across the road from the shop i work has more staff at any given hour then we do! I have updated my CV and started looking this week. You will say speak to my manager. He has showen me tara and the hours on it. He stays after we his shift ends to try and get in a good place. You are taking advance of people like this, because when there go it will fall down! welfare of staff also not havingbreaks is another one. Its hard on the shopfloor but talk back will be ok because we have a little box to fill in. You need to invest in your staff! Before you dont have none!

    • Hi ‘I cant be no superman’, We understand your concerns and are very sorry to hear you don’t enjoy your current role within the Co-op. In regards to pay and store hours Steve answers a few of these questions in his Q&A video. Here’s a link; I hope you find this useful and it shows that this is something Steve is aware of. ^Sophie

  20. I think 198 comments (as at time of writing) is some sort of a record for the Intranet?

    Could someone in Social confirm that?

    Could you also get Steve to come on here and give a commitment that things will be done differently now?

    Could the head of Talkback come on to confirm that this is the last year of Talkback?

    The hard-working and long suffering people at the front line deserve better.


    • Hi Millie, Steve has written to colleagues explaining the importance of filling Talkback in, our senior leaders are listening. Comments from this blog post and social media will also be fed back too. Thanks, ^Scott

      • Im sorry but that is pretty poor. He is failing to recognise there is a major problem. Until he does then you will lose good people. Poor show Co-op.

    • Things will never be done differently. You either accept it and have a working life filled with misery and uncertainty whilst keeping a faux smile on your face so you appear to be “Being Coop” or you apply for other jobs and get a good nights sleep as the rest of the desperate charlatans on the board sink with their poorly managed ship.

      • It all good, but what if you haven’t received the talkback because they don’t know what section you fit in because there have been so my re organisations with the funeralcare business. So that means I wont get my chance to air my views

  21. Dear Mr Co-op….prepare yourselves for a rough ride on the Talkbacks this year.

  22. I have no idea why people are complaining and being negative. The co op is a great place to work. To me it’s paradise. A little bit of heaven on earth

    • Hi “Happy Chappy”, it’s lovely to hear you enjoy working at our Co-op. I hope you’ve filled in your Talkback this year. ^Catherine

      • ever heard of sarcasm?

        the last two sentences feel a bit of overkill – but then it may well be genuine 🙂

  23. co-op…. you need to act on these comments….all your replies say fill in talkback or contact the hotline number….but lets face it… no one in the co-op gives a damn…… long as figures are reached…. soon to be ex employee at the uncaring co-op…..good riddance when I do…….

  24. Hi there, have you completed your Talkback form this year? It’s important that we do get a clear view of how everyones feeling. We’re feeding comments back too. ^Scott

    • Scott it is now impossible to fill in the Talkback online; when you log in it just brings you to the colleague stories page! I’ve emailed HR support etc but had no response as yet. Has the plug been pulled on Talkback? We deserve answers.

  25. Hi Peter, I’m glad you have supporting colleagues, I’m not sure where some of the other comments around greed and barcodes have come from. Please make sure you complete your Talkback and have your say. ^Scott

  26. I have recently joined the Co-Op after working for another retailer for over 10 years and I have to say I was really excited to join an organisation that had such a long history and have values and ethics at its core. Now less than 6 months later I am about to leave. I have never experienced such a thoroughly disorganised company.

    There is a culture of bullying that is in the organisation, area managers are behaving in ways that are not acceptable. The systems in the shops are frankly a joke. The workload on colleagues and managers is not realistic, people are not getting days off, holidays are being cancelled, stores are barely surviving.

    I have never experienced such a mess of a company, it is beyond a joke, you have a beautiful head office, yet stores are in such poor states of repair.

    I am working over 65 hours a week and even doing these hours, tasks are not getting completed. Days off, you get disturbed by Whatsapp. When did Whatsapp become an official form of business communication? What happened to work life balance.

    Before you say have I spoke to my area manager, the answer is yes and raising legitimate concerns brands you as negative. I mean why would a store manager want to raise concerns about his team and the hours the managers are working? This suggests that I care about my team and this seems to be discouraged in the Co-Op

    I feel a sense of relief that I am lucky enough to be able to escape from this company and deeply regret ever joining.

    You cannot run a company in this way, every day someone in a store is begging for staff to cover shifts and everyone is in the same boat. I try and make sure that colleagues get some sort of break, so this means I do not. Quite often I do a 12 to 13 hour day and do not get a break.

    If the senior directors read any of these comments, then you should be ashamed of the way the Co-Op is being run.

    So after less than 6 months, I am leaving and it is with a deep sense of anger, frustration, regret and sorrow. I have met some truly lovely people, who genuinely care and go the extra mile every day and the Co-Op abuses there goodwill. You cannot continue to abuse your people in this manner, long term you are going to be losing quality, experienced people to companies that do actually give a damn.

    Ways of being Co-Op

    This is the biggest joke going.

    If anyone at senior level is reading, then ban Whatsapp as a communication tool, recognise bullying is a reality and is happening every day, people are not getting breaks and days off and that if you continue to ignore feedback, you will ultimately fail as an organisation

    • This is concerning to read, we do have a confidential number which you can report your concerns to, the number is 0844 728 0165. Have you filled your Talkback form in? Thanks ^Scott

      • What is the purpose of phoning a number, if the organisation cared, it would monitor the number of hours that managers and assistant managers are working, they would listen to the feedback about hours, they would ban out of hours communication, they would realise that there are serious issues in Food stores, workloads are unrealistic, people are stressed out, people are drained and exhausted. I answered the phone the other day and the person on the other end said, I finally had that defeated tone in my voice, which meant that the Co-Op had broken me, welcome to the club.

        Is this the way the business wants to operate? Surely someone must look at all these comments and think, you know what me might actually have some problems and that maybe we should act.

        As for Talkback, no I haven’t as I genuinely believe that it wont make the slightest bit of difference. You as an organisation have a duty of care for you employees and at the moment, you are failing utterly.

        Thank you for your response, I suspect that you have not experienced the grim reality of life in a shop run by the Co-Op, but I appreciate your response.

        • Hi there, all comments from this blog post and social media will be fed back to all senior leaders. It’s really important that you fill your Talkback in or nothing will ever change. Personally, I have worked in our food stores for a number of years, as have many colleagues in our support centre. Thanks, ^Scott

    • Ex store,

      What you describe all came about in Food a few years ago just after Murrells arrived and the hundred comments from Funeralcare sound in some ways like history repeating itself.

      Back then the Food business was very bloated with people doing jobs that werent needed and quite rightly a restructure happened.

      This happens all the time but as you see in the news with any other business they come out and state ‘we’ll lose x jobs over the next 3 years’ and then behind the scenes they use that time to go about things carefully, giving the people they want to keep shiny new job titles and manoeuvering people who arent contributing towards the exit, creating a leaner business but not at the cost of it’s staff and customer-facing cultures.

      At The Coop of course we do things differently, which meant a rapid, indiscriminate slash and burn of staff at every level.

      This created a situation where the people with get up and go got up and left, while the ones who’d been around long enough to be promoted to their own level of incompetence clung on at all costs, knowing they’d not get it as good anywhere else.

      So now you have staff everywhere, most importantly in leadership positions, who aren’t good enough and are in full self-protection mode. Even if they weren’t previously they’ve become sycophants, unapproachable, unwilling to solve problems or even acknowledge any exist due to lack of ability and fear of failure. In the Coop it is far more important to look like you know what you’re doing to your boss than be an effective employee.

      What’s more it’s a few years since all this happened now so what was left of the ‘doers’ have either disengaged or been mopped up and bullied out of the door, taking the last remaining healthy management practices with them.

      Only way to fix this? 3 steps: You need the people at the top to recognise it (they havent), hire a wave of new talent at ground level (which means no more b.s. 50k+ jobs for the suits to waste money on vanity projects so we can pay a better rate to get the best store managers). And lastly they need to be encouraged and protected while they work their way up, smacking their heads off the brick wall of the current culture until it finally crumbles (not get broken inside 6 months).

      No-one knows anyone who ever regretted leaving the Coop, good luck.

    • Ref to soon be an ex store manager,
      I totally agree with everything you say,i have worked for coop for over 27 years,
      I stepped down from a store manager,as like yourself,i was working 60+hours a week,7 days a week.
      Yes there is bullying out there from higher ranks,its been going on for years,but others are scared to speak up in fear of their job.
      Since stepping down as store manager,i work 39 hours,not 1 more,go home and forget about the job,where before,it was on my mind 24/7.
      I no longer go the extra mile,as nothing is appreciated,
      im slightly more happy in my job role now,because if anythings wrong with the store or cant get staff cover,thats the store managers problem.
      Always has been,always will be.

    • Every word you have written is so accurate. Company is becoming a joke. Every member of staff constantly stressed. I am not a lazy person but what is being asked of employees is getting beyond ridiculous. Not to mention health and safety issues. Working 1 on 1. One member of staff in front of shop and 1 in back of shop. Accident waiting to happen. Do higher management care? Think not!!!! As long as money keeps ringing in to the checkout no-one gives a stuff about staff welfare.

    • Well said! I am an ex store manager who gave up the job because of the long hours l was having to work and felt like I was constantly treading water. The business is going round in circles and none of the area managers and above have the courage to tell it as it is at store level. Only positive feedback is acceptable!!! That’s why talkback is a joke! If the results are poor then it’s looked upon as the store managers problem when the fact is that the business has cut the hours to impossible levels. I’m pleased you have been able to see the reality after only six months and have the good fortune to get out before it grinds you down! Good luck in your new job!

  27. Peter Morrison, I salute your bravery sir. I agree with every word you say about our colleagues, and the shocking route this business seems to be taking. Arrogant middle management who don’t care, as long as they have the shiny new job title – many totally unqualified for their role, but the job spec goal posts moved especially for them because they are “in with the in crowd”. I wish I had the courage to be as open as you, but I’d be swiftly for the chop & have kids to feed.

  28. If I have gained one thing from all these comments, it is that I no longer feel as though I am going mad. I thought it was just me and my area colleagues who felt so low, under valued, disheartened, angry, frustrated, and completely disgusted with the way ‘Our Caring Coop’ is headed. Management do not care about us or the families who are bereaved, they do care about profit and sales. I do this job because I am compassionate, caring and genuinely want to help my families say goodbye to their loved ones in their own unique way, and I’m sure all my colleagues in all areas of the country feel the same. Unfortunately, our management know that we are all of the above. they know that we will stay late without overtime, go the extra mile for our families and continue to show them in a good light, and more importantly continue to make big profits for the Coop. I was so happy when I started working at the Coop 7 years ago, however I don’t feel happy now. The final straw for me was when a colleague of 20 years service had a family bereavement and had to go to a competitor to get a much lower quote in order that her employer, yes the Coop, could price match. How do you think that made her feel after 20 years loyal service? We are all just a number now with the Coop, loyalty and commitment is no longer rewarded. Morale is at an all time low and unfortunately I don’t see it changing anytime in the future. To all my colleagues out there, well done for all the hard work you do.

  29. Hi Eram, all comments both here and on social media are being fed back to leaders across the business. This happens every week, not just during Talkback so that people across the business are aware of what our colleagues are interested in and are talking about each week. ^Catherine

  30. Well said I agree with everything you have stated

  31. Hi JRM, we’re glad you enjoy working with us. We’re passing on all our colleague’s feedback to senior leaders. Thanks for your honest feedback. ^Sophie

    • Hi Co-op Colleagues, Talk about only seeing the bits you want to see and not the other 20 lines on how disheartened JRM is

  32. HI Christine, The Digital team have been working with colleagues in Funeral homes across the country to see what tools and services they can develop to help improve efficiencies. You can read about this on the blog here; ^Sophie

    • The feedback in respect of the Digital element of the business is interesting. As a former user of Timetabling system – I am particularly interested in how responsive the system where bookings are to be made will be, especially when the new systems are cascaded to all our funeralhomes. I fully respect that the Digital experts are experts, but as a former user of a system which could and did cause some IT glitches, I am really interested in the safety for all IT users.
      Thanks for directing me to the progress thus far it is interesting.

  33. Sorry to hear you’re not happy with our replies. We’re doing our very best to ensure that both colleagues and senior leaders are getting as much info as possible. ^Sophie

  34. Can you consider giving me a ring so I can do what I can to help and hopefully answer any questions you have directly? My mobile is 07850 415576. if you’d prefer to email my email is


    • Yer it would be good to talk to Staff but in all honesty I think if you said anything they don’t like you’d be hounded out somehow

  35. I don’t think I need to add any more to this discussion to be honest – anyone who takes the time to read through any half a dozen or so of these threads will easily get the picture of the overall feeling and issues which many colleagues in all areas of the business have expressed. The general theme is described over & over & over again so I’m sure our senior management will not be able to ignore this and it will have to be addressed.

    I sympathise greatly with many of our colleagues experiences and commend them for continuing perform admirably in very difficult and trying circumstances.

    Lets Talkback !

  36. We’re very sorry to hear this ‘Fed up’. Have you seen what the digital team have been working on with our Funeralcare teams? Here’s a blog post with some more info, This is an example of how the business are trying to help with ease and efficiencies within Co-op Funeralcare. ^Sophie

  37. Hello Anonymous, I’m sorry to hear that you feel like you’re not supported in your role and your questioning how much longer you can work for Co-op Funeralcare. I hope that you are speaking to your line manager about your concerns, because even through restructure colleagues should still being supported. I hope you fill in Talkback this year and tell the Co-op where you think things aren’t working like you have done here. The feedback is valuable. ^Catherine

  38. Same as funeralcare why change when it works in the past !!

  39. Coop in not a bad company by any means and they do try to do the right thing (a lot of the time).
    From the people I know and work with I get a huge sense of generally being fed up and frustrated. What I’ve noticed having been here for 4 years is that the same projects just do a loop as well as the same issues – we don’t learn from our mistakes, we almost enjoy doing everything the hard way and the ridiculous politics between business areas is crippling.
    I, like many others, are fed up of the lack of action, the overbearing politics, the amount of stress outweighing wages, the old school un-inspiring leaders within teams and more.

    I really do wish coop did things better because then maybe people wouldn’t be leaving or looking to leave. Sadly, I cant imagine Talkback is going to be hugely positive this year.

    • Thanks for your honest feedback, Vicky. Please make sure you pass on these comments via Talkback. ^Sophie

      • How can you “pass on these comments via talkback”?? There is only one freetext box asking for one suggestion for a change – the rest are simply carefully selected questions from which you can create statistics and reports that make things look better. Forget Talkback – READ THE COMMENTS HERE – you don’t need anything else to see that this business is in a serious mess.

  40. Well said….. couldn’t have said it better myself! You have hit the nail on the head!!!! Why are management at the top not listening to the great, committed people on the front line…. as it is US who do the tremendous work with our clients that keep this business going! They seem to forget this. Another thing I have noted……. management will wave goodbye at the drop of a hat to front line staff that wish to move on due to the current situation in Co-Op. It is becoming apparent that management think… ‘ no problem, we will replace them’… but what they don’t realise is, yes, they can replace the role…. but can they replace good, reliable, hard working, committed and loyal people that the clients feel confident with that always go that extra mile…….??? Not always!!!!

  41. Every few months in food , we continue to lose man hours . After nearly 30 years of being a loyal member of staff, I have never worked in the manner that is expected now. Frequently , from 5.45am to 5pm with no realistic chance of taking a break. 3 days ago, I purchased a sandwich and attempted to get a break because I felt light headed and faint. I couldnt even get to the canteen, as customers are constantly asking for assistance. I helped two customers and foolishly continued my attempt to get a break, I almost made it to the canteen but then heard ” All available staff to the checkouts” . Well, I almost threw my sandwich, in a rage, but bit my lip and returned to the checkouts still clutching my snack. 45 minutes later, I took it back to the colleague who served me and asked for a refund, as it was obvious I wasnt going to get a break. THAT is a typical day in a busy food store with insufficient staffing. Wasting all our time trying to do 6 jobs at once and not getting any of them finished ! The way we operate is a JOKE. Recently trying to implement a huge , new merchandising plan on Health and Beauty whilst all our competitors are preparing for xmas and laughing at us !
    It was a promotion changeover today, and guess what , we get a brief message on the daily bulletin, telling us we wont have the correct tickets in our weekly promo package. Does anyone actually realise just how inefficent we are ?? I spend most of my day walking around from one job to another , and it is relentless all day long. Unpaid overtime everyday, and I just give up attempting to get a break. Why the hell, have I wasted my entire working life with this disgraceful pantomime ? I used to be proud to work at the Coop, I’m now too ashamed and embarrassed to tell people where I work. I suppose, one good thing is, Its convenient to buy a lottery ticket on my way out and hope I never have to return ! Will anyone realise, when you cut staff as drastically as we are doing, Sales will continue to fall, until it reaches a level that we can cope with !

    • same in funeralcare sadly

      • Same in my area too. Morale no longer exists. People doing more for less and are expected to be grateful. My colleagues are angels, we’re in it together, but suffer as a unit.

    • Hi “Disgrunteld”, I’m sorry to hear that you are not taking the breaks that you are entitled to. I would advise that you speak to your manager and HR about this as you should be taking every break you’re entitled to. I hope that you are taking this opportunity to fill in Talkback honestly so that the results reflect how you feel and managers can listen to the problems you have listed and make improvements. ^Catherine

  42. How saddening to read all these negative posts, a few I could understand as you can’t please all the people all the time. This however is something totally different, this is a business with a major core problem and that problem is that the people are totally disengaged. I am dreading to see what this years Talkback results will be. I work in logistics and its been a long time since I came into work ‘full of the joys of spring’ due to the blame culture that I constantly work under. No thanks only a kick in the pants……….that’s modern day Co-op logistics.

    • This years talkback will be a white wash of positive comments as people particularly in store are coached through the questions so the results come back with a better result for each store. This message of coaching comes from the top so you will never truly get an honest survey. sad but true.

    • Hi Neil, I’m sorry to hear you feel this way about working in your team. I hope you take the opportunity to fill in Talkback and give your honest feedback about your team and your manager. I hope you are also raising your concerns with your manager so they can be addresses. A blame culture is not very co-operative at all. ^Catherine

      • CO-OP Colleagues you have not read my comment correctly. There is nothing wrong with my team or my line manager. I said the issue was modern day logistics and the culture is set by the senior leaders.

  43. We’re very sorry to hear this. We are communicating these comments back to the business and will continue to do so. We hope you’ve included this feedback in your Talkback survey and that changes will be made to make you feel proud to work with us again. Thanks ^Sophie

    • How many times does it need to be communicated back. No one listens. We shouldn’t have to rely on staff who work well over contract because we can’t recruit even though the overtime that is going out is at the ridiculous stage. As a team manger I shouldn’t be getting paid less than the cleaner, who I don’t grudge the wage, but having a whole store resting on shoulders deserves a fair crack at raise, and FYI I shouldn’t have to move store to get it.

    • Same old story not a thing will happen

  44. So where is it?? No link to Talkback in the article – nothing on the home page, no code given to us by management (in fact, no mention of it at all). How can I complete it if there’s no sign of it?
    If I am told ‘go and ask your manager’ – I will respond “why?” It is YOUR job to provide this to me – not for me to have go round requesting access to it or looking for some hidden icon somewhere on the intranet.

    • Hi “Arranger”, Talkback can be found here: I’m concerned to hear your manager has not informed you or your team about this and would encourage you to speak to them about this as you need to get your teams access code from them to complete the survey. If you have difficulties getting the access code please contact the HR team immediately. ^Catherine

  45. Talk back is pointless, nothing ever gets done about it, we didn’t even have talk back results last year. Moral is down in funeral care. I know of at least 80% of my team are looking for employment elsewhere. Managers do nothing to help and support staff. We are treated as numbers not as individuals. As long as the co-op are making money then everything is fine and dandy, but in reality the job is stressful and everyone is pushed to their limits and nothing is ever done about it. Absolutely lost faith in this company

    • Hi “Big Sigh”, I’m concerned to hear that you didn’t get your Talkback results last year. This should not be happening at all. Every manager should be talking their team through the results and sharing the results.Please do raise this with your line manager or the HR team so they can look into why this has not happened. ^Catherine

      • Catherine……….. your concerned to hear they didn’t get their talk back results
        but your not in the slightest bit concerned that 80% of the funeral services operatives are currently looking for another job!?
        How easy do you think it is to find people for these positions?

  46. Whilst I can’t comment on behalf of my colleagues in Food, The Support Centre or Insurance, I’ve read a number of comments here which are in the main critical of the current changes in Funeralcare. This on line forum is a great way for you to tell us how you feel and I know our Executive does read them. A more valuable forum to make changes happen is putting your views down on your on line survey so that we have a definite picture of how things are. This is not just about doubts for the future but also asking your views on other things such as about your relationship with your line manager, how do you feel about your terms and conditions and work place environment, have you been bullied, do you feel safe at work and so on.

    In Funeralcare we have gone through some leadership changes which have had a destabilising effect in the short term. As a result some really good people have left or are soon to leave the business and I personally thank them for their contribution to our business.

    I love this business with a passion but realise that to continue to grow we need to change. We have increased the number of supervisors in our business considerably, meaning that a line manager will be responsible for around 12- 15 colleagues normally rather than the ratios where this was more like 40 or 50 (how could that be right or fair for anyone?). Our new colleagues are still bedding into there new roles but I am convinced this is the right thing for our clients and colleagues.

    In terms of the overtime the challenging market conditions at the moment mean we have a duty to control costs where we can. This should never affect the way we look after our families though. I note there are many some comments from funeral arrangers about feeling that they need to seek permission for overtime. The request is really for lone managers not colleagues where we know we have planned work that may need us to work over. Its really down to the supervisor to seek permission from his or her line manager not the colleague themselves.

    I’m sure I can speak for my fellow Heads of Operations to say “Our families come first”. If a family walks into your funeral needing your services then of course you will give them everything you can and if it happens to be at closing time and you are able to look after them then of course we will ensure you are paid.

    The Talkback survey is not the only way for you to voice your worries and concerns. I would advise anyone, especially those who have been brave enough to note the views on this forum to contact there Head of Operations with their worries and concerns. We will listen and investigate, despite what has been said so far.

    We should all be facing the client, the families in our care, with the right support and resources. Where this is not happening then please contact us directly.

    David Collingwood

    • Unfortunately david we all hear these things all too often, why do we need to keep going to our line managers or regionals when they don’t care either. If you have seen these complaints on here from all these unhappy employees then why not listen and do something about it.

      There are so many things that need addressing at ground level first, we hear all the time that the coop is going through hard times and we need to make cuts etc but yet we must waste millions on changes to literature and re-branding, god only knows how much we must be spending on the digital side which we now hear rumours its not happening. All this while getting shut of our most experienced members of staff.

      Transparency is a word that we hear a lot too yet none of the changes that we are going through we have known anything about before they have happened, it is anything but transparent and quite honestly we are going to lose a lot more hard working, dedicated staff. I work in Funeralcare, I love my job, I’m just so unhappy with the company at present. I’m sure it is not just short term either.

    • David perhaps you could come and talk to us face to face at a Hub Meeting. It really is scary to read all these comments and really saddens me. We haven’t had Team Briefs for months and Communication is sadly lacking as our Managers do not have the answers. I believe you are going to Blackburn perhaps you could call at Preston the same day? A friend of mine persuaded me to come to work for the Co-op 8 years ago, I have loved the job for 7 years, the last year has made me very unsettled and team Morale is very low here. Please if not yourself, could someone come and see us soon before it’s too late for this company?

      Thank you

    • Fair play David for fronting up and replying in person.

      I hope people are feeling confident enough to contact you directly with particular issues.

      It would be nice if you could get the transcript of these comments circulated at the highest level. Even better if they feel motivated to take positive action.

      See if you can get a video from Alan Leighton maybe with a statement that the overtime ban is henceforth lifted…

    • ‘In terms of the overtime the challenging market conditions at the moment mean we have a duty to control costs where we can’

      Some people in my area just drive around in the Ambulance all day looking for things to do…. When I was an FSO I was either sent home or went home when there was no work. People on 16hr/ 20hr contracts doing 40+hrs……Coming in at 6:30 every morning (God knows why) Going home at 3:30pm but yet writing down 16:30-17:00……

  47. Whoever designed the new arrangement form has obviously never arranged a funeral.
    99% of important questions are crammed onto three pages with tiny spaces to write anything and three pointless pages !

  48. Working in IT has given many engineers the opportunity to visit Funeral Branch sites across the UK and NI and we all agree the members of staff working at each and every branch were the kindest colleagues we have ever come across. Although very busy each and every branch had a special buzz and enthusiasm about them and were very accommodating. Reading these comments is just WOW. COOP listen to these valuable staff and support them before losing them.

    • Hi “Jimmyhardnails”, it’s lovely to hear you and your team have such respect for your Funeralcare colleagues. This is why Talkback exists so that leaders across the business can listen to colleague honest feedback and make the changes where it needs to happen. ^Catherine

  49. I could not agree more. I too am very saddened by what is happening to the company. I’ve worked in Funeralcare for just over a year and things have gone from bad to worse in recent months. Our EPL is off sick, who knows how long for?? Leaving the other EPL to manage 5 care centres across 4 counties, not exactly the support we were promised as a result of the restructure.
    Morale is at an all time low, first it was our commission, then double discount and now over-time, what’s next?

  50. Saddened

    To put it directly……

    You have valued and committed colleagues from all areas of the business voicing concerns about conditions you expect them to work under…. I really hope you listen to these colleagues and make a difference going forward

    Sadly …… I don’t think you will, and to here the recent news around the Nisa talks only compounds the issue

    If you were confident about receiving a positive Engagement score then why are we receiving communication to focus on theses 5 key questions that will drive that score up !!!!!!!!!!!

    Really …..

    its a shame

    • Hi “Not Surprised”, This is why Talkback exists so that colleagues can give their honest feedback each year. This along with other means are used so that colleague voices are heard and changes happen where they can. I’m not sure what comms you’ve had about focusing on 5 key questions. After every Talkback managers should be talking to their entire team about the result. If this is not happening in your store please speak to your Manager or Area Manager. ^Catherine

    • It’s so sad to hear all these comments, but even more so to find them not unexpected. I’ve worked in food stores for nearly 15 years, and I’ve seen coops decline. I’ve voices it multiple times across the years in all forms of the “talk back” surveys. To be blunt, nothing has been changed except for systems that look like they work. They may even work great in the more privileged stores, but here, on my patch, we are sufferer in terribly. In a managers meeting, it was noted by the area manager that hours were cut back too far, and then nothing further was said. People are voluntarily stepping down form management becuase the work load is too great. The stress that has been placed upon us is unfair and unjustified. I detest coop and it’s selfish ways, I honestly thought the loss at the bank would teach them a lesson, but instead, it has shown our corrupt the company has become. Couldn’t care less to what happens to them next, I’m planning on leaving, good luck to those that remain and I applied your strength to try and keep this monster alive.

    • Apologies for the typing mistakes, I am pretty angry to be honest. I can see the struggle is as harsh for us all and that the upper echelons seem to feel that we are expendable. Well good luck with an empty company coop, becuae that’s what’s happening.

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