Scott Bennett will admit there’s a real possibility he might be sharing his 50-year Co-op anniversary story with us in 2048. Since the age of 13 he’s been working for us. Here he shares his career journey and some of his top tips on how to ‘get on’ in our Co-op.

Read all about it

I always wanted to be a store manager when I was younger. I used to shop in the Co-op with my mum and they always made a fuss of me.

Then I started a paper round at 13 and had such a good time working there I never wanted to leave.

Three years later I was put on payroll stacking shelves. At 18 I became a Team Leader, but looking back I was still learning how to talk to people then. People skills come with experience.

Scott working in store

It was really difficult to leave the store in Flixton as it felt like family to me but I moved to Taylor’s Rd almost to test myself. It was really challenging – a different community I didn’t know. But I just felt – these are the opportunities and you just have to grab them.

Scott’s top tips for ‘getting on’ in our Co-op

  • If you don’t ask, you don’t get
  • Put yourself forward
  • Be positive
  • Be yourself, always
  • Join a network or just network
  • It’s important just to talk – it doesn’t matter whether that person is more senior than you
  • Take on feedback and listen to the people around you

Onwards and upwards with Respect

In Taylor’s Rd we had a manager who was about to run a new store in Manchester. We were putting produce out together one day and I thought: I’d love to get into a high profile store, I’m going to ask her if there any roles going. So I did. That was about six years ago.

Then I started doing a lot of work with Respect, the Co-op’s LGBT+ network, so that linked me up with what was happening in One Angel Square, our support centre. It really opened doors as I was dealing with people across all of our businesses.

Scott at the Pride festival in Manchester

After a while I applied to become a Team Manager, went for my assessment, got a high mark but didn’t get the job.

For the first time in my career at the Co-op I felt there was a blocker there. I just thought –  ‘How can I progress and have a career that I really want?’ At the time I thought I might as well just work for Aldi but a friend I’d made through Respect told me about a job going in store support dealing with operational queries coming from colleagues on the phones – he helped me apply.

Moving from a very physical job to sitting down thinking and responding was really difficult for the first couple of months and I thought – is this for me?

I did that role for about a year but didn’t feel like it was challenging me enough. I was asked if I wanted to move over to customer support. That was a higher role band and was really challenging as it’s rare you get someone phoning up to say they love the Co-op!

Social media starts here

One day my Team Manager asked me to look after social media complaints. At that time I didn’t even have a Twitter account so I went on to see how other retailers were responding.

Three weeks in and I just thought, I absolutely hate this – it’s not something I’m enjoying. Then I met Jordan from the Social media team. We were always linked up and when he asked me to deal with something that came in, I’d be on the case and get back to him quickly.

Scott at Federation House

Three Social Media Community Manager roles came up in his team and I was starting to think – I’m going over the rainbow with this. I’ve gone from hating it to thinking it’s not too bad to loving it.

This job was two role bands higher and I was convinced I wasn’t going to get it – there were people applying with social media and marketing degrees.

Before I submitted my application I asked if I could go for a brew with Gail, the Head of Digital Engagement, to ask a few questions. Little things like that can make a big difference when you’re going for a job.

Learning on the job

As community managers we make sure that everything coming through our social channels from Facebook to YouTube is dealt with appropriately so that customers, colleagues and members are being listened and responded to.

It needs to be in the moment – it’s not about responding in five days. Our colleague community has grown on Colleague Facebook – it’s now 20,000. Working closely with our Colleague Comms team it shows that we’re giving our colleagues the right content.

At one point I couldn’t even send a tweet and now I’m running social media campaigns. I’ve been on a few training courses but I’ve learnt a lot on the job, and picked up a massive amount from my team.

Be yourself

There’s not a manual on how to be a good people person or how to progress. It’s about being yourself.

I’ve always been positive. Sometimes people find that unnerving – they’re a bit like – is that real? But if you don’t have that outlook on life then it drags you down and everyone else around you. Have a laugh and smile – that gets you far.

Join the conversation! 42 Comments

  1. I remember meeting you when you worked at the High Street store, trying to get things sorted for Manchester Pride (not as easy as it sounds…..!) You had such a positive and helpful outlook, it’s all credit to you and your hard work that you have done so well. Great story Scott and great tips on how to progress and move up!

  2. I’ve met Scott a few times around representing Co-op For pride…nothing was too much trouble and always there to help..always a smile on his face .esp (late into the night in Blackpool ha ha). A positive role model for the Co-op.

  3. Wow Scott such an inspiring blog I’m starting to look upwards but as a CTM I’ve got a way to go

  4. Well done Scott! Glad your doing well 🙂 Xx

  5. Fab story Scott, and really inspiring. And you’ve been a great support since I’ve started at the Co-op – thank you!

  6. This is great, well done Scott.
    Jo

  7. Brilliant…. Well done Scott 🙂

  8. Scott! I’m well proud of you

    xx

  9. I really enjoyed reading about your journey so far Scott and I’m sure you’ve a long way to go yet ! Well done to you for being so positive and pushing yourself to improve & achieve. Great to hear !

  10. Great story. I have really enjoyed reading. Well done, Scott

  11. Great story! Lots of really interesting things in there.

    Well done Jordan for not just hiring the ‘social media degree’ graduates and instead considering wider attributes of a candidate.

  12. Great, honest and uplifting story.

    Congratulations Scott

  13. Loved Sunday mornings chatting while we put the inserts in the papers Scott and working with you at Ambleside Road xx

  14. beautiful Scott my wha! so amazing you trained me at the co-op and even though I don’t work there anymore I’ve taken that training with me and it keeps me going! you are truly inspiring you wonderful being!

  15. Enjoyed this…thanks for sharing Scott

  16. What an inspirational and honest story. So glad you told it Scott.

    Jon

  17. I really enjoyed this. I am a firm believer in the Coop way of doing business and I understand totally why you are so committed to working here. :0)

  18. Lovely, what an inspiration Scott – such a great career story, that so many can take something from, and great to hear your personal drives in this too. Oh, and some AMAZING photo’s 🙂 love it.
    More of this please!

  19. What a great story – it’s great to see someone’s career develop in the Co-op. Well done Scott, Aldi’s loss is definitely the Co-op’s gain!

  20. Fabulous Scott – well done x

  21. Love this! Well done Scott! 😀

  22. Couldn’t agree more Scott! Lovely to hear your Co-op story.
    Love your positive vibes too.
    Debbie 😁

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Category

Be yourself always, Co-op leaders, Digital, Great place to work, People stories