Our Group Talkback results are out today. I’m pleased to say that our Group engagement score remains high at 75%, with just a small dip from 78% in 2016. This is the third year that we’ve had consistently good levels of engagement.

Overall these are encouraging results in a challenging year, though there are some big variations across different teams that concern me. Right across our businesses we’ll be looking carefully at the results and what we need to do to make our Co-op a better place to work.

Here’s a short update from me on where we are as we move towards the end of the year, including my thoughts on the results.

NOTE: we know you can’t watch videos in store. This is available on our YouTube channel (search ‘Co-op Colleagues’) for you to watch from any device – or you can read the transcript.

You can take a look at a summary of our Group results here.

We’re sharing the Group level results now in the spirit of openness, but recognise we’re going into a very busy Christmas period for our customer facing businesses, so your line managers will set-up team conversations around your specific results in the New Year.

Thank you for everything you’re doing.


Join the conversation! 36 Comments

  1. Hi Dan – this one is a bit off topic and not a route to ask Steve questions, so not the right forum for your question. There’s a blog post on here from Nick Crofts that talks about our position on this. Also , look out for the next Q&A with Steve on colleague stories and Facebook so you can ask him directly. ^Laura

  2. I want to talk about facts, I have seen some facts.

    The talkback deadline for 2016 was 21st November – and this is a fact.

    The talkback deadline for 2017 was 20th September – I am not playing mind games, just facts.

    Redundancies in GI were announced 19th October 2017 – We need to know that I am talking about facts, not my impression.

    You can analyse the facts and come to your own decision and ideas.

    • Hi Rafa,

      Talkback was particularly late last year and we only got the results back early this year. Ideally we do the survey and get the results of the feedback within the same year, which means a September launch date. ^Laura

    • I believe talkback last year was postponed for something big happening in Food. I can’t remember what. So it must have been memorable.

  3. Surely the main message that comes out of Talkback every year is stop cutting hours and giving unrealistic task times on Tara? The fact that these are worse than ever and are never mentioned in the results blurb shows that Talkback is a fraud

  4. Are we going to get results from GI? I’ll be shocked if 75% is any of the results. People in GI are not happy.

  5. Tara is a total waste of money – the hours are a joke and it is SO hard to accurately forecast your sales 3 weeks in advance ceretainly at this time of year. stores get NO support from above, just pick pick pick. no wonder good staff and managers are leaving. Something HAS to change to improve staff morale.

  6. Hi everyone,

    These results are for the whole of the Co-op and reflect feedback from the 50,000 colleagues that completed the survey. They’re collected by an external company who make sure they’re accurate and maintain colleague confidentiality.

    As Steve says, we know there are some big variations between teams and we’re committed to looking at how we can make things better for colleagues everywhere.

    If you’re at all concerned about managers trying to influence the results, please contact your HR team or one of our other colleague support routes that can be found on the contacts section of the Colleague site (https://colleagues.coop.co.uk/contacts). This shouldn’t ever happen, but we can only do something about it if we hear about it through the right channels and can investigate.


  7. It does seem to be a case of willful blindness when everyone can see Talkback is a such a complete crock of something smelly except the people at the top of the organisation.

    It doesn’t do Steve any good to associate himself with something that has such low credibility on the shop floor.

  8. The scores on the doors are back and have no doubt been “massaged” to make things look brighter than they are. 52% engagement at Funeralcare, must be the worst ever, isn’t that a message in itself. People are still leaving in droves and those that are left are holding the fort but for how much longer. The latest message from “up top” is that over the coming weeks and months that people are going to be listening and finding out what we want? you’ve had the feedback what don’t you understand? The Funeral side of the business is funerals not a shop or retail, can we have some people that listen that know and understand funerals, not people that only seem to understand retail. Maybe if they tried to fit into funerals instead of trying to turn funerals into retail they might just “get” what its all about.

  9. Wait for the Funeralcare stats

  10. Oh you have got to love talkback, What a pointless exercise. Complete waste of time as nothing changes. We will be seeing similar results next year and the same issues cropping up. How about the senior management team spend a reasonable amount of time at stores (not the odd day here and there) to see the daily challenges instead of asking everyone to complete a survey then doing nothing with it

    • They should do “Undercover Boss” it’s the only true way to see what things are really like on the shop floor.

  11. Very poor results indeed. Although a lot of management are hard done by due to the hours that are set for them, there is a drastic action that could be taken to help managers engage colleagues more professionally and friendlier. With this setting goals business, most line managers will forget about the talkback in a couple months, leaving it un-actioned until the next one where the whole cycle repeats itself.

    • I have this awful gnawing feeling that I’ve read the Co-op’s response to the talkback survey in a previous life.It mirrors last years answer,the year before and the year before that too.I’d say a lot of staff have to put up with being told of changes at 5pm on a Friday to be in place 9.00am Monday.It’s uncomfortable to read and hear about management policies that are bulldozed through.The way the staff are being let go and replacing them takes forever fact…if replaced at all.It’s a hard slog at the moment,no doubt we can put all this on next years talkback too.

  12. Hi, When will we get individual store results?

    • Hi Collin – your manager should be planning team conversations around your store results in the New Year when the busy Christmas trading period is over. ^Laura

  13. Is it possible to get this result broken down into individual areas? I used to believe in the ethics of the Co-op, but these seem to be sadly lacking these days.

    • Hi Maureen – the business unit results (e.g. Food, Funeralcare etc) will be announced very shortly, if not already, and all line managers with teams of five or more will get their results over the next few weeks, with team conversations due to happen in January after the busy Christmas period.^Laura

  14. Thank god I thought it was just me being paranoid I to am a manager of 25 years and so far this year I have been harassed relentlessly by an area manager because I say we cannot do the job on such pitiful hours and we do not have time to shuffle bits of paper just because he wants it. Nothing gets done when you speak up. Everyone is fed up and morale at rock bottom, we will always look after our customers as that’s what we do the job for but there is certainly no loyalty for the coop and the treatment they love to dish out to the colleagues, but it is all boys together when it come to higher management. COOP its time to REALLY listen

    • Its like a rollercoaster. Back in the dark old days of S3 in 2014 I recall an area manager telling us he was seriously told off on the quiet for speaking ill of S3 and the associated cuts in a regional meeting, such was the business feeling towards the necessity of S3. There was a lot of bad handling of S3, especially the redundancies that were necessary in some stores. Talkback scores went down.

      Then in 2015/16 there was an air of “ok we cut too deep too soon” and a bit of relenting from the business, investment in busy times, LAF was stepped up and a bit of honesty prevailed. Talkback scores went up.

      Now in 2017 we’re back to the dark days of “speak up and get your P45”. That’s seriously how it feels. But nobody dares fill their talkback out badly because of the reflection on their direct manager, and the fact that actually, they are quite nice people but they have to be strict and nasty with us due to their higher-ups piling on pressure.

      Talkback is flawed. It needs sorting out so it is a direct reflection on the BUSINESS and not the rather nice people we have working here. Lets have two sections to it: “What I think of my manager” and “What I think of the business”.

      • Hi Anon,

        Talkback is handled by an external partner to make sure its 100% confidential, but you should never feel this way about speaking up.

        As Helen mentions in her comment further up this thread, if you feel you can’t speak to your manager, do speak to HR or the colleague contacts on the colleague site (https://colleagues.coop.co.uk/contacts ) as we can only help if we know what’s happening. ^Laura

  15. blah blah blah, quelle surprise!!! Jackanory tell a story…..complete and utter fabrication but absolutely not surprised. If I was a betting person, I would have put my house on this ‘outcome’. disgraceful you think you can treat the staff like this. Grow some and tell it as it really is!!!

  16. 65% Is what I expected. I had an idea dismissed out of hand by management and by sheer force eventually got it put through with little cost and great benefit (users feedback has been fantastic). Not being listened to is an indicator of the corporate culture here. We don’t operate like a co-op, we operate just like everyone else as far as management relations go. An apology in a meeting doesn’t end up going into the official paperwork for example, so that no liability has to be accepted. Well done HR and management.

  17. At a corporate level this all sounds great. But at the shop floor things are terrible. Its a fact that for sometime we have been struggling and there is a culture that if we say otherwise we will be replaced (FACT). Tara time for tasks such as deliveries is so unrealistic its beyond a reasonable person to complete the work to any standard other than rushed. I mean, for example, we all expect faced up food stores, but the ‘desired presentation level is achieved when filling, Tara does not provide hours for facing up’. Is a direct quote from the Tara team. Lets get real and provide hours for what the middle management EXPECT.

    • Or lets get middle management to actually focus on what matters. If your AM says “why aren’t you faced up” tell them it’s because you’re not supposed to be.
      Just because they expect it doesn’t mean it’s right.

  18. Have they changed the scoring metric again?? No but on a more serious note, I know why the talkback score is so high. As a manager, I don’t want a low talkback score, regardless of the general feeling towards the business, as I’m judged on that in my review. I even gave all my team pep talks before they did their survey, as I’m sure is commonplace. While ever we have manager accountability (and manager-level reporting) for talkback scores, we will never know the true feeling towards the group in general.

  19. 53%of managers got excellent feed back but that is only just over half what was the other 47% of feed back I don’t think that this is a very
    Good average it seems that there are a lot of unhappy staff

  20. 75% engagement means little. We know people were forced to complete them and others completed them many times over to push up the score.

  21. Good grief, this is a joke surely?…….am I in some sort of parallel world? Twilight zone perhaps? I saw some pretty damning comments on the talkback blog and I know certainly everyone in my unit is completely fed up.
    Well all I can say is thank goodness I am getting out. After 33 years in the funeral profession and 26 years as an FD with the Co-op I have called it a day and moving on to pastures greener. Being made redundant on March 30th, having no choice but to apply for a job I didn’t want and then being rewarded with a 25% pay cut was an insult too far. Thanks for your loyalty….

  22. Here we go again with the annual ritual that I honestly think is designed not to create meaningful change. We know that feedback is best when it’s given and responded to in a timely fashion and yet this process is creating a time lag of months between the feedback being provided and the response from leaders.

    It’ll be February next year before “leaders set themselves a goal based on Talkback”. Talk about privilege! Setting your own goals isn’t exactly an option that is widespread amongst colleagues.

    Based on past experience there will be a lot of steering groups and committees being formed next Feb. which will last just long enough to tick the box before quietly being abandoned.

    And to present such a summary of the results and show contradictory and confusing graphics is a crying shame and poor reward for the thousands of hours that went into providing the data. You are taking the mickey.

  23. I find these results very hard to believe after the level of unhappiness directed at the group earlier this year.

  24. Surprised by the outcome – I look forward to having a meeting with management in the New Year as we haven’t had any for a while, apart from A town hall meeting which after voicing our opinions a few of us were discussed and it got back to us that “we should watch our backs” because we had strong views. We have strong views because we care and want to do what’s right for our clients. As for getting ahead in the Co-op it’s not easy to move up the ladder in our area.

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