We recently set-out our Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities ambition, and an important part of this is doing right by our colleagues, who will then do the right thing for our members and customers.

In the past we’ve used our annual Talkback survey to listen to our colleagues. This gives us really detailed insights, but doesn’t give us the timely results we need to make changes quickly.

So for 2018 we won’t be doing our annual Talkback survey, and instead we’ll ask for feedback more regularly, in these three ways:

  • Talkback Pulse – every month we’ll invite a representative sample of colleagues to share their views on a topic. Every colleague will get the chance to take part at least once a year. The shorter survey will run for two weeks, and Co-op wide results will be shown on a dashboard and a quarterly Exec level report. The first one will run from 2-15 May, and senior leaders will get the results within a fortnight.
  • Colleague Voice – in June we’ll launch the Colleague Voice Forum, after a successful pilot last year. Business and department specific forums will feed into it, so colleagues in all areas can take part.
  • Talkback Express – towards the end of 2018 we’ll introduce Talkback Express which will give flexible, local insight for specific projects.

We’ll also keep listening to your feedback through our online and social media channels and sharing your comments with relevant people in the business.

Get involved and have your say

If you’re asked to take part in Talkback Pulse please do, as we can only make changes if you give us your feedback.

By getting more timely feedback and insight, we’ll be able to understand and tackle issues much quicker, and in a more focused way than ever before.

If you have any questions, take a look at these Talkback Pulse Colleague FAQs

Helen Webb
Chief HR Officer

Join the conversation! 31 Comments

  1. Why oh why oh why are we even bothering with more of this shambolic Talkback nonsense I have been asking my manager since Christmas for the results and I have been told “after the busy period we will have a meeting to discuss the results”. I asked again in February to be told “due to the new managements structure no-one has got the results as of yet”. We are now in April and I have asked again to be told “no-one has got any talkback results”. How are we to trust our management teams when they are not being honest with us. Please can someone let us know if the results do actually exist and give us a good reason for us to partake in yet another useless exercise.

  2. Didn’t hear about mine either but because we had an armed robbery with no support afterwards I.e no 2 week security guard or safety improvements I’m not surprised.

  3. We have not seen our talkback results! We used to have a team brief with our manager, then posters were put up in all branches. But now they appear to be buried on the intranet, to which we are denied access.
    I take it this is because the results are less than favourable.

    • Hi Allan,
      We communicate the Co-op-wide results on here (colleague stories) where everyone has access to them and team results are emailed to managers to discuss with their teams – they aren’t put onto the Intranet.

      If you haven’t heard anything about your team results do ask your manager.
      Thanks, ^Laura

      • Hi there

        I think it might be useful to change the name of Talkback Express to Talkback Local or similar. This would make it clear that it is local, and avoid confusion with Talkback Pulse. From what I can see the objective of Talkback Pulse is to have more regular insights across the whole business. The title “Talkback Express” also suggests “more frequently” rather than “local”, so I think it would make things clearer if renamed.

    • Seems to be a common theme of many teams not having feedback from the results. How are we supposed to have confidence in our management teams when they tell us ‘we’ll be having meetings to discuss the results and we’ll take the results seriously’ and nothing happens! Whoever is monitoring these comments should be red flagging this up! If I promised to do something and didn’t I am sure I would have my manager on my back rather quickly.

  4. If the talkbacks were excellent we would have heard the cheers and backslapping all the way from Manchester.No doubt my talkback will be the same as last year and the year before that.Oh the silence on talkback results is deafening.If I performed in my role the way ‘some ‘people perform in theirs.I’d be unemployed by now.

    • Hi Mickey Mouse,
      The Co-op wide results were communicated on here in November last year, but for our customer facing teams results the team conversations were held off until the New Year to avoid the busy Christmas period.
      If you haven’t had a conversation yet do ask your manager. ^Laura

  5. Talkback could have worked if implemented correctly and with genuine effort. There was always the opportunity to make the right changes, but “we” opted for quick wins and only some of the most insignificant issues were addressed. Most things were ignored and some half hearted efforts at change were offered at best.Keep feeding back though, because there’s a chance that one day these surveys will be taken seriously by those at the top. It is then real changes will be made. Until then, it’s a box ticker “We give our staff a chance to talk back, etc”

  6. Talkback express appears not to be connected to the exec which takes away some of its power – if it’s only local it is less meaningful.

    • Hi there – Talkback Express isn’t quite the same as the old Talkback or Talkback Pulse and isn’t strictly linked.

      The Talkback team get lots of requests from around the business from projects and teams who want to get feedback from colleagues on specific things, so its just way of putting some guidelines around that. ^Laura

  7. Well we all knew that Talkback was widely derided so not a surprise that this is coming about.

    On the face of it change is good. Let’s think about how it will make things different.

    Less, more often means that there will need to be an acceptance that a small sample is still valid, even though it will be a “weak signal”.

    Having listened to leaders dismiss the unwelcome results of surveys of everybody with “well, that reflects what people were feeling then, but you have to remember that was a bad time for morale with all the redundancy rumours” I’m sure the idea that “it’s just a sample and therefore we need to see if it’s sustained in subsequent feedback” will become the default response for those people.

  8. Really looking forward to the Talkback changes, but disappointing to read so many colleagues have not yet discussed 2017 results or are talking it about the discussion with ‘trepidation’. I hope to see support for those line managers that maybe need help and support to empower them to manage the conversation in the right way for their teams.

  9. No talkback results for the last 3 years in my department!!! Maybe it would be an idea to e-mail the individuals in a team so that we at least have an idea of what’s going on since the code on the survey relates to the department. No wonder people refuse to complete it. Is it possibly that the result is so poor that management don’t want to have dialogue with their staff???? Communication at it’s best!

  10. People are so disheartened by the constant almost daily changes that as a result some really good ideas brought forward by central management tend to be berated whether they are useful or not. We really enjoy our roles, I work within Funeral care and I could not ask for a better team and our leadership is excellent. Please slow down just a little to allow people to take a breath and take stock of what we have before it is changed again.

  11. Haven’t heard talkback results yet, looking forward to it, I shall ask to see them at my yearly review, that’s what happened last year. We are still short staffed in the management area, ever since HQ axed all the Principle Funeral Directors who were worth their weight in gold with their experience, total support, and daily guidance for colleagues.

  12. Talkback like previous surveys has never made any difference to my place of work. its a tick box exercise with a narrow field. I enjoy working at my location our team and management work well together. The issues that cause major stress or problems are caused by changes made by people working hundreds of miles away who have no idea of the impact. Or have no idea that there could have been a solution if only they talked to the people that there decisions where going to impact. How many times have we seen restructuring and loss of jobs only to see in a year or two the job get reintroduced under a different title because they realised the role was needed. The people at the sharp end saw the problems coming years ago but no-one listened L&D in depots is a case in point bringing back internal MHE trainers.

    • I completely agree with your comment, it is the same for our store and the level of frustration my colleagues feel is not really a reflection of the management in our store, like you said it is the people who make the decisions miles away that impacts staff frustrations and leads to negative feedback.

  13. Hi there
    at Members’Council meeting last weekend , we heard from the Board Remuneration committee chair, how the feedback from Colleague engagement scores affected Executive bonus payments, and how this is changing in 2018.
    Could you explain how Talkback scores feed in to the bonus payments please, and how this will change with the new system you have outlined?


    • Hi Barbara – for a detailed answer on this it would be better to link in to one of your contacts and as a member of the National Members Council rather than this route. But in summary from this year, Senior Leaders will be measured on a balance scorecard of measures rather than just the usual business and personal performance. One of those measures is around ‘Colleague’ and Talkback results will be one of the things used to measure that. ^Laura

  14. Funeral care college waiting, with trepidation, to discuss last year’s talkback.

  15. We have yet to have our team talkback. It’s not looking like we are going to have one either.

  16. Hi, I agree with Alison. We haven’t had our 2017 Talkback discussions yet, as promised by David Collingwood in the video. Furthermore, we’re still waiting to discuss 2016 Talkback as a team too!!!!

    • I have been here 6 years and I only remember having a talkback meeting twice. Neither time were any of the actions implemented so it was a complete waste of time.

  17. Same here no team conversations

  18. We’ve yet to have feedback from last year’s talkback. It would be good to get that first so we can draw a line under it and move forward to the new system.

    • Hi Alison -you should have had team conversation about Talkback by now, so do ask your manager. We communicated the Co-op wide feedback last year, the business unit feedback (Food, Funeralcare etc) was earlier this year and should have been followed by local team conversations. ^Laura

      • I have asked my manager about them and given many excuses. First was that we were too busy around Christmas time to have the meetings so they would be done early in the new year (still not done and it’s April) and then when I asked again in March I was told that we weren’t having them due to the new management structure and that ‘no-one else has had one either’. When I went higher I was told that due to the poor results the meetings had been put on hold so that colleagues could be spoken to individually. Still nothing.

      • Comms team, is there a mechanism you can put in place for people to submit where staff have not had these feedback sessions and action can be taken where Managers have not cascaded to their teams. Sounds like the responsibility to cascade messages was clearly outlined but may in cases not have been actioned. To address all those concerns in the comments above, potentially give an upwards feedback and follow up loop to resolve peoples frustrations.

        The new process to build a quicker and more focussed feedback loop with the leadership team is fantastic. Lets make sure it works in practice… you’ve got our full support.

        Re-iterating your messages above, where people feel they have not had those talkback feedback sessions, ask your managers as they are responsible for communicating to the teams.

        • Hi there,
          Agree it sounds like quite a few people who commented here haven’t had the results shared with them by their manager and the opportunity to discuss, which is a real shame as it defeats the object of colleagues filling in the survey.

          Re: your suggestion – the comms team don’t own Talkback, its developed by the engagement team in HR, but if you have any great suggestions you can contact that team on talkback@coop.co.uk ^Laura

      • I’ve asked my manager and my manager’s manager. Still no discussion.

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