Store manager Sarah Kavanagh

I’m Sarah Kavanagh, a store manager at Saughall Massie Rd store on the Wirral.

I was one of the first to use My Colleague Recruit (which went live a couple of weeks ago), the new online system which completely changes the way we recruit colleagues in store.

It’s been absolutely brilliant and has taken all the stress out of the recruitment process.

Before this arrived it used to all be down to the store manager. I’d put something on Facebook and contact the Job Centre, but you never got much back.

Now all the hard work is done for you by the Support Centre.

How it works

You just go into the system, do your vacancy requisition and then everything’s taken off your hands.

Before they even get to interview the candidates will do an online assessment, and be given a lot more information upfront about what’s involved in the job.

We then just get an email to say that we’ve got people to interview. Because you can pick the time of the interviews you can totally work it round everything else you have to do in store.

The ‘Colleague Resourcing Box’ we’ve got (which is full of stuff like posters, advice on interviewing techniques etc) has also been a godsend. It’s helped me be consistent in the questions I’m asking every candidate in interviews and reminded me to give feedback there and then.image

The whole process has genuinely saved me so much time. When I’ve spoken to colleagues they’re all made up about this new system.

Vicki the resourcing manager who’s looking after me has been brilliant. She’s been to see me in store, and is always on the end of an email or phone if I have any questions.

I feel more of a connection to the Support Centre now. I feel like everyone is working together better and people are starting to listen to us and help us more.

A better calibre of person

I’ve just recruited Beth who’s brilliant and a student studying at university. I’m finding we’re getting a better calibre of person for interview. People who actually really want to work for Co-op.

They’ve already been through their online assessment to see if their values are the same as Co-op’s and can show examples of our Ways of Being, so it’s not just about experience now.

Hopefully it will mean they want to stay and build a career with us, like I did starting as a customer team member in 2001 and working my way up to where I am now.

Sarah Kavanagh store manager typing on her computer

Better technology

I’m a complete technophobe but I find this new system so easy to use. You can use the app but I prefer to go in through How do I? (the new digital service which helps us find out how to do things in store quickly) – which I love. You’re not spending half the afternoon trying to find policies anymore.

Then there’s the new Shifts app, and the headsets which our store will be getting really soon. I also can’t wait for tablets which will make our lives even easier and allow us store managers to be visible in store and not stuck in the back office.

It feels like with all this Co-op is investing more in us and stores.

At the beginning people saw hours getting squeezed and couldn’t see any benefits coming through. Now we can see there is investment and things are happening.

Sarah Kavanagh
Store Manager