By Helen Lawson, Lead Content Designer

I’ve worked for Co-op for six years, so knew about the #BeingCoop awards. They always felt slightly out of reach as there are so many brilliant colleagues across Co-op. I never imagined I’d be part of them, so when I received a surprise nomination email, I was chuffed to bits. It gives you such a nice feeling to know someone thinks you deserve to be recognised and rewarded.

I’d been nominated in the Be Yourself Always category for working on developing tone of voice principles and changing the way we talk publicly about death, bereavement and grief. My team threw their support behind me and encouraged others to get involved with colleague voting when the time was right. I was already happy at work, but this gave me a boost and put a spring in my step. I was quiet but secretly pleased about it all, it was such a nice thing for them to do.

I loved everything about the celebration event. One Angel Square is my base location, but walking into the atrium and seeing it all beautifully decorated was special. You could tell a lot of care and attention had gone into it. It was one big celebration with everyone mixing together.

Hearing stories about why others has been nominated was awe inspiring. Stories like a food store colleague raising money in their free time to provide laptops for children who needed them to continue studying from home during lockdown. Or Funeralcare colleagues who’d not only dealt with all the increased pressures covid brought, but one in particular stood out when they’d cared for several members of one family at the same time.

Every single one filled my heart with warmth. It made me prouder than ever to be part of a company with colleagues who had the initiative and drive to do so much good for others. Not only was everyone completing their day jobs to the highest standards, they were also thinking about how to fix problems and look out for others.

I was delighted to win the Colleague Choice award in my category. It cemented how honoured I felt that people had taken the time out to nominate and then vote for me. Following the event, I went to a local restaurant with my partner. I had my award and winners’ bouquet with me which caught the attention of others. The whole restaurant gave a round of applause when they realised I was celebrating a win. It was such a joyous day with multiple celebrations.

My award now sits proudly on display at home. I forget it’s visible and sometimes when I’m working on video calls I’m referred to as ‘Award Winning’ by my colleagues. I know they’re all just as proud of me.

You can get involved

The #BeingCoop Awards recognise and celebrate colleagues across the whole business who make a difference to our members, our communities and our planet.

There are eight categories available including:

  • Inclusion Award
  • Community Star Award
  • Do What Matters Most Award
  • Be Yourself Always Award
  • Show You Care Award
  • Succeed Together Award (team award)
  • Co-op Apprentice of the Year
  • Climate Star Award

I’d encourage you to nominate your colleagues if you can. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete a nomination and all the information you need about each of the categories and how to make yours stand out can be found here.

While the window has been open, I’ve been thinking carefully about to nominate. I’ve got someone in mind who I think deserves the recognition and I’ll be sure to submit my nomination before the window closes on Monday 6 June.