Are you giving enough to your colleagues?


Aretha sang about it, and for those more familiar with the 80s, it featured in the title of Erasure’s biggest hit. But what does respect mean to you at the Co-op?

One thing is certainly clear from all the stats, treating people with a lack of respect is bad for business. It creates a tense atmosphere, unhappy colleagues, absenteeism, and ultimately has an effect on the bottom line. It can make people feel excluded, bullied and not treated equally.

If your colleagues feel they aren’t respected, why would they bother turning up with a positive attitude? And if they’re serving customers and clients all day – which the majority of our colleagues are – that attitude is going to have an effect on the experience those people have with our Co-op.

So how are we doing?

There’s no doubt that we’re on the right track to creating an environment where our Ways of Being are encouraged, celebrated and lived every day by all of us.

But 2016’s Talkback results threw up some very disappointing results around bullying and harassment and being treated fairly by your manager – and show we’re not there yet. 

This kind of behaviour is not acceptable in our Co-op. If you’re witnessing behaviour like this, please take a look at our Bullying and harassment/respect policy. Equally you should feel empowered to “call it out”.

We’re going to launch a new governance model to make our Co-op more inclusive by introducing a new Group-wide Inclusion Council, Diversity & Inclusion Pioneer groups in all business areas and a specific programme called Respect@Work. This will help cut down levels of bullying harassment and discrimination, and increase levels of respect across the Co-op.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

The buck stops with us as leaders. We need to set an example to all colleagues and behave in a way, both inside and outside work, which proves we’re a different kind of business – where our Co-op values of equity and equality shine through.

Sometimes we might not even know we’re treating anyone differently. This is called ‘unconscious bias,’ where our brains make snapshot judgements of people and situations without realising it. You can find out more about this on our Being a Co-op Leader Zone.

Sharon Pegg, Inclusion and Diversity Manager at the Co-op, says that to truly live our Ways of Being Co-op we need to make sure the culture we create is accepting of everybody, whoever they are.

“We need all our Co-op leaders to embrace and manage difference in the workplace, where talent thrives and everyone matters. That’s the only way we’ll achieve our purpose of ‘Championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities.”

So the next time you’re in a situation with a colleague or customer/client, try and think carefully not just about what you’re saying, but how you’re saying it. Think back to the Being a Co-op Leader events and all you learnt about honest conversations.

  1. Listen to what your colleagues have to say
  2. Encourage your colleagues if they’re having a difficult day – show you care
  3. Recognise them when they’ve done a great job
  4. Say thank you – it’s simple, but so powerful.
  5. Call out – when you see team members not ‘Being Co-op’