Jane Burrows

Co-op catch-up with Jane Burrows

Jane is a resourcing delivery manager whose team is responsible for supporting hiring managers hire the best colleagues into our Co-op. She talks to Rachel Machin about how we’re hiring more people who share our values and Ways of Being Co-op, and saving time and money by doing things in new ways.

Jane Burrows always wanted to work for Co-op. In fact for a long time Co-op was one of her clients and she used to “love recruiting for them”.

“I’d spent 14 years in agencies and a lot of it was about how much revenue you could bring in. I wanted to work for an organisation that was about more than that.

“I didn’t want to be a line on a spreadsheet and not know who owns you or what they’re doing with the profits. I found that really soulless.”

Recruiting the right way

Jane’s in a team that makes it their mission to give everyone applying for jobs at Co-op the best experience.

“We want to give our customers a great experience even if they don’t get the job so they think: ‘I’m still going to buy my bread and milk from Co-op because I’ve applied for that job and had a good go at it. I understand why I wasn’t successful but I’m really happy with the whole process’.

“A lot of people who apply for jobs with us are members so it’s important they see what happens in Co-op is what we say we’re going to do.”

While Jane admits Co-op used to focus very much on skills and experience, now it’s all about recruiting people who fit with our Co-op values, Ways of Being Co-op, and agree with what we’re trying to achieve as an organisation.

“It’s about someone having the right passion, right will and drive to want to be with our organisation and where can we develop their skills.

“If we hire a person who thinks the same way Co-op does we get more longevity, more stability, more retention.”

Jane Burrows

Saving time and money

The Colleague Recruitment Stores programme has been working on a new way of recruiting colleagues in Food stores. It went live recently.

“It’s a massive game-changer for Co-op,” she says. “We’re moving away from store managers having to recruit colleagues only by themselves.

“We’re bringing all that work into the resourcing team and moving everything online so that they can get on with what they do best: managing their teams, running their stores and serving customers. It will give them back so much time.

“We’re testing this new way in 80 stores and then we’ll roll-out to all stores.”

Being a different kind of leader

Jane is convinced that being a leader in our Co-op means you have to be a great role model.

“It should be at the centre of any leader or management role. You’ve got to put your money where your mouth is and sometimes show your team your vulnerabilities and where you need to be better.

“Connecting with our purpose and ambition – why we’re doing things and who we’re doing them for – is also important. In the Support Centre that’s sometimes hard because we don’t regularly see our customers or members. But that’s where storytelling comes in. We get the team sharing their own stories in our weekly huddles.”

She also believes getting yourself involved in other parts of our organisation and ‘doing things beyond the day job’ will only help you become a better leader and connect with what Co-op is here to do.

“I applied to to be a Co-op Academy governor recently at our newest academy in Walkden, Salford – where I was born.

“I’m delighted to say I was successful. I love the idea of helping a group that’s not been connected with Co-op before understand our values. I’m excited to bring something different to the leadership in that school.”

Quick-fire questions

Favourite Co-op own-brand product: Kashmiri butter chicken pizza – great on a Friday night with a beer.

In three words, Co-op culture you’d like to see: Innovative, brave and bold.

Top priority in the next couple of years: How resourcing can support our Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities ambition – from a people perspective.  

One bit of advice you’d give to your fellow leaders: The best ideas come from your team, so build an environment that empowers your team to share ideas.

Difficult moment: The Manchester terror attack.

Proudest moment: Standing looking over the balcony at the big screen in One Angel Square at the live link-up with the school in Argentina built through sales of Fairtrade.

Three words to describe me: Loyal, caring, positive.

Happiness is: Swimming – anywhere, but particularly St Ives, Cornwall with my family.

Personal ambitions: Being appointed as a school governor and doing a great job.