Steve: Hello everybody, today is my first day as your Group CEO. It’s an immensely proud moment for me and I want to start by thanking many of you for your kind thoughts and best wishes.

As you know our Co-op is unique. It has a unique purpose, is a purpose-driven strategy and I’m convinced that our best years are still ahead of us.

My philosophy on leadership is quite simple, it’s to listen and then to lead. And that’s listening not just through the normal business unit sense of the word, but right the way across this wonderful society. Listening to the council, listening to the senate, talking to the federal independent societies and also reaching out to Co-op’s UK and hearing some of the things that are important and that are on their agenda.

One thing I’ve heard you say is that you’re really disappointed about the cancelling of double discount. In fact it was something that was echoed strongly during a recent council conversation. So I’m going to change that. As of this year we will reintroduce double discount three times, over Easter, the August bank holiday and the Christmas period.

As your new CEO I want to spend more time getting to know all of you even better. On Friday I was with our Funeral team in Glasgow. Yesterday I spent time with 3,000 of our retail colleagues and the week before I listened to what the Digital team’s hopes and aspirations were. In coming weeks I’ll spend time with our General Insurance team our Legal team and also starting to get into our communities.

The other thing that’s very important to me is how we support and help younger people in their careers, and their aspirations, and be successful in The Co-op. And you’ll see us starting to do that through our apprenticeship schemes and also through our venture thinking, and how we help young businesses start up across the UK.

This is the year where we start to think about shaping the thinking towards Renew. To decide what markets that we want to go and disrupt in the same way the Pioneers did, bringing value back to our members and to the country. To identify the gaps and the opportunities that we think we can make a real difference in. And to start to really leverage our growing digital capability in our existing businesses and also to help shape new ones.

These are exciting times but the world is changing at a fast rate. I ask two things of you; stick to the purpose, really do champion a better way of doing business for you in your communities and make sure that you look after members, customers and your communities better than anyone else does today.

This is our time and people are looking for a business that they can trust. If we do this well and continue in the same way that we started, together as one, then I’m really excited about the opportunities for the future and we could have one of the most iconic periods in the Co-op’s history.

Thanks very much for listening.

Steve Murrells
Co-op Group CEO

Join the conversation! 41 Comments

  1. It is great that the double discount is been given as some people who are on low contacts can know hopefully benefit by shopping in the coop and still have money in there pockets to enjoy family life and it will hopefully boost the morale in staff to show that coop does care about there employees

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Hi Vanessa, you can find out more Co-op colleague benefits here too: https://benefits.coop.co.uk/ ^Jordan

      Like

      Reply
    • Personally, I feel that the loss of double discount was poorly managed as colleagues were told through an email that was sent to store, a little bit like slipping a note under someone’s door and running off because you don’t want to face into the wind. If they had taken discount away and used the money to re-invest into increasing the number of colleagues on the shop floor, it would have made the change more palatable?

      Like

      Reply
      • Hi there, we are listening to colleagues, we do appreciate your feedback. ^SB

        Like

      • Agreed staff don’t get that many benefits and I am sure that most of us did a lot more shopping in store when double discount was around I know I did I now shop elsewhere bring it back now!

        Like

  2. “make sure that you look after members, customers and your communities better than anyone else does today.”

    You could make a great start at this by fixing the heating system in my local store, where staff and customers have suffered in cold weather for over a year now. It’s not good enough. And it’s really put me off applying to work there, because it shows utter contempt for the staff and their wellbeing.

    Like

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, where’s your local store? Perhaps I can chase our facilities team to find out when repairs are scheduled? ^Jordan

      Like

      Reply
    • Can you let’s use all know how you get on with this please? It would be interesting to hear the outcom, thanks.

      Like

      Reply
  3. Thank you for bringing back Double Discount. I echo Vanessa’s comment, hopefully this will help lift morale. We’re working harder than ever in stores, we’re a lot leaner, and I understand that we have to be in the current retail market. But especially when we’re working one on one, it’s hard to balance the needs of customers and store. We need to serve our customers (tills), but we also need to have stock on the shelves for them to buy.

    Like

    Reply
  4. Please, please, please can you save the Co-op bank?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  5. I know it’s a complicated issue to resolve as it involves the murky world of online advert auction houses but can you express your desire to #stopfundinghate ?

    Thanks

    Like

    Reply
  6. When the change of staffing levels within the warehouses happen you will start to lose more staff due to weekend working going from every other week to one in four, Have you made any provision for this or will there just be more pressure put on those who stay.

    Like

    Reply
  7. No mention of visiting the DCs

    Like

    Reply
    • Hi Peter, Steve will certainly be visiting Food Depot Centres as part of his effort to meet as many colleagues as possible. He didn’t explicitly mention our call centres either but we’re all part and parcel. ^Jordan

      Like

      Reply
      • Can u ask Steve to address the situation of damaged cages and overloading as I now refuse to touch cages due to a severe injury! Thanks

        Like

  8. The fact that 75% of comments here talk about poor staff morale speaks volumes about the current Co-Op strategy. The crazy aspect of staffing levels is how self defeating it is… sales opportunities are not being maximized simply because they’re aren’t enough staff on.

    Why introduce a great ordering system (SMART) then undermine it by cutting staff responsible for replenishment? Without shelves being restocked, products are going to gap (RO opportunity) which is going to result in an unhappy customer who can’t get what they want. A good example is one staff member on till, one unloading & working a chilled delivery. Meanwhile, ambient is gapping on soft juice & alcohol lines. Yes, those gaps will be identified later in the day & replenished EVENTUALLY but that’s no good to the customer who wanted their Pinot Grigio & Diet Coke in the morning. They also couldn’t ask a staff member if there was any stock in the back because there was no staff member to ask. The till person was busy with a queue & the shop floor worker was in warehouse unloading delivery. So the unhappy customer went to Asda instead.

    This is typical of what’s going on across Co-Op stores. Yes, we are muddling through but we could be doing so much better if we just staffed shops adequately. Not to mention the problems we are stacking up for the future. The staff member who is unloading orders all by themselves is eventually going to develop back problems. They won’t want to go off sick because “ethical” Co-Op doesn’t pay first three days of sick. However, they are going to be forced to go off sick because they can’t physically walk.

    Loss of staff double discount to subsidize customer member’s 5% really is the last straw.

    Like

    Reply
    • Couldn’t have put it better my self. We’ll said.

      Like

      Reply
    • Agreed

      Like

      Reply
    • Spot on. Low staffing levels and low morale seems to be a common problem. No point having 2 is too many at the tills when there aren’t 2 available in store.
      Why get rid of the deli in store when older or single people want single slices? Are they not important enough? They tend to be returning customers.

      Like

      Reply
  9. COULD THE COOPERATIVE SELL MORE LOCALLY PRODUCE SUCH AS FARMHOUSE BISCUITS MADE IN LANCASHIRE

    Like

    Reply
  10. IT IS GOOD NEWS DD IS BACK AND I THINK STEVE WILL DO A GOOD JOB BRINGING THE BUSINESSES TOGETHER.

    Like

    Reply
  11. As a customer member can I second the short staffing comment I saw above from CO-OP WARRIOR.

    Going in my store I’m always amazed that some poor person busy trying to stacking shelves will have to stop to go and man the till!

    No wonder staff don’t have time to upsell or promote something or just generally be helpful and useful.

    As for morale, what better way to combat that than make sure staff aren’t pressured running around all the time trying to do everything all at once?

    Like

    Reply
  12. How many local Co-op Stores have been taken over by McColls?

    Like

    Reply
  13. We have 26 frozen cabinets nearly all out of service as no one interested in replacing them or repairing and customers fed up never being able to buy ice cream and chips and a growing pot hole in the car park that cant be repaired as funds wont be authorised totally ashamed to work for co op. 80 plus coaches sent hundreds of managers for a conference overnight and we are left in a store that is a disgrace. Wonder how much was spent on that !

    Like

    Reply
  14. Why on earth did you transport all your manages to Manchester and make them stay overnight? Surely, your digital colleagues would have told you that it would be more cost effective to use Skype or even to send out a DVD? I heard that some of the managers didn’t arrive back in their homes until 10pm that evening? That doesn’t sound neither smart nor caring

    Like

    Reply
    • Hi Max. Unfortunately, not everyone lives within a 1 hour radius of Manchester, so it’s not surprising people arrived home as late as 10pm. We appreciate our colleagues’ time and have received a lot of positive feedback about the day, you will also note that the weather was not great which lead to some delays too – not within our control, I’m afraid Max. As a ‘digital colleague’, using Skype or a DVD would simply not have the same effect as getting everyone together like we did. Thanks for your comment. ^Ian

      Like

      Reply
  15. I agree with coop warrior a lot of the time all our staff have been called to checkout so no one is putting out the deliveries .

    Like

    Reply
    • It’s not even so much no-one is putting out the delivery, that’s not the issue to me. My concern is that it is near impossible to run the shop floor with only one person. You need two. One for chilled, one for ambient/ other basic tasks (ie. replenishing milk, bread, eggs.) It’s all very well in big stores which have plenty of shelf space & replenishment is not a huge issue. However, in small, BUSY stores replenishment is vital for optimal sales.

      With only one staff member running the shop floor by themselves, it’s a no brainer that sales opportunities will be lost. If a staff member is struggling away, juggling working a chilled delivery & assisting at the checkout, it’s inevitable that ambient lines will go to gap. It’s no use saying, “oh well we don’t make any profit on ambient.” I can’t tell you how many times I have been told this. That’s not the point. The point is the CUSTOMER cares if ambient goes to gap. They don’t care about our profit margins, they just care if they can get their tin of beans. If they can’t, they will shop elsewhere. The consequence of this is the shop’s turnover falls & staff get cut back even more. It’s not rocket science.

      It’s a self defeating strategy which in the long run will be very detrimental to the Co-Op. The question is, why is this not being addressed or acknowledged?

      Like

      Reply
      • I have plenty of colleagues-friends in small stores working one on one and know their pain but please don’t think large stores have it easy as there’s more staff.
        We have 700 hours per week to trade 6am-11pm and take £100k. It’s miles from easy. 7-8 or even 9 colleagues may sound like a lot but an average Saturday they’ll take £16-17k serving over a thousand customers and have 50 cages or more of Chilled and Ambient deliveries to work that arrive every Saturday afternoon-evening a long with all the other tasks to do.
        It very tough for all stores not just small store with one on one staffing.
        I’m really looking forward to the time saving adjustments to processes that should be coming this year. So colleagues in all stores can have some time to give excellent customer service again and be involved in their local communities.

        Like

  16. Very angry, annoyed, furious, at out local Co-Op in the Parade in Oadby in Leicester is closing down in June, WHY!!!!!!. It is my local and I use every day. It is our local pride and joy, the staff are fantastic and are so nice and they are now out of a job and are worried what they will do. Did I say I was Angry !!! Will miss it enormously.

    Like

    Reply
    • Hi Margaret, I’m sorry your disappointed but I’m afraid this store isn’t part of The Co-op Group. It’s a Co-op Food store operated by Central England Co-operative. They use our (older) brand and stock our products, but they’re a separate business. ^Jordan

      Like

      Reply
  17. Hi I’m a T3 in Stoke on Trent… I’m currently contracted to 16hrs however always want overtime and don’t mind pulling 10 & 12 hours day when over time is available as I know these kinds of days will become just part of my week when I step up to T2, Im hard working and very ambitious and want to progress… However I’ve gone from 140 hour month to a mere 80 hour month if I’m lucky… My shop has just gone through a refit and we lose hours week in week out… I’m not cocky or big headed but would like to consider my self loyal and very hard working… I spend my full shift running around like a headless chicken… I never take my break and I’m lucky if I have time for a banana or quick sandwich while I wait for the PC to confirm my gap report… Can situations like mine please be looked In to I can’t believe I’m the only loyal coop worker who is struggling and doesn’t want to leave the company who wants to progress and step up yet feels like I’m been pushed out of my job by poor staff management… It’s all well and good looking after the customer and community but what about us ground troops who are on the front line faking smiles and working are socks off yet still sinking…..

    Like

    Reply
    • Hi Daniel, have you raised this with our store support colleagues? Thanks ^SB

      Like

      Reply
      • I have raised this issue with my manager and recently my T2 and all I’ve been told us we can’t commit to to more than your contract as we are running at full use of hours…. I find myself £300-£500 per month worse off now compared to when I stepped up to T3… If there is any one I can go to for assistance please let me know.. as I’ve already been told seeding my area manager would be fruitless.

        Like

      • I to am a T3 and I absolutely love my job
        Like Daniel above I love my job and cannot wait to become a manager one day
        I only have. 10 hour contract but do all the overtime I can
        I was working 49+ hours
        When our staff took ill
        I return without clicking in just to help the team out

        But I also feel that I will be forced to leave as hours are being cut down and simply single parent with only 10 hours a week won’t feed or house my children

        I do love my job and I always have

        Like

    • I to am a T3 and I absolutely love my job
      Like Daniel above I love my job and cannot wait to become a manager one day
      I only have. 10 hour contract but do all the overtime I can
      I was working 49+ hours
      When our staff took ill
      I return without clicking in just to help the team out

      But I also feel that I will be forced to leave as hours are being cut down and simply single parent with only 10 hours a week won’t feed or house my children

      I do love my job and I always have

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Category

Being Co-op, Business, Co-op leaders, Colleagues