The Co-op Hire to Retire team has had an unparalleled role in coordinating the organisation’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, supporting its frontline colleagues across its stores, depots, funeral homes and more. From furlough to Test & Trace, the team has been fundamental to implementing government guidance as it evolved throughout the pandemic.
Vulnerable colleagues’ furlough pay was topped up to 100 per cent to ensure they were supported financially, while the Hire to Retire team set up bespoke support for the 4,300 staff members who were unable to continue in frontline roles because of their health or family considerations. As well as support during their absence from work, the team also provided advice on how to prepare for returning to work and created Co-op Care, which shared information and tools on a weekly basis about how to best take care of personal physical and mental health.
The Hire to Retire team was also pivotal to supporting the Co-op’s stores during the height of the pandemic, helping to recruit more than 5,000 additional colleagues over just six days – creating a whole new automated process – at a time when supply chain issues meant food shortages were a real concern across the country. The team also led recruitment directly into its funeralcare business, and set up additional support for colleagues there – many of who faced the emotional challenges of supporting families who had been bereaved but were unable to say final goodbyes in the way they wanted beauces of Covid restrictions.
Judges said the work the team did to support both Co-op’s shops and its funeralcare business “have had a significant positive impact to the communities they serve in”. “The team and the organisation as a whole has the Co-op’s purpose – ‘Co-operating for a better world’ – at the heart of what they do and this tangibly drives the activity and outcomes the team focused on during Covid,” they said.