CHIEF Executive Martin Beaumont has promised to act quickly and decisively after a ?warts and all' survey of Co-operative Group staff revealed mixed attitudes towards the society as an employer and leading co-operative business.
Survey questionnaires were sent to over 64,000 staff last year ? excluding those working for the Co-op Bank and CIS ? as a means of discovering what employees really think about the Group. Almost a fifth, 12,801 people, completed the forms on an anonymous basis to give what research agency MORI say is a "reliable and robust representation."
Eliminating neutral or no response returns, 64 per cent said they were satisfied in their present job within the Group, with just 18 per cent registering dissatisfaction. Seventy per cent agreed their work was interesting, with just 11 per cent expressing a negative opinion, while a massive 87 per cent described their work colleagues as "friendly."
Unsurprisingly perhaps, 48 per cent of those who took part in the survey expressed dissatisfaction with pay and salary packages, with 35 per cent satisfied ? but 64 per cent were happy with their job security with only 14 per cent worried.
Staff were satisfied by and large over general conditions including flexible working arrangements, hours of work, training opportunities and career progression, though in the case of career progression opportunities, only 11 per cent more were satisfied than dissatisfied.
Fifty-seven per cent of respondents said they were proud to work for the Co-operative Group ? with only 10 per cent disagreeing with the statement.
In relation to personal safety at work, 56 per cent felt they were protected and 24 per cent disagreeing while a significant minority ? 33 per cent ? said they were affected by workplace stress.
When asked what they would say to people outside the Co-op Group about their businesses' products or services, 49 per cent said they would speak highly with 14 per cent admitting to being critical. And in relation to the Group's standing as an employer, 36 per cent said they would speak highly, with 26 per cent saying they would be critical.
In response to the survey results, Martin Beaumont has asked each member of the Group's executive team to draw up a plan of action based on the MORI report for their area of operation.
He told the Group's Scene magazine: "The results show that we have some areas of good practice, but they also show areas where we could do much better. That came as no surprise to me ? I'm realistic about the changes we need to make.
"Some areas need immediate attention and we will urgently focus on these matters. Some businesses are better in some areas than others ? we have a lot to learn from each other."
Added Mr Beaumont: "The survey is not something we'll forget about and the results will not be swept under the carpet. Change cannot happen overnight, especially where problems have existed for a long time ? but this will not put us off tackling them."
Human resources director Richard Bide commented: "There have been surveys before, although none on this scale, and there hasn't been much action as a result. What makes this survey different is that the Executive has openly committed to listen and act on the results.
"We will monitor progress by conducting a follow-up survey later this year. I want everyone to see and feel the changes for the better by the end of the year and if we can do that we are on the right track for a prosperous future."