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Laying the foundations

Before I joined the Co-op, I was in the RAF for 20 years. I worked in people support, team delivery and operations. So, in other words, my job was about building a positive culture, understanding the importance of teamwork, and helping the people around me become the best version of themselves. The time I spent in the air force helped me lay the foundations for my HR career. After I left the military, I moved through a variety of HR roles, spending time with different companies and supporting people who were in challenging and stressful situations. Most of these companies hadn’t thought about the support they could provide to their employees, and it was my job to change that. I used to say, “if you don’t get the culture right, people won’t behave or act in the right ways” and I still believe that today.

Creating a positive culture at Co-op

I joined the Co-op in May 2021, as a People Partner at Biggleswade’s brand-new depot. My role is all about creating a culture where people don’t just come to work, but actively enjoy working. We want our colleagues to feel supported and I want them to be focussed and happy in whatever they do. When we hire new colleagues at Biggleswade, it’s less about the hard skills they bring and more about bringing colleagues in who can help us create a great culture at the new site. We want our colleagues to share Co-op’s values and recognise that they’re part of a team. A happier team is a better team and that’s what we’re looking to achieve.

Working for a business that cares

Co-op really is a different kind of business and the people here genuinely care. Over the last few months, I’ve been working with colleagues across the Co-op (resourcing, L&D and operations) to help create a great atmosphere at the new depot and help new colleagues settle in. Our learning and development teams have been working hard to make sure training and induction programmes are fit for purpose to make sure our new colleagues are familiar with their day-to-day roles and feel at home when they join us.

Although the new site officially opens in January 2022, we’ll be recruiting colleagues up until July 2022. Until then, I’ll be focussed on making sure Co-op stands out to potential candidates and we have everything people related in place to make the new site a success. So, if you’re in the Biggleswade area and you want to work for a business that shares your values, keep an eye on the Co-op jobs site and apply – jobs.coop.co.uk/Biggleswade-depot

Chris Braisby

People Project Manager, Biggleswade depot

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