We want our teams to reflect the diverse communities they serve, because that will help us to understand our members and customers better. And we want our colleagues to feel included, because people who can be themselves at work are more engaged and productive.
Co-op celebrates International Women's Day by bringing together colleagues of all genders to help them achieve their potential, and highlight the importance of creating a more equal society. Inspirational talks from some of our female leaders let colleagues join the conversation about diversity and inclusion, and help them to understand that building a truly inclusive workplace is vital for our future success.
Co-op colleague networks
As a national business, it’s common sense that we celebrate the diversity of our millions of customers and our tens of thousands of colleagues. The Co-op has a long tradition of supporting diversity in our workplace and in our wider Co-op membership. Through our colleague networks, we’re championing best practice and a culture of fairness and equality. That’s the right thing to do and it makes good business sense too. I’m proud that we’re putting these issues at the forefront of our thinking and that our work is being recognised nationally.
Steve Murrells - Chief Executive Officer
Aspire is a community of colleagues who are passionate about personal development and gender equality. We’re fully inclusive and welcome colleagues of any gender to join our group.
We’ve been around for over six years now, and some of the things we’ve delivered include our mentoring programme, lunch and learn workshops, roundtable sessions for colleagues to share their career journey, and focus groups on numerous issues. We’ve also developed links to charities which support gender equality in our local communities.
As a Co-op colleague you could become a member of Aspire. To find out more check us out on Twitter @aspire_co_op
Respect is a network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) colleagues. We have two simple aims: make sure LGBT+ colleagues can be themselves at work, and promote LGBT+ equality throughout the Co-op and beyond.
We think everyone has a responsibility to create a workplace where all colleagues can thrive. That’s why everyone is welcome to join Respect, whether you identify as LGBT+ or not.
As a Co-op colleague you could become a member of Respect. To find out more check us out on Twitter @cooprespectLGBT
Rise is a colleague network that focuses on increasing cultural awareness and ethnic diversity within the Co-op.
We know ethnic diversity is good for our business. A diverse company is better positioned to meet the needs of the future economy. And an inclusive organisation that supports and encourages all colleagues to bring their whole selves to work can reap the benefits of diverse ideas, backgrounds and perspectives.
As a Co-op colleague you could become a member of Rise. To find out more check us out on Twitter @Coopukpeople
Our ambition is to help young Co-op colleagues aged 16-30 shine in their careers by providing opportunities to support their progression: we do this by providing them with training, networking, and development opportunities.
We firmly believe in ‘generations working together’ and invite colleagues from all ages to join the network, get involved in our workshops and events and support young people with their development
Awards and partnership
Co-op has frequently been recognised for its inclusive culture, and we partner with other organisations to make sure we get the best advice and support to help us build a diverse organisation.
We’ve partnered with Stonewall on a ground-breaking piece of research to better understand the specific issues that the lesbian, gay and bisexual community face when it comes to later life planning.
Co-op became a WISE member in 2017 to increase gender diversity in our technology teams. We’ve worked with WISE to better understand some of the challenges affecting the tech community, and shared ideas with other member organisations so we can address these challenges collaboratively.
In 2017 Co-op worked with the Clear Company to perform a diversity and inclusion audit of all our recruitment processes. We discovered that we’re doing well in some areas, but we need to do better in others, and now we’re taking action by changing the way we approach attraction, selection and on- boarding.
Times top 50 employers for women
In 2018 we were named in the Times Top 50 Employers for Women list for the second time. The list is published in partnership with Business in the Community and the Prince’s Responsible Business Network. It celebrates UK employers who are building gender equality into their business strategy and have committed to creating a culture of inclusivity and supporting progression for women at work.
Co-op is proud to be part of the Disability Confident scheme which supports employers to successfully employ and retain disabled people and those with health conditions. As a Disability Confident employer we want to ensure equality of opportunity, and give candidates the best possible experience throughout our recruitment process.
In 2018 we were named as one of the top 50 employers in the 2018 Social Mobility Employer Index. The Top 50 recognises the organisations that are taking the most action to ensure they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds. If we are to achieve a fairer and economically successful society, everyone should have equal opportunity to succeed and realise their potential - wherever they come from.
Co-op started working with Rest Less in 2018. We offer a range of opportunities well suited to people in their 50s and 60s, whether they’re semi-retired and looking for a part time role, or considering the next step in their career. And we know the value that age and experience can bring to our workplaces across the UK.
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