Co-op launches resilience programme for 300 staff


Retailer and funeral home operator Co-op has launched a resilience programme for 300 staff employed in its customer service centre, to support employees who converse with bereaved customers of its Co-op Funeralcare business.

The Heart programme, provided by Let’s Get Healthy, launched for customer service centre staff in April 2019 after a successful six-week pilot in November 2018. The programme aims to support employees who speak to vulnerable and bereaved customers on a daily basis, which could lead to personal stress and anxiety. Co-op implement the resilience programme in order to attract and retain talent as well as support staff wellbeing.

Claire Carroll, head of member and customer services at Co-op, said: “Investing in our people is critical to ensuring we retain and attract great talent and provide the very best service possible to our customers. Heart has helped my team be brave hearted and resilient when coping with the pressure of this critical role.”

Heart uses evidence-based techniques to improve employees’ resilience through education on the stages of grief and how to be sensitive when speaking to bereaved customers. The programme includes briefing sessions with senior managers, a one-day face-to-face course and a seven-week activity plan to further embed learnings; this will be led by team leaders and operations managers.

Both new and existing employees will be able to participate in the programme, and it will also form part of leadership development moving forwards.

Carroll added: “We want to make sure that [employees] are not only skilled at their job, but that they can go home, switch off and have brilliant times with their friends and family.

“We know providing a campaign that improves resilience is what both new and existing [employees] demand. We are asked in interviews what provisions we make for health and wellbeing, and Heart demonstrates we can increase skill levels and resilience at the same time.”