8th October 2020

Empowering colleagues at Co-op to be brave-hearted

27th May, 2019

Maria Bourke

Corporate Health and Wellbeing provider Let’s Get Healthy designed and created a campaign called Heart for colleagues at Co-op Funeralcare customer service centre.

Heart empowers colleagues to fully understand their customers reaction to the loss of a loved one and the potential impact it might have on their own personal wellbeing by covering the latest evidence-based techniques to improve resilience. The language used in the campaign makes it easier for colleagues to talk about death, understand how to deal with it and build their own personal resilience.


How did the campaign come about?

Claire Carroll, Head of Sales and Services at Co-op,said: "We held sessions with our colleagues, and they shared with me their personal experiences of losing a loved one and supporting customers who experienced a similar loss. Providing tools and techniques to be resilient is essential in the type of work handled in service centres.”

Heart is part of a wider strategy by Co-op to invest in its colleagues and embed health and wellbeing across the group. Following a successful pilot of the campaign in November 2018, the programme was delivered across the customer service centre and to their outsourcing partners.

Why is Heart important?

The Co-op recognised the importance of supporting its colleagues whose daily role is speaking to highly vulnerable customers, coping with the different stages of grief. These roles are often not recognised for their complexity, and the pressure that comes from them puts colleagues at risk of disrupted sleep, stress and anxiety.

The campaign included a day of training which allowed colleagues to engage with each other, share personal experiences and ideas that could make the team more resilient.

What was involved in the campaign?

The campaign included a briefing session with senior managers and a full set of communications to ensure the teams felt fully empowered to talk about death, bereavement, and grief. A one-day face to face training day and a seven-week plan of activity, led by team leaders and operations managers, was designed to embed the learnings. The Let’s Get Healthy’s trainers are running follow up, shorter workshops to ensure the momentum and energy is maintained by the teams.

Talent acquisition and retention

With an increasing battle for talent in the customer service sector the Heart campaign plays a crucial role in the strategy to attract and retain talent.

Claire added: “We know providing a campaign that improves resilience is what both new and existing colleagues 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. Sharing the feedback from the training to potential new colleagues demonstrates our continued commitment to colleague and customer wellbeing"

The campaign will be rolled out to all new and existing members of the customer service centre and their outsourced partners as part of its annual development plans for colleagues.

Loss comes in many forms

The campaign also highlights thatbereavement is not just about death, loss can come in many guises such as financial, relationship and employment. Recognising that everyone has something going on in their life is important as vulnerability can come in many forms. Other clients of Let’s Get Healthy are running similar campaigns to kick off major change and transformation programmes.

Maria Bourke

Maria Bourke is the founder of Let’s Get Healthy, a company she set up in 2006. Her teams work across Europe delivering health and wellbeing programmes to organisations such as DHL, Virgin Media, Sky, Travis Perkins, Co-op and William Hill. With a passion for everything health and wellbeing, Maria competed at a senior level in eventing, hockey and handball. Being physically active, mentally focused, and resilient to challenges prepared her well for the competitive world of financial services, where she has spent much of her career. Maria decided to start Let’s Get Healthy after seeing first hand, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle for both businesses and individuals.

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