The Midcounties Co-operative places high importance on maintaining absolute openness with employees. With this in mind, the group has launched SpeakInConfidence across its multiple head offices and 500+ branches, making the system available for its ten thousand colleagues to submit anonymous dialogues to the executive. “I think Midcounties particularly, but the Co-operative generally, is a good employer, but equally we are a values-driven business. So, in terms of openness and equitability, we thought that SpeakInConfidence was an extra step that we hadn’t yet taken.” Alistair Rowland, Group General Manager.

Before implementing the system earlier this month, the group was already familiar with the benefits SpeakInConfidence offers to larger organisations. “Both our Chief Executive and our President have been Chairs of NHS Trusts, so have had some visibility of it,” Rowland continued.

SpeakInConfidence will be an accompaniment to the Midcounties’ recently updated whistleblowing policy and will give employees the valuable opportunity to communicate questions or concerns at any time.

The Midcounties Co-operative builds its strategies upon four key values: Democracy, Openness, Equality and Social Responsibility. “This approach means that there are some things that we are more focussed on than an equivalent PLC. From equal pay to the way we handle people issues, we have a more people-centric approach than you might find elsewhere. We normally find that if our Colleague Engagement Score drops it’s because there are some people issues that might not naturally come to the surface. Therefore, SpeakInConfidence is a great extra layer for a colleague to raise an issue informally,” said Rowland.

SpeakInConfidence has already been implemented across the group, and all internal methods have been used to raise awareness of the new platform. Promotional activity includes posters in all areas and offices, reminders on payslips, notices on the society intranet and social media, notification via email and awareness through leadership briefings. “It will raise practices in middle management that might currently sit under the radar,” Rowland explained. “It might just be something that feels very small but actually means quite a lot, whether it’s the cleanliness of staffrooms or the number of cigarette breaks – it could be lots of things which don’t hit the radar at the right level but now have a chance to.”

Rowland also highlighted the benefits SpeakInConfidence would have on new policies and procedures within the group, concluding, “If we create a policy that gets pushed down, SpeakInConfidence will be able to get us some real traction on its effect.”

About SpeakInConfidence

SpeakInConfidence enables staff to make their voice heard, and organisations the chance to react and respond to bring about positive change. Staff can submit anonymous dialogues to management, giving them freedom to speak without fear of being identified. A small change in employee engagement can mean improved culture, happier staff, and a positive impact on performance – financial or otherwise.

For more information about SpeakInConfidence, contact [email protected].