The Midcounties Co-operative has won a top national award for the way it encourages and inspires colleagues to get involved in community work.
The Society scooped the prize for Best Use of CSR in HR at the HR Excellence Awards 2009.
Trish Poole, Midcounties Group general manager, personnel services and community, collected the award in a ceremony at the London Hilton Park Lane which celebrated best HR practice and achievements over the past year. She said: “This was a new category and it was fantastic to win it in the face of tough competition from nationally known companies.
“As a co-operative business, social responsibility is at the heart of what we do.
We are proud of the fact that everyone from our senior management team to colleagues throughout our trading groups in food retail, funeral, travel, pharmacy, Motorworld, Co-operative IT and Imagine Co-operative Childcare, are encouraged to get involved.
“From fundraising, to taking on practical challenges at neighbourhood projects to using an indvidual’s skills and knowledge to benefit community groups, it is great way for our colleagues to give something back and gain a real sense of achievement too.”
Midcounties has an extensive colleague volunteer programme that takes on all types of challenges, which not only benefit local people and organisations but also help those involved to develop personally and as a team.
In 2008 staff clocked up 22,365 volunteer hours during work time and also raised £150,000 for charity partner Dogs for the Disabled with a range of activities.
The benefits to the business have been seen in staff turnover. The total staff turnover for the year was 31.29 per cent and in colleagues that participated in volunteering those figures dropped to 3.4 per cent showing a direct link between retention of colleagues and participation in community activity.
The award judges found Midcounties’ CSR involvement went beyond the norm and it had a strategy clearly linked to business objectives and embedded from the outset.
“They have linked skills to community needs; this is not just regular CSR stuff,” said one judge.