Manchester, United Kingdom (PressExposure) February 22, 2013 -- Community retailer The Midcounties Co-operative has underlined its status as the best Co-operative in the UK by retaining the Investors in People Gold Award.
The food stores, travel, childcare, funeral, pharmacy, energy and flexible employee benefits business was re-assessed after striking gold two years ago. It maintained the standard with a higher score than before.
The accolade recognises world class business practice. Midcounties was judged by an independent assessor for its commitment to developing colleagues through training, career progression and support as an integral part of its business.
Chief Executive Ben Reid said: "We are rightly proud of our Investors in People Gold Award. We run our business on ethical, co-operative lines, focused on the communities where we trade. We could not grow and succeed without a dedicated and engaged workforce, which is why we put so much emphasis on developing our colleagues and continually aiming for improvements.
"Our assessor reported that he found a strong sense of ownership and pride in working at the Society and that everyone understood our values and felt involved. It is a fantastic endorsement of what we have achieved and what we will continue to build on."
To reach IIP gold status, companies undergo a rigorous assessment by Investors in People Centre, Inspiring Business Performance (IBP), and must show exceptional working practices in areas such as people management; leadership; staff involvement and empowerment; work/life balance and health and well being of staff.
One of the most successful manifestations of the way in which it has set out to achieve these last objectives is through its cycle to work scheme [http://www.flexiblebenefits.coop/cycle-to-work/], in which it is acting as a trailblazer for other companies.
John Telfer, Managing Director of IBP, said: "Achieving a Gold award is a great achievement and sets The Midcounties Co-operative apart as one of the best Investors in People in the country - just 2% of organisations in the UK achieve Gold. The fact that they have sustained this standard is a real triumph."
The assessment report for Midcounties highlighted its 'excellent' management development programme, its willingness to 'listen and learn' at all levels within the Society, its colleague councils to raise issues with senior management and its willingness to use external benchmarking. These initiatives helped Midcounties position itself in an 'elite band' of businesses achieving the Gold standard.
The assessor said he found a desire to help all colleagues to develop their full potential and meet their career aspirations.
Midcounties employs more than 9,000 people and on 31 October was named Co-operative of the Year 2012 at the annual Co-operative Awards which celebrate excellence, innovation and ethics in business.
It has its headquarters in Warwickshire, with trading outlets in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Shropshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire and the surrounding counties. Its childcare business extends to further areas, including the offering of childcare vouchers [http://www.flexiblebenefits.coop/childcare-vouchers/] incentive schemes for employers, and Co-operative Energy has customers nationwide.