The Co-operative Group and its employees

In an ideal world, co-operative businesses would be able to acquire the business products and services they needed from other co-operatives.

Sadly, the world is not ideal. The Co-operative Group obtains the “workforce management software solutions” it needs from US based private equity company Kronos, so that employees’ timekeeping, sickness and attendance records and much else are chewed through and processed by Kronos’s algorithms. Obviously the Co-op Group needs effective tools to handle its HR but I wonder whether a US giant which promotes itself as helping firms among other things ‘control labour costs’ and ‘improve workplace productivity’ is quite what’s needed to encourage staff to identify with the co-operative way of doing business. The Group is working hard to rebuild its membership. It also needs to ensure it has a committed workforce.

Better or worse than the rest? How are coops managing on management?

I mentioned last week that The Guardian is currently running a series of six pieces from me on the theme Can coops compete?  The second in the series considers management issues and was published today (here).

Are coops condemned to see the best and brightest management staff heading off to, say, Sainsburys or Tesco?  Or – in principle at least – can coops, because of their ethical values, attract more committed employees?

And what about the way coops train their staff?  Should cooperative business education be different from conventional business education?