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“Communicating the successes and failures of the business is a core part of what The Midcounties Co-operative seeks to do. “In the last month we’ve grown to a billion-pound business,” explains Simmons. “And it’s great that we can celebrate this with all our colleagues. But in the past where there have been downtimes we have stuck to being transparent. Everyone has the right to know how we’re really doing,” she adds.

Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, the UK trade association for co-operatives, said: “We’ve seen that tribes are very important in the consumer world, and it’s the same in the workplace. The workplace is fundamental to our lives.

He adds: “It’s not for everybody because they do demand responsibility from the employees. You have to be very careful with who you recruit into your organisation, but you don’t see the same churn and flow that you do in other companies, co-ops tend to keep people for far longer.”

Mayo concludes that “recruiting graduates is a social responsibility”, and it’s reassuring to see that co-operatives are offering an increasingly attractive proposition for new entrants to the employment market.”

Read more: http://socialenterprise.guardian.co.uk/social-enterprise-network/2013/may/24/co-operatives-popular-places-work