Hayley’s willingness to embrace learning has fuelled her love of retail 

Sales Colleague_Hayley

Hayley had spent the best part of a decade living in Spain, whilst working in a supermarket, but when her husband was made redundant, she was forced to go back to the UK and joined Lincolnshire Co-op in October 2020. “The Co-op was the most appealing because they were offering decent contracts,” she says.  

She credits her “amazing” team with helping her see the positives when she returned to the UK. “This job has saved me because I didn’t want to come back to this country,” she says. “I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t got this job and these people. Just coming to work everyday is the best. I honestly think I would be in a bad place if I wasn’t here in this shop.”

Hayley prides herself on top notch customer service, and helps to meet the needs of elderly customers, as well as those with dementia and special needs. “We have quite a few oldies here and we literally do help them with everything,” she says. “It’s just giving people the time and listening.” 

She also helps guide colleagues and show them better ways of working. When the store had the opportunity to welcome a Prince’s Trust candidate, Hayley took them under her wing and at the end of the placement they were offered a permanent position with the team thanks to her care and support.

Hayley’s hunger for knowledge is insatiable - she has undertaken more than 25 training courses to help her develop, including Inclusion and Belonging and Mental Health Awareness. “I like learning new things - what’s going on and how me doing something impacts something else,” she says. “The mental health course was very interesting and helps you recognize the signs of poor mental health so that you can point people in the right direction and help them get help if they need it.”

She has also taken part in Society’s internal development program, Aspire, which is designed for colleagues who are looking to take their first step into a supervisory or management role, but she admits it was a struggle. “I was really out of my comfort zone”, she sighs. “It was all done on Teams and on the computer, which is all alien to me. So not only was I learning all these new things, I was having to do it on the computer, so I did find it hard.” But she remained determined to succeed and was promoted to team leader. “I was going to give up at one point, but I persevered and I’m really glad I did it.”

She is full of praise for her team who have supported her throughout her time at the group. “They are thoughtful and helpful, trustworthy and inspiring,” she grins. “They do everything you ask and more.”

She loves the challenges that working in convenience retail provides. “This job keeps your brain ticking and buzzing and the right level of challenge,” she says. “There’s always something new.”

Despite being a self-confessed technophobe, Hayley is facing her fears head on and her next goal is to go on a computer course. “I just want to do the very best that I can every day,” she says. “And if that means that I need to learn more, understand more, then that’s what I’ll do to help me perform and to help others as well, because if I understand it, then I can tell everybody else.”