Quick facts

About Co-operative Financial Services

When a box arrived at the Belper branch of Britannia Building Society addressed to savings and investment adviser Diane Dove, she was disappointed as it felt empty. But when she opened it, a red star-shaped balloon floated out, notifying her she had been nominated for employee of the year. The awards ceremony was held three months later at Stoke City football club’s Britannia stadium. “ I felt like a star,” says Dove. “People held doors open for me and gave me champagne. I was star-struck by it all.”

Dove isn’t alone in feeling special. Staff say they love working for Britannia and give a 75% positive score in our survey, ranking the company second for this question. Britannia has made a real impact this year, ranking an impressive second in our list after moving up from the mid-sized company list as staff numbers crept over the 5,000 mark.

Dove’s award as employee of the year is evidence that hard work at Britannia doesn’t go unnoticed. She had been working extra hours because a colleague was on maternity leave. Employees say managers express appreciation when they do a good job, the 77% score ranking the company first for this question. They also say that colleagues go out of their way to help each other (79%, again beating every other big firm).

A top score of 70% for the Wellbeing factor shows that work doesn’t take its toll. Staff don’t feel stressed because of work (78%) and are happy with the balance between their work and home life, giving another top score of 73%.

When Debbie Smith, a strategy manager, began at Britannia on a consultancy basis, she was working for herself. She was offered a job at the head office in Staffordshire, but was reluctant to give up her four-day working week. Nor did she want to move from Wolverhampton.

She suggested working a 35-hour week over four days. “They said, ‘Fine, let’s give it a go,’ and that was four years ago,” says Smith. Employees say work doesn’t interfere with their responsibilities at home, giving a top score of 74%, nor is their health suffering (80%).

Richard Denning, assistant to group chief executive Neville Richardson, joined Britannia straight from university and is clear about what attracted him. “I wanted to go somewhere that had development opportunities, that stood out from day one,” he says. His colleagues agree that the job is good for their personal growth (78%) and say the training is of great benefit (70%).

When he started four years ago, Denning was on Britannia’s fast-track management programme, tailored to his needs, and he now has one-to-one coaching with the chief executive every week. Denning isn’t alone in finding Richardson, winner of our special award for leadership, inspiring, with a 74% score for this question. Employees know senior managers truly live the values of the organisation (75%) and say they really listen to them (68%). They agree that managers care about their job satisfaction (75%).

Staff suggestions in the twice-yearly feedback survey are taken seriously. Another top rank for the Giving Something Back factor (66%) comes thanks to changes resulting from such comments. Then there is the Britannia Foundation, a registered charity, which has given £3m to good causes since it was set up in 1988. Employees recognise that the company does its bit for the community (a top 10 score of 60%), and are proud to work for the organisation (80%).

What is it like to work for Co-operative Financial Services

Each year Britannia hold a conference and in 2007 all employees attended one of 12 events held over a 4 week period. These events are led by the Chief Executive who ensures that every employee has the opportunity to speak to him in person. In addition, a group of 10 employees are invited to lunch with the Chief Executive every month as an opportunity to discuss anything they wish.
Britannia’s employee assistance programme, Lifeworks, provides access to a free confidential information and support service available to employees and their immediate family. They also offer flexible retirement options for all employees to enable them to gradually move from full-time work to full-time pension.
Giving Something Back
Giving Something Back
Over the last three years Britannia employees have been visiting primary schools helping with numeracy skills through the Numbers Partners Scheme. Also, in the past 12 months they have implemented a Fit for Finance Scheme aimed at improving financial awareness amongst 14-16 year olds in the local community.

Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here


  • Holidays

    Companies offering a minimum of 25 days annual leave

  • Gym

    On-site gym or subsidised gym memberships

  • Childcare

    On-site nursery or vouchers

  • Health Insurance
    Health Insurance

    Full family cover

  • Pensions

    Companies offering a final salary or non-contributory pension scheme

  • Long Service
    Long Service

    40% of employees with more than 5 years' service

  • Maternity

    At least 10 weeks' leave on full pay

Company Statistics

  • Earning £35,000+:


  • Staff Turnover:


  • UK sites:


  • Male : Female:

    30% / 70%

  • Staff:


  • Graduate Vacancy Locations:

    Excellerate is a generic trainee management scheme over three years where people will experience different parts of the business. We are keen to promote opportunities in operational management (process/sales). In 2007 we widened the scheme to all people who meet the requirements regardless of whether or not they have a degree because we believe in giving all people equal opportunity and our goal is to have good quality managers who live the values. The scheme is open to internal and external applicants. In addition to the above, we also offer approximately 100 professional roles each year in various business departments which require a graduate qualification.


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