Viroqua Food Co+op Blog

Viroqua Food Co-op Staff Survey Shows High Staff Engagement

Posted by Alycann Taylor on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 @ 06:03 AM

2016-Alycann-and-Staff.jpgWhen customers walk into the Viroqua Food Co-op, they are met and served by a very impressive group of employees. These very skilled people are educated and dedicated to the work that they perform here at VFC.
As Human Resources Manager, I am charged with staff services. To ensure we are meeting the needs of our employees, every 2-3 years, we utilize CDC Consulting Co-op to conduct a confidential, comprehensive Staff Engagement Survey. Our most recent survey was conducted in Feb. 2015. All employees (except the General Manager) participated in the survey, and 17 were randomly selected for face-to-face interviews with CDS consultant Melanie Reid. Below is a summary of the survey.


The employee survey was conducted to:

  • Gather accurate, comprehensive, non-anecdotal data on employee engagement.
  • Identify the co-op’s strengths and weaknesses as an employer through the eyes of the employees.
  • Provide information to show compliance with the Board policies regarding treatment of staff.
  • Provide comparison to the surveys conducted at the VFC in 2011 and 2013 and other co-ops nationally.
  • Provide a benchmark for future improvements in workplace culture.



Employee engagement remains very high!

A lot of changes occurred since the 2013 survey including the addition of a Store Manager, implementation of Open Book Management, the introduction of the P6 Program, and a physical addition to the back room. The staff grew from 53 in 2013 to 63 in 2015. Even amidst all the changes, workplace culture and employee engagement remains a priority for management.

We love working at our Co-op because:

  • We like and respect each other
    This is a tightly knit, supportive team. We treat each other with respect and this a great place to work! Nearly half of employees, 29 out of 63, have been working here for 3 years or more. The relationships here run deep, and the pride for one’s work, and one’s workplace, are evident in the survey.
  • Management Cares
    Building a positive and productive workplace culture takes hard work and dedication. The VFC Management Team maintains a strong commitment to the staff, to direct communication, to listening and being responsive to employee needs, and to providing a workplace that people enjoy being a part of.
  • We have a voice
    Survey scores and comments indicate that employees feel they are given opportunities to offer input, share ideas and take part in decision-making.



Open Book Management

The educational aspects of Open Book Management (OBM) are well received and appreciated. The survey illustrates that employees find value in the transparency and the conversations that occur when using OBM. It also suggests that it is time to revisit our current model and make changes to build on the positive aspects and keep employees engaged.

Be Mindful of Change

The prospect of growth and expansion is awesome and exciting to the staff. Space is a real concern for employees and under our current space constraints, aspects of work can be challenging. The survey illustrates that while employees welcome expansion, they want to ensure that we maintain the positive VFC Experience throughout the changes.  


Employees recognize that the VFC offers a highly competitive compensation/benefits package for the area in which we live. This is appreciated and well received, but the desire to do better than the norm is evident in our survey. With growth and change, there is a need for a comprehensive review of our compensation structure to ensure that our pay structure is keeping pace with job expectations. (Please look to the upcoming Winter Pea Soup for a detailed report regarding our compensation structure.)

In conclusion, this last Staff Engagement Survey illustrated that our employees feel very positive about their workplace experience.

There is a commitment by all to strive toward continuous improvement through direct communication and listening to employee feedback that results in change. These are key reasons why the VFC is a workplace that employees love.

Click here to see results from the previous staff survey

Tags: VFC Staff, Open Book Management