My alarm blares from across my apartment. Admittedly I’m not at all a morning person and to pry myself from sleep I set my alarm clock in the next room. My manager has approved me working from home this morning to facilitate a store visit later in the day. I boot up my laptop, make a cup of coffee and begin to respond to e-mails out on the balcony.
Flexibility and work/life balance is something I’m really passionate about and is the main focus of a project I’m currently rolling out to stores. Coles is making balance a priority for its team I couldn’t be happier about it.
After providing some updates to my team on the status of the three projects I’m working on, I load up my bag, change into a dress shirt and head to the train station. I’ve thought ahead and left my bike at the office so I can squeeze some exercise in on the way home.
I arrive at our Prahran store, which, at 10.30am is launching the Quiet Hour initiative. This involves turning off the music, reducing activity on the shop floor and dimming the lights to make the shopping experience easier for those who suffer from sensory sensitivity or are on the autism spectrum. The team are excited about the project and I gather some feedback on the training and materials they received before having a chat to some customers. Most weren’t aware of the project but really appreciate the calm atmosphere and said they’d spread the word.
One of the things I love at Coles is how the smallest operational change can have a meaningful impact on hundreds of thousands of Australians.
I meet up the rest of the People & Culture graduate team for lunch. As we’re approaching the end of our program a number of us are looking to roll off onto permanent roles both within Coles and externally. Lauren, one of the graduates who started at Coles with me has found an external opportunity; it’s an emotional hour, but a great time was had by all!
I arrive back at the office in Tooronga and grab my second coffee for the day, the walk back was a sweltering 33 degrees. Arriving back at my desk, I review my to-do list for the day.
I have a presentation in just over an hour and have a number of pieces of data to look at for the remainder of the day before I present my findings to my team for review.
I’m leading a presentation today at the Quarterly People & Culture huddle, where I’ll introduce four new senior leaders to the team. The event is conducted live to an audience of several hundred people, both in the room and streamed to our state teams across the country. I decided it would be fun to ask the new members of the senior leadership team some of the interview questions we give to aspiring Coles graduates. Questions like: “If you were a Coles Brand product, which would you be and why?”
Full disclosure – I’m not sure their answers would measure up to the responses we receive from candidates!
The opportunity to network with senior leaders is another reason I love working here, the industry experience I can tap into when I have a conversation with these inspiring people is mind-blowing.
Make it back to my desk and the adrenaline rush of the presentation gives me a nice little productivity boost when it comes to analysing the latest reporting for a project that’s just launched in store. The numbers give me an indication of which regions in the country are adhering to our new process and which need some support to reach the level of engagement we’d like.
I begin to compile a list of Regional People & Culture Managers I’ll engage with to talk about how their stores are performing and how I’ll present this info to the wider team.
After my calls and having a chat with my team about the results I’ve analysed, I begin to jot down my to-do list for tomorrow. I prepare a few quick questions for a team of external contractors that are doing some data crunching for us as we have a catch-up scheduled for first thing in the morning (I also double check I’ve got enough coffee grounds in my desk drawer to be cognisant of their replies!).
I head down to the gym to change into some very flattering lycra for my ride home, and have an impromptu chat with some GMs from the supply chain space (there’s no photos of this part of my day, I’m sure you understand!). They’re interested in my experiences in the People & Culture space as only twelve months ago I was in a supply planning rotation as part of my graduate journey.
Arrive home and begin to plan out my evening – an 80s action flick and some homemade burritos sounds like a great way to finish off the day!