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COOK Culture

As business guru Peter Drucker once famously said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” The whole concept of ‘human resources’ – that people can be drained in the pursuit of profit – has always made us wince. We’re all about people, and for COOK to work requires a remarkable team effort, with everyone from washer-uppers to IT technicians, shopkeepers to delivery drivers, all working together. You’ll get a good idea of what that means by digging in the links below…


1. People Not Human Resources

We have a People Team at COOK, not Human Resources. That might seem like a minor detail, but it implies something significant.We want to treat everyone as important and valuable for who they are, not for what they can do for COOK.We reject the idea that employees simply exist as a resource to be drained by a company in pursuit of profit.Taking care of people is the right thing to do. And we’ve found that, in return, they help take care of COOK.

2. Creating Community

One of the challenges as we’ve grown, with our team spread around the country, is continuing to build a meaningful COOK community. Articulating our values in 2012 was a turning point.Our Essential Ingredients resonated as we hoped they would and have given us a common language and moral compass.They guide our behaviour, even if they can be difficult and expensive to uphold (but that’s the point).

We’ve learned that shared experience plays a crucial role, so we try to bring people together as often as we can, even though it’s a logistical nightmare. Weekly huddles; regular away days; closing our kitchens and our shops at least once a year to enable everyone to get together; it takes time and money and is worth every penny.

3. Relationships Not Hierarchy

When you assume that people will do the best they can with the tools they have, a culture develops based on listening and empowerment, not command and control. It’s important to recognise and celebrate that all of us are capable of leadership.That means allowing and encouraging everyone to lead, not just those at the top. We recognise each of us is human and imperfect, even (especially!), those at the top.

We know that we need to continually work on shared goals, empathy, and being accountable. All of these help nourish our relationships at work, which in turn, drives our business performance.


4. Leading Ourselves

If everyone is capable of leading others, then we should all be responsible for leading ourselves.That means taking ownership of our own personal development and career. As a company, we invest a lot of time and effort in offering learning opportunities, workshops and training. But we’re also clear that each individual is responsible for making the most of those opportunities or requesting others. Giving people the tools and opportunities to grow helps them ‘own’ their job and feel more fulfilled at work.

5. Purpose Beyond Profit

We believe that to be truly fulfilled in our working lives, we all need to feel that the work we do makes a positive difference to the world. Finding purpose in our work is something we each need to discover ourselves. But through the broader purpose of COOK – nourishing relationships – we aim to give everyone the opportunity to make their own discovery.

Riding the Elevator of Life

Recognising your good days and bad days can unlock your true potential.

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How to be happy at work

Forget climbing the career ladder, working in the 21st century is much more squiggly.

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Work With Us

We’re always looking for remarkable people to be part of our family.

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Essential Ingredients

Discover COOK’s core values.

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Dream Academy

How we’ve used the power of dreams to transform people and our workplace.

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Grow Your Confidence

Growing confidence helps each of us achieve our potential in work and life.

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Best Companies To Work For

The people of COOK have voted us one of the top 100 Best CompaniesTo Work For each year since 2013.

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The Selfie

We don’t do appraisals at COOK, rather we ask people to take charge of their own development through The Selfie.

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