What happens after ‘submit’?

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The first 6 weeks of 2018 have already seen over 160 ideas and suggestions come in from colleagues around the business, but what happens to these ideas once they land with the Colleague Insight team?

Our first step is to add them to our growing database of ideas, where we categorise all incoming submissions by what area of the business they align to and what type of idea they are. The overwhelming majority of submissions we get are about topics that various teams in the RSC are already working on fixing, with projects that are either just getting started or well under way. When we get an idea that relates to this, our first step is to engage with project manager and offer them the feedback; they’re the subject matter expert and they’ll know how best to quantify what’s come in.

Sometimes, we’ll take a little longer in getting some feedback across to the teams here, but that’s because we want to present a full picture of what’s being said. If one colleague has suggested that a plan should be done in a certain way, but then 3 other colleagues suggest it should be done in a different way, we need to report that fairly.

One example we had last year involved two colleagues from different parts of the country who, in the space of a week, suggested completely opposite and opposing solutions to an ISB-related issue. So for us, getting it right can sometimes be tricky.

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Alternatively, we often get a lot of feedback all saying the same thing; that happened only recently with the publication of the Q1 Rhythm and Routine book. We got a lot of feedback in a short amount of time from people all saying they missed having the financial information pages, so from Q2, this will return.

A recent innovation from the Colleague Insight team has seen us use hackathons to not only gather suggestions, but work through solutions together. Our first one last November proved successful, so we’ll be hosting our next one in Manchester on March 22nd. If you’d like to get involved, leave a comment and an email address and we’ll get back to you.

 

‘How Do I?’ The Story So Far

I’m Marc and I’ve been with the Co-op now for over 9 years working my way from Customer Team Member to a Team Manager. For the past 6 months I’ve been working on the ‘How Do I?’ site with 5 colleagues from stores – rewriting policies to replace the old CITRUS ones. In November the site launched to all stores, and since then the site has had over 250,000 page views and our store colleagues have shared over 600 pieces of feedback.

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Actioning the feedback

With each piece of feedback we always look at ways we can try and improve the site to make it easier for colleagues to use and understand. Whether that be from making a certain process easier to follow, or adding in links to related content so that it takes less time to find what you’re looking for. We’re continuously fine-tuning things to make it as easy and straightforward to use as possible.

The more feedback we get, the better we can make ‘How Do I’. There is the option on every page to send in feedback including any issues with finding content on the site. So if you search for something and it’s not immediately clear where it is, changes can be to make it easier to find.

Taking the bad with the good

Obviously it’s not always rainbows and butterflies – as much as it’s great to hear how colleagues are really enjoying using the site, it’s great getting feedback on any opportunities or challenges too. We encourage all colleagues to share any feedback, no matter how minor, as even if it’s only a small change, there’s likely to be someone else who might be thinking the same. It’s this feedback that drives the improvements that are continuously being made – such as adding keywords that have been searched and improving the search engines priorities.

What’s next?

The ‘How Do I’ homepage has just been improved, so it’s now clearer to see what policies have been recently updated. You can not only see what the policies are but also a description of what has changed – so there’s no need to search through the page to find the change. This year there are plans to look at making ‘How Do I’ available on own devices so you’ll be able to use the site whenever you need to, not limiting the site to just on a computer. If you haven’t already, why not go and give it a look yourself!

Marc Kurucz

Team Manager, Petrol Marple

 

 

Approaching Risk Collaboratively

Risk Team

For the Food Risk Team, keeping our stores safe for our colleagues and customers is our number one priority, and through 2018 we will be taking a more collaborative approach to look at how we can improve store operations.

A New Approach

The food business has invested a great deal to re-invigorate our approach to risk, and key to this is establishing a dedicated Food Risk team within the Retail Support Centre. For a long time Risk has been a Group function, but we believe that stores deserve a front line risk support team who are in touch and engaged with our food stores, and can act as a first-line support.

Bringing in Experience

The new team brings together experienced risk colleagues into the Food support centre to support stores. Our team of 24 Food Risk Support Officers (FRSOs) will bring with them a huge amount of experience and working within food they will be closely aligned to our stores with one clear objective – to make our stores safer for colleagues and customers.

What Stores will see

From 4th February the FRSOs will be embarking on a series of operational assessments which will run through 2018. But where previous audits have been focused on spot-checks and reactively supporting stores after incidents, our new approach will be more collaborative. For each assessment, the team will be spending around 6 hours in your store – looking at all elements of store operations and operational compliance. We’ll be looking at processes that we have never reviewed before, and by spending more time in stores and speaking first-hand to colleagues and store teams we will have a great opportunity to identify where processes aren’t working, and to speak to colleagues on the front line to get their insight on how things can be improved and simplified.

Benefits for stores

This is also a great opportunity for our store colleagues to speak to the team and give your feedback and insight on how we can improve things. We will be using the data and insight we gather during the assessments to feed in to the Retail Support Centre to drive the changes, improvements and opportunities that will make your stores simpler and safer for colleagues, customers and members.  The Team are really excited about this can’t wait to get out to meet you.

How we improved service in 2017

In 2017, the Retail Support Centre re-launched with a clear aim of improving service by simplifying the work we do – to bring the Co-op difference to life. Since then teams across the Retail Support Centre have been listening to stores more than ever, to get to the heart of how we can improve the service we give to stores. More than ever, in the past 12 months the feedback of our store colleagues has been essential in shaping the improvements we have made.

Supporting Store Services

Across store services we have seen some great improvements. We allocated over 5,700 additional hours for Hermes over Christmas – helping stores handle the 250,000 parcels that came through during the festive period. This earned just under £200k in income in December alone. We also got better at communicating this, by sending weekly updates which as a result of feedback from stores will now become a permanent monthly cascade.

We have supported in promoting the benefits of having great availability in scratchcards and stores have responded seeing an increase of 4% across the estate.

In response to great demand from stores & the communities we serve, we installed Costa machines in to 12 stores in December – outside of the acquisition and refit programme – so far generating over £11k in sales, with more stores planned in 2018.

We’ve had some great feedback about improved ATM availability over Christmas, and have supported 12 stores in introducing an ATM to support the community where there has been local bank closures – leading to £12k in commission in Q4!

Simplifying Communications

At the heart of improving service to stores is reducing complexity. Communications is a key area where we have been working hard to simplify. We have reviewed how we communicate, and the Food Internal Comms team and the RSC have been working more closely together to simplify messages to stores as well as stopping ‘Illegal’ messaging. We’ve created a new comms process and shared it with the business to ensure all messages are either planned of agreed before they’re sent to stores.

We have reduced comms messaging to stores by 10%, with an additional 40% reduction in messages sent on Fridays and Saturdays. We have also challenged back to the business around incorrect messages which has helped us reduce the number of ‘apology’ messages by 75%.

We have additional work to do in ensuring quality of submissions from the business to the Comms team and activity is already underway to coach and support colleagues across the business to improve how we communicate. Going in to 2018, the comms team will be collaborating with Colleague Insight team to carry out a full review of a store inbox to see what they receive in a week and from who, to look at more ways we can reduce the volume of comms stores receive.

Better Operational Service

On the OSS desk, call volumes have decreased by a massive 20% in 2017 from 208,000 to 166,000,  with the launch of ‘How Do I’ playing an important role in ensuring colleagues have the information they need when they need it. Additionally we are getting better at answering the phone quickly, with 70 % of calls now being answered in under 30 seconds, and we’ve had some great feedback from stores:

“I love the email function to OSS”

“The improvement in OSS in the past 12 months has been unbelievable, from the speed they answer calls to the knowledge of the operators, which has seen massive improvements”

We’re Listening more than ever

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We’ve been listening more, and the Colleague Insight team is building on the work done previously by Listen Act and Fix to develop more ways for us to listen to the colleague voice. We held the first RSC ‘Hackathon’ in October, as well as co-ordinating Store Manager Listening groups. To help give colleagues a forum to share ideas we’ve rebuilt our Intranet page and set up the colleagueinsight@coop.co.uk email address, where colleagues can send us ideas on how we can simplify store operations.

We know we have a lot more to do in 2018, and colelague insight and feedback will be at the centre of the way we support stores, improve service and deliver change in 2018. The Colleague Insight team will be building on the groundwork set by Listen, Act and Fix to provide more detailed insights into what matters most to our colleagues, and will be collaborating closely with teams from throughout the Retail Support Centre to ensure colleagues feel supported and that their voice is listened to.

Colleague Insights on Change

In 2017 we held a number of listening events for store colleagues. This year we want to do a better job of using that feedback to shape ideas, and last week the Colleague Insight Team held our first workshop session of 2018 with a group of store colleagues. It was a chance to directly influence the key areas you’ve been taking about. The session covered a lot of ground, but the focus was how in different ways we can remove any duplication and free time up in store to focus on what matters most.

Rhythm and Routine

We began by building on one of the key topics from the previous RSC Hackathon – the Rhythm & Routine Book. The changes we made in December received mixed feedback, and it was clear we could do better. Our colleagues broke off into groups to discuss what works with the current book and what doesn’t

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The overall feeling was that while the book added value in some aspects, it had become over complicated and time consuming. The main positive being that it was a good training tool for new colleagues, but had limited impact with experienced colleagues.

Groups were invited to then design what the book may look like, listing the must have details within the book and focusing on how we can make it as lean as possible. This will now be taken away and reworked and sent to the printers in time for Q2.

Innovating for the Future

Colleagues were also given a preview of the new tablets which will be hitting stores in Q2 – this was a great chance for the group to see some of the capabilities of the tablets, including delivery checking, Verisae, How Do I and Bunzl, but was also an opportunity to feedback to Project Manager James on ways we could best use the tablets in store, with suggestions including bar-code scanner/ spyglass, face-time, and inventory management.

A key focus of the day was to gain the store perspective on how we can land change better. In the Innovation Centre colleagues were given an insight into some of the key ideas, concepts and technology that may help shape our future stores, including digital warehouse mapping, electronic SELs and voice activation.

“It really makes me feel more confident that we are looking to the future” Darren, Team Manager

“I’m surprised how much focus there is on Safety” Callum, Team Manager

Our colleagues were clear on the positives of the innovation ideas they saw, especially the focus on safety, but they were equally clear that they felt it was important to focus on fixing the issues that affect stores in the ‘here and now’.  It was clear that SELs and POS was called out as a priority focus for our store colleagues.

The ‘Here and Now’

We finished off the day with a session on looking at how we can make sure we have the best processes in store. As well as looking at some of the methods we will be using to improve how we operate, some of the suggestions included giving Team Leaders more responsibility in briefing colleague on change, and to bring more consistently co-op ways of working to all roles, from Area Manager to CTM.

The Colleague Insight team will be doing all we can in 2018 to ensure our colleagues have the voice to shape the change that will be coming, so don’t forget, if you have an idea on how we can improve or simplify things in stores, or if you would be interested in attending any future listening sessions, please drop us a line at colleagueinsight@coop.co.uk

How sketching sessions can help us make our stores more efficient

We’ve been collecting ideas for digital products and services with people that know most about problems in stores – our colleagues. 

Recently, our area and regional managers got together for their annual conference. During the afternoon we held breakout sessions where the Leading the Way team showed some of the digital products we’ve been working on. And we also ran a ‘sketching session’.

Sketching is a technique Leading the Way has been using to help us pool ideas from subject matter experts. We’ve been doing this both before and during the time we’ve been building products and services. We want to hear from the people who know the most about our problem space – after all, they are the people who experience it every day so their input is really important.  

Then we build on these ideas. Here’s an early sketch of MySchedule, something we’re now working on. It’s amazing to think that just a few months ago, this idea was locked away in someone’s head!

Image shows doodles from a sketching session.

And here’s the real thing:

Image shows MySchedule where teams can find out about their schedule.

How sketching sessions work

We read the group a series of questions and asked them to sketch their response to the questions. So, for example, one of the questions was: ‘How can we make communications simpler in stores?’ Here’s an example sketch that answers that question.

Image of a doodle from a sketching session. doodle shows a megaphone with 'clear, concise message' written above it.
You don’t have to be able to draw to take part. A good sketch can be a scribble, some words, a diagram or absolutely anything that can convey an idea to us.

Anyway, we ran 4 sessions with around 60 people in each, so we got absolutely loads of feedback in sketch format.

photograph of people taking part in a sketching session.

So many ideas! How we filtered

We collected all 500 sketches, took them back to our team and this week we’ve been sorting them and grouping them into themes. We’ve used a ‘filter’ (basically a series of check boxes) to keep us focussed when we sort. You can read more about our filter in our post about our discovery into our food stores.

Pulling out common themes

We’re already seeing lots of common themes in the sketches. For example, lots of people think we need simpler communications ie, just one single way of finding out important information when you’re at work or elsewhere. The sketches also told us that many of you feel swamped with messages and tasks being delivered in numerous ways – see the sketch below.

photograph of doodle from sketching session showing a laptop with the message 'you have 600 emails' on it depicting being overwhelmed by messages.

We also see that you think our stores need some sort of ‘toolkit’ that will make it easier to complete tasks and help colleagues to do all the things they need to do within the time available.

photograph of a doodle from a sketching session that show a 'co-op swiss army knife' depicted like a toolbox to help get all tasks done.

We’re working on some stuff already

We’re really pleased to see that some of the work we are already doing matches up with the ideas people had during the sketching sessions. And even better, we think that some of these sketches may take our new products even further. We’ll take the ideas that fit best and build them into our roadmap.

Here are some that map to our How Do I product.

photograph of sketches that link to our How do I product

What we’ll do next

We’re still working through the sketches, collating the themes and seeing how they can influence what we do next.

Thanks so much to everyone that got involved on the day. It was great to have your support. We’ll blog again soon to share our progress.

Kim Morley
Delivery manager, Co-op Digital

Operations Store Support – championing the voice of stores

To most store colleagues, the Operational Store Support (OSS) desk needs little introduction, but how much do you really know about the team that offers this daily lifeline and vital go-between for the stores and the Support Centre?

Who we are?

Headed up by Interim OSS Manager, Geri Barrington, the department totals 27 advisors, led by a team of 5 – John Copeland, Matt Baker, Phill Searing, Sharon Brown and Ian Charters.

OSSTeam

Between us, not only are store queries answered, but the quality of the answers is managed, and then trends of the calls are plotted – helping us reduce the number of repeat issues and frustrations for stores.

The team is always busy. With around 3,600 calls per week – answered in an industry standard average time of just 30 seconds – our desks on the 4th floor of 1AS are a constant hive of activity. When you then add roughly 700 emails a week, you’ll appreciate it can be pretty non-stop.

What we do, and what we’ve achieved this year

The mission of the team is a simple one; here to be the stores’ listening post, providing exceptional operational support to teams throughout the business. We know that time matters in our stores and that eliminating issues is key to providing a great service to customers and members, as well as supporting a great place to work for our colleagues.

In support of this, we’ve landed 3 key initiatives this year:

1. A customer satisfaction capability to allow colleagues to report on the service they receive
2. An automated e-mail to stores when issues are resolved
3. And the big one – moving 33% of calls from a 48 hour SLA to a 24 hour one, meaning we are resolving these quicker than ever before.

OSS Blog Squircle

Reduction in call volume is now at 18% year on year thanks to the better use of analytics and the support of other teams in the Centre. We’re also using tactical messaging to help stores’ awareness that we know of widespread issues when they call through.

What we’re doing next

We’re starting to explore greater use of technology to enable you to log calls without calling, giving you the tools to fix things yourself in a ‘self-help’ culture, using voice analytics to make it easier for you to interact with us, and other opportunities for the future including web chat. Our aim is to fix problems faster, improve the proactive service we offer, and ultimately free up time for you to do what matters most.

OSSDesk

We’re also helping to support the Leading the Way programme by providing information on the pain points which stores and our colleagues experience – this insight has allowed the programme to prioritise what to investigate first, and how we can make your lives in store simpler.

How you can help

Simply, we’d love your feedback. We’re hearing that you’re happy with our service via our internal CSAT, but we also want to hear your ideas on how we can improve further. You can comment on the blog post or send an email to operational.store.support@coop.co.uk

Gerri Barrington
Interim OSS Manager