Co-op store colleagues are the most visible face of our business, and they will be the first experience many members have of interacting with our products and services. So it’s really important that we listen to their ideas on how we can improve things and remove complexity.
This is one of the main aims of the Listen, Act and Fix (LAF) team here at Co-op Retail Support Centre. We want to get behind these great ideas which will help improve the way we operate, for the benefit of our colleagues, customers and members.
We’ve been listening
To get this work off to the right start, we recently held a number of listening sessions for colleagues. We heard from 254 colleagues in 24 events in stores right across the country so that we could get a proper impression of what matters most and, just as importantly, hear colleagues’ ideas about how to make things better. We received nearly 1000 pieces of feedback, a 34% increase on the suggestions we received in 2016’s sessions.
We found that, above all else, our colleagues care about Membership: particularly registering new members. But we know that this is a much more difficult process than it should be and is taking too much valuable time in store. So we’re sharing our colleagues’ ideas with the Membership team, working to speed up registrations and make more customers want to join us. The tablet sign-up trial that’s underway at the moment is just one way of doing this, and the idea came directly from store colleagues.
We also found that colleagues had many suggestions and ideas on how we can improve our tills, which can cause unnecessary stress, especially at busy times. So as part of our annual review of assets and equipment, we’re replacing older equipment with newer, faster models, and making some changes to our software. After this we will focus on improving network speeds so that it is easier to get online – and stay there!
And we know that the TARA system is far too complicated for everyday use. After this came up regularly in our sessions, we decided to trial a simplified job structure as well as an app to provide TARA access from a smart device. We’re pleased with the early results and will hopefully have positive news to announce soon. Watch this space!
We’ve been learning
Visiting stores has certainly taught us a lot about the pressures store colleagues face in their roles and know there is still a huge amount of work to be done to reduce these pressures. But we are determined to keep making things better, and we want to put colleague ideas and suggestions at the centre of this.
We know we need to listen more, and ensure we’re championing our colleagues’ ideas. After all, no one knows better what works in-store than those who actually work there. New digital tools are making it easier than ever before to get insight into colleague ideas, and to respond, making the changes we know need to be made.
Our ambition is better engagement and insight: finding and using the great ideas that our colleagues have, and working together to deliver them. We want to make Listen, Act and Fix cultural, as part of a servant-leadership approach, and we want the insight of our colleagues to form a key part of how we plan for the future. Our mission in 2017 is to keep up the momentum.
The Executive team for Food has seen the recent insight from our colleagues and we will soon be sharing our future plans with them. By listening, sharing our ideas, and challenging us all to fix them, we can bring about the important changes we know will really make a difference to our colleagues, customers and members.
Colleague Insight Support Officer