Listen, Act and Fix

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.

Photograph of colleagues at a listening session in Llandudno

Photograph of staff in Bromsgrove at a listening session

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.

Joe Wheatley
Colleague Insight Support Officer

8 thoughts on “Listen, Act and Fix

  1. Sam August 1, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    I have to be honest, I find LA&F has left me feeling less engaged rather than more so.

    Over the last 2/3 years I’ve submitted what must be close to 30/40 different suggestions (maybe even more) and in that entire time I’ve had ONE, yes ONE response, and that was a month or so ago. That one response wasn’t even that great in my opinion and I felt that it didn’t even really properly address my suggestion, so I sent a further reply direct via email which was once again not responded to.

    I realise that not every suggestion is feasible, or practical, but one negative response in 3 years can hardly be right. Can it?

    I certainly don’t feel like I have more of a voice or that I’m being listened to based on my experiences with LA&F, and I’m someone who is passionate about the Co-op and the operational aspect of our food retail business.


  2. Zoe Holden August 2, 2017 / 5:05 am

    Fantastic feedback tool for stores and operations to tap in to


  3. john baker September 6, 2017 / 6:44 pm

    I am a memberof staff at your Buxton road store in Whaley bridge high peak today I tried your meal deal of Gannon ,mashed potato and mixed veg my wife and I both enjoyed them a remark from my wife who said that to finish an enjoyable meal would have been a dessert as with the other meal deals they have one


  4. angela elliott September 8, 2017 / 11:14 am

    The carrier bag button is in the same place as exact cash. I have on occasion had to refund and resell. And speaking to colleagues in not alone. Can the carrier bag button be moved please.


  5. Lisa March 27, 2018 / 9:47 pm

    Not sure if am on right page. Co-op gobowen
    Was thinking instead of paper coupons for customers. Why can’t we scan there card and there 50p comes off straight away instead of wasting paper customers losing coupon or time run out on coupon


    • Andrew Skingle March 28, 2018 / 3:00 pm

      Hi Lisa,

      Right page, don’t worry. We’ll send this question over to the teams behind Membership and SMART coupons so they can have a look at them, thanks.


  6. Julie Hall June 8, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    Could we please have some form of plastic disposal unit for glass breakages, this would be beneficial to back hauling as it would be clear to anyone handling it exactly what they were handling, from a shop floor perspective it would save us time hunting through cardboard cages looking for a suitable box to rebuild and house the glass securely into, and reduce the risk of injury by only having to handle the glass once, from floor to receptacle rather than from floor to bucket to cardbox box


    • Co-op June 9, 2018 / 9:59 am

      Hi Julie. Appreciate your suggestion. Perhaps you could share it and any more you may have with the Colleague Insight team at: ^Ian


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