‘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.

Bringing digital skills and thinking into Leading the Way

We know that store colleagues can sometimes find it difficult to get the information they need to do their jobs. Whether it’s hiring a team member or loading a bakery price gun, it’s taking valuable time out of the day and making things generally harder than they need to be.

So we’ve formed a team in Co-op Digital, working with colleagues in Food, to build a new digital product to solve the problem. It’s all part of our ‘Leading the Way’ programme. This product has a working title at the moment, of ‘How to do things in Food stores’. (Got a better name? Answers on a postcard, no citrus fruits please…)

Making things easier to find and understand

First of all we’re taking content from Citrus, the intranet, and anywhere else we can find it, about how to do things in a store, and we’re putting it all in one place. We want our information to be easy to locate with a navigation structure that reflects how store colleagues think about things, and to make searching easier.

We know that Citrus’ search doesn’t work. We also know that our colleagues in store (along with millions across the world) are using Google to find things out in their day-to-day lives. So we want to build something for the Co-op that meets those expectations and does the job it needs to do.

But we’re also making our content easy to read and understand, when it hasn’t always been that way in the past. This is important for everyone: for colleagues who have been with us for over 20 years, as well as for colleagues who might be new, or have English as a second language.

Building digital skills and thinking

As well as building a product, we’re helping to bring digital skills and thinking into Leading the Way. What do we mean by that? Well, a few things…

Working in multidisciplinary teams

Often, companies are organised into functions – marketing, operations, IT. Those teams sit together in their functions, and interact with other functional departments in working groups or steering groups or other groups.

photograph showing part of our multidisciplinary team around a whiteboard.

At Co-op Digital, we work in cross-functional teams every day. Rather than having a team of software developers and a team of designers, each team is a product team made up of lots of different roles. We have an interaction designer, a user researcher, a content designer, a delivery manager, a product manager, and a few software developers too. We all work together and use our expertise in different areas to work quickly. No more waiting for the weekly meeting to find out that something isn’t technically possible, or that a user told us that something didn’t make sense. And we’re collaborating closely with our colleagues in Food – we have 5 colleagues from stores helping us to write content, and a subject-matter expert who is running the workstream, too.

Putting users first

photograph of our work on a white board. main message says: how to do things in Food store. Start with user needs.

The users of the product are more important than the people building it or the business. Those users could be anyone, but in this situation, we think it’s primarily colleagues in stores, and colleagues who work at OSS. We want to learn about how this fits into a user’s life, and what their needs are. For example, we know that a lot of our policy content is quite long at the moment – and we think that really, colleagues go to look up a policy or a procedure when they want to do something. That means we want to give you the information you need at the point you need it – not to have to trawl through lots of irrelevant words.

We’ve seen this kind of thinking in action all the way across Leading the Way, and the way the test and trial process works means that all ideas are getting tested by users before they’re implemented across all stores.

Short feedback loops

Those users I just mentioned…well, in this instance, that’s you: colleagues in stores. We go out into stores often and show colleagues what we’re doing. Usually we’ll show 5 colleagues what we’re working on every 2 weeks. We’ll sit down with a colleague, show them what we’re working on, and ask open-ended questions about what they’re seeing on screen.

photograph from one of our show and tells.

Getting that frequent feedback means we can improve what we’re doing. If no one can find the search box when we show them the website, we can move it, and make sure it is easier to find next time.

What’s next

We’ve given the web address to about 5 stores so far, but there’s not much content on there yet. When we have some more, we’ll be sharing it with more stores. We’ll keep on talking to people in stores across the country to get feedback and insight. It’s been brilliant to meet so many people in stores so far, and we’re looking forward to delivering something that makes life easier for our colleagues.

Anna Goss
Product Lead