Today we’ve launched ‘How do I’, a new digital service into all our Food stores.
We want all store colleagues to be able to find out how to do something in their store quickly and easily. ‘How do I’ is a website with up-to-date policies and procedures on it, written in a clear, user-focused way.
How we did it
We knew that information about how to do things in stores was kept across multiple systems. Colleagues often had to search pages of policy to find the bit of information they needed. And some policies and procedures were more up-to-date than others, meaning colleagues didn’t always trust the information they were seeing. So our goal was to create a trusted source of better practices in one easily-accessible place.
To do that, we:
- collated all existing policies and procedures
- grouped them in a way that made sense for users
- separated policies and procedures into actionable tasks
- rewrote everything in a way that colleagues can easily understand – using the language that they do
- researched with users along the way to find out if we were making something useful and understandable
Building something for users, with users
Co-op Digital builds user-centred products and services – things that make people’s lives easier. That means doing the hard work centrally to make things clearer, simpler and faster for our users. To do that we speak to users and show them what we’re building frequently. We change what we’ve designed based on how they interact with it and what their needs are.
For us, our users are colleagues in Co-op Food stores. And we involved colleagues from stores as much as possible while writing content and building the site.
In the past 6 months, we’ve visited 23 stores around the country and spoken to 46 colleagues in stores. We’ve also spoken to colleagues working in our Operations Store Support (OSS) team, who field queries from stores every day.
As well as visiting stores and showing them our works in progress, we involved store colleagues in writing the content too. Six colleagues were seconded from stores for 6 months. They worked with our content designers in Digital to learn about writing clear, simple, effective content that focuses on the needs of the user.
Using feedback to make it better
We’re building services with colleagues. We work with them, listen to their feedback and adapt services so that they’re continually useful for the people who will use them.
Since July this year, 10 test stores in Manchester have had access to an early version of How do I. In September, we also gave it to 2 other areas – Surrey, and Glasgow. That means that 47 stores have been using the website, and giving us feedback which we’ve been using to make improvements.
Every page on the website has a feedback function, so colleagues can tell us if they found the information they were looking for and whether it answered their question.
Giving people early access to what we’re doing kept us on the right path, and helped us to decide what to focus on next.
We’re still improving it
We’ve got ideas that we think will make How do I better, and we’re working through them. Here are 2 examples:
- Giving colleagues easier access
We learnt that most of the time, when a colleague isn’t sure how to do something, they ask someone else in their store, call another store or text a colleague. It’s easier to do that than to look it up on the existing system.
At the moment, colleagues can only access the site through the store computer. We know that this can take colleagues off the shop floor, and takes longer than asking the person next to you. We’re hoping to have a way for colleagues to sign in and access the site from any device early next year.
- Including Food HR policies
There’s still multiple places to look for information – on both How do I and the intranet. We’re working with our colleagues in Food HR to get their policies onto How do I, so it can become the go-to place for everything a colleague might need to know about working in a Food store.
Tell us what you think
We’re going to keep on making How do I better.
The version that’s in stores today isn’t the final version of How do I. We’ll continue to use analytics, research and feedback to improve the service so that it continues to meet the needs of the people that use it.
If you’re a store colleague, log on to your store computer and let us know what you think – we couldn’t have got this far without your input.