Appointment of Chief Membership Officer

We’re delighted to let you know that Rufus Olins will be joining us in October as Chief Membership Officer. This is a new role created on the Group Executive to develop and deliver our new Membership.

With just a few weeks until we launch new Membership to our members there really couldn’t be a more important time to make sure we’re all focused on delivering an engaging, compelling and unique membership offer. Having Rufus in the team will help us achieve this.

Rufus is currently Chief Executive of Newsworks where he has been leading the transformation of that organisation into a digitally enabled membership body representing an important part of our daily lives.

Rufus has also been a senior business correspondent at the Sunday Times, Editor of Management Today and run a series of businesses.

Rufus will work closely with the Member Council to ensure that their role as guardians of Co-operative values and principles is properly reflected in our Membership activities. Russell Gill will report to Rufus, who will also take sponsorship of the Meaningful Membership programme as Alyson Chadwick transitions this into our businesses.

Rufus will have responsibility on the Group Executive for the Communications, Public Affairs and Policy activities overseen by Jon Church and Paul Gerrard, and work closely with the Marketing teams.

He will report to Mike, with a dotted-line to Richard. We’re also recruiting a Digital Membership Services Director, who will work with Rufus, and together these two roles will cover all our Membership activity beyond the governance aspects dealt with through our Group and Council Secretariats.

Welcome Rufus.

Richard Pennycook
Group Chief Executive

Mike Bracken
Chief Digital Officer

 

Testing Co-op Membership

To continue in the spirit of the changes being made to membership and with our renewed focus on better meeting our users needs, it’s been another exciting week for us. We’ve just given 800 colleagues in our support centre at 1 Angel Square , Manchester access to the new Co-op Membership service.

Richard Pennycook (Group Chief Executive) announced the changes at the 2016 Co-op AGM (Annual General Meeting). I’m part of the team ensuring membership is focussed on the needs of its users and we’re testing our updated service with colleagues first to make sure it’s right for when we release to all of our members.

Picture of the new Co-op Membership landing page.
The new Co-op Membership site

The service aims to make it easy for members to:

  • Choose a local charity to support
  • Make the most of their rewards
  • Manage their details
  • Register transactions
  • Order a replacement card
  • Get involved with the Co-op

By only asking for the necessary information to create a membership share account, we’ve also reduced the amount of data a user has to enter to become a Co-op member. This is one step towards Mike Bracken’s (Chief Digital Officer) goal of making Co-op trusted with data.

We found during our research that users are becoming more reluctant to share their data with companies and question how their data is being used. We aim to be completely transparent at Co-op and by listening to and acting on our users feedback this demonstrates that commitment.

User research drives continuous improvement

We’ve been designing the new service with our members, customers and colleagues, holding regular research sessions to gain feedback and insight on early prototypes and ideas. This combined with data from our existing websites enables us to better understand our users, helping to prioritise the next round of development and continue to improve the service.

Picture of Co-op team members carry out user research in Ewloe’s Co-op
Team members carry out user research in Ewloe’s Co-op

We test our designs as early as possible, sometimes we use interactive prototypes, other times we’re simply testing a sketch on a post-it note.

Sometimes, the medium you use to test a design doesn’t matter; the key thing is that you’re testing with real users, to understand what works.

In the lab or In-store

Most of our user research has taken place in controlled environments with pre-screened participants (lab user testing), which has been great for gaining qualitative insight and we continue to research in this way.

Sometimes though, we need instant insight into our designs, so we use guerrilla user testing methods as well. Guerrilla testing is a lean, low cost way of carrying out user research, almost anywhere, any time. We’ve tested our designs in-store, in coffee shops and even in the street, gaining new insight each time.

We’ll continue to test and learn with our colleagues over the next few months with the aim of releasing to all members in the autumn.

In the meantime you might just catch us in your local Co-op testing out some new designs. Or if you are a colleague or a council member and want to find out more you can join us at our regular show and tell which is every Thursday 9.30 – 10.00 on the 13th Floor of 1 Angel Square.
Jack Fletcher

Highlights from the Co-op senior leadership event.

Last week I attended an event with group of around a hundred senior leaders from across the Co-op. It’s the first time I’ve been invited and I was proud to be included. It all sounds formal and intimidating, but that’s not what I felt when I got there. Everyone was warm, friendly and keen to know who I was and what I did.

The two days consisted of presentations and workshops. I got to see lots of exciting and insightful things from every area of the Co-op. The exec welcomed feedback on what we could do better.

Co-op Enterprise Leaders Event

 I learned so much in a short space of time – I thought I’d share my favourite bits:

 Richard Pennycook and  Rod Bulmer  showed just how much they care about the Co-op. They’re approachable, grounded and witty.

 Andy Phelps shared some great tips how to best engage your team through change. He’s even lending me a few books.

Robert MacLachlan exemplified the spirit of  our Funeralcare business.

James Holland from Co-op Electrical brought a tear to my eye. He talked about his best friend who suffers from a severe health issue. We employed him and supported him through his treatment. This reminded me the Co-op has a good heart.

I’ve never felt so positive about the future of the Co-op.

Danielle.
@MrsDHW