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At Co-op we’ve always had great L&D tools and resources on offer – our challenge in the past was that colleagues didn’t always know how to access them. This could be frustrating for people and make it harder for them to learn the new skills they need to progress their career. We’ve listened to feedback from colleagues in all our businesses, and used their insights to build a new, accessible development offer. 

Our new development offer

In building our new development offer, we’ve focused on making it easy to navigate for our colleagues. It consists of three different components, and we launched it at the beginning of November – we’re now testing and learning about how it works, with a view to continuously improving it in line with colleagues’ needs. The three components of the learning offer are:

  • Topics – we’ve grouped our learning portfolio into 10 universal Topics that are relevant to all colleagues, and we’ve been selective about the resources included to makes sure it’s the best learning we have available
  • Profiles – we’ve identified key moments in a colleague’s career where they’d benefit from additional support, and focused on helping them to reflect and embed learning by completing on-the-job experiences
  • Learning Groups – we know our colleagues love to collaborate and learn together, so we’re currently trialling Learning Groups which bring colleagues who have a common goal together on a collaborative coaching journey 

As with all good learning design, our decisions about what to include are based on the goals we set at the start. We decide the purpose of each Topic or Profile, consider who the audience is, how it will support personal growth, and why it’s important to our colleagues and our business. From there, we map the most appropriate content, focusing on digital resources that provide variety through a range of formats, with options for both bite-size and longer, more in-depth learning.  

Creating a distinctive brand 

We were keen to showcase the new offer by creating a distinctive internal brand which could be used across all our comms and platforms. We worked with our in-house Design Studio to explore different ideas and styles, continually referring back to what we wanted our colleagues to feel and what they needed from our offer. Our discussions centred on having a credible offer that creates energy and excitement for colleagues. This led us to look at the science behind learning and the different kinds of imagery that could reflect this.  

When we repeatedly engage in a learning activity our neural networks fire, creating pathways in the brain. We decided to use images of electricity particles throughout the Development Hub where colleagues go to access learning resources, and these reflect the electro-chemical pathways being created within our brains whenever we learn a new skill. 

Looking ahead

So far feedback has been fantastic – we’re seeing high engagement with our new Hub, and we’re actively gathering colleague feedback at several different touchpoints with a thorough evaluation plan.

Our next development to the offer will be trialling a self-diagnostic tool, allowing colleagues to input their personal growth needs and receive personalised learning recommendations. We’re also exploring ways to recognise colleagues’ commitment to their personal growth. 

It’s a great feeling knowing you’re helping your colleagues to learn and grow. I feel confident our new development offer will help even more people fulfil their career ambitions at Co-op.

Kerry Jary,

L&D Campaigns Manager.