How can you reach offline employees and ensure your company’s communication efforts are open and accessible to all?
This week Co-op joined the likes of Tesco, Asda, Heineken, National Grid and Royal Mail in providing an online site for their employees to access publicly, with the launch of coop.co.uk/colleagues.
(Hmm… it’s ironic we call the employees offline, but then use an online platform to interact with them! It’s not necessarily always accurate to call them remote either. Definitely one to ponder for my glossary.)
This idea once again blurs the lines between internal and external communication because everyone can see what is being shared.
And that’s ok. Honestly.
I think this is the way forward. As employees, customers and companies demand greater transparency, so we can expect to see the rise in expectation for internal comms to be viewed externally.
Yes there will always be a reason why certain information will be kept inside an organisation, particularly if it’s sensitive. However this rise of visible “internal” communication looks set to continue and I welcome it.
If you have ‘hard-to-reach’ or offline employees, providing a website they can access via the device of their choice, at a time which suits is smart.
However, the content has to be engaging. People are not going to be so inspired to read about your company strategy they will log on in their personal time. Disappointing though that is…
I know what they will do is actively use a site which has been designed to help employees do their job and access information.
That’s exactly what Co-op is aiming to achieve. They describe the site as “a new way for our colleagues to find the things they want to know about working for the Co-op.”
Typically that includes things like pay dates, benefits, searching who each other are, internal roles and much more.
I thought I’d feature the site as Day 22 of my Countdown to Christmas. Search the tag for any you may have missed.
Here’s what the site looks like…
The problem they wanted to solve
80% of colleagues either had no or very little access to the Co-op intranet (their internal website).
This meant they had difficulty getting access to relevant colleague information. For example, if a colleague without intranet access wanted to know the policy on shared parental leave or how to fundraise for our charity partnership, their only option would be to ask their manager.
Making things better
Writing on the Co-op blog, Peter Brumby, Digital Channels Manager says: “Having access to this type of information helps colleagues manage their working life. So it was fundamental that what we created was open and available on any device.
“The website we’ve built is both those things. It’s also simple to use and easy to navigate.”
We’ve introduced a new level of transparency for Co-op
This is just the start
“We started building the site six weeks ago with the aim of sharing what we’ve been working on with colleagues as early as possible. Now we’re asking for feedback at the bottom of each page. We want to find out what people think about what’s there already and what they’d like to see. We’ll combine their feedback with other suggestions we’ve had and use it to direct how the site develops.”
Just like co-operative.coop, which was launched last week, the site was built by their in-house team.
Peter adds: “Doing things ourselves and working in this way means we can iterate quickly, and often. Our goal is to improve the experience for colleagues every time we make a change.
“I’d like to thank the team for all their hard work: Fiona Linton-Forrest, Kyle Fyffe, Richard Higgins, Tom Walker Ian George, Steve Bruce, Nigel Jones, James Young, Daniel Magraw and Graham Davies. Big thanks also to all our colleagues from around the Co-op for their support.”
The site also includes information like their 2016 review:
Well done to the Co-op team.
I wrote earlier this year about Why the Co-op has had a retro rebrand and am a regular customer at my local store in West London.
What do you think of their site?
Keep an eye on it as sounds like it will change over time and constantly improve.
More info on internal/external sites:
See other sites for yourself: greenroom.heineken.com, Asda’s Green Room, National Grid, Royal Mail and Tesco.
Most of them have employee log-in sections so sensitive information can be shared and they get a personalised experience.
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Post author: Rachel Miller
First published on the All Things IC blog 22 December 2016. Updated 2018