Behind the scenes of our award-shortlisted content - #1 'Welcome to Co-op'
Later this month we'll be heading to London for the Learning Technologies Awards ceremony, hoping to add to our collection of 8 Gold awards. As we look forward to the ceremony, we're turning the spotlight on the work that went on behind the scenes to create the projects we've been shortlisted for. To start with, let's see how 'Welcome to Co-op' came to life.
"I love the variety of the work we do with Co-op" says Acteon consultant Rebecca Trigg. "We've worked with teams across the Group - Membership, Food, Funeralcare, the People team and others too. The opportunity to help shape their Induction was fantastic - it meant we were able to use our knowledge of different areas of the businesses as we started to think about the very start of someone's Co-op journey."
There are two key challenges to delivering an uniquely Co-op induction. The first is that they welcome nearly 400 new colleagues each week, and those colleagues are spread across more than 3,750 locations - from Penzance to the Highlands. Challenge #1 - Diversity of audience; delivering a consistent experience that works as well for someone on their first day in the Manchester head office as for a new starter in the Co-op Funeralcare branch across the road from Acteon in Cambridge.
The second element is the Co-op story. This couldn't be an induction that highlights organisational structure, sales targets and health and safety procedures. Co-op's rich history and special culture is at the heart of what they do and how they work, and it's of huge importance that new starters feel part of that from the very first day. Challenge #2 - Onboarding, the Co-op Way; telling the Co-op story in a way that helps people feel directly connected and see its relevance to the way they will work in their new role.
Acteon Partner Owen Rose says "We knew that we wanted people to finish the induction feeling like they were part of something, and the best way to do that is to hear from other people who have had the same experience. We couldn't use video of existing colleagues due to bandwidth constraints, so we had to find another way to bring their stories to life.".
The answer was found in the Co-op brand style - we spotted an opportunity to keep the individuality and warmth we'd wanted to capture on video and present it in an alternative way. Our talented designers, Sally and Jen, adopted Co-op's illustration style and turned video interviews with existing Co-op employees into on-brand bandwidth-friendly animations - think Creature Comforts without the tortoises.
This meant we could build the voice of Co-op colleagues in to the induction, but what about the Co-op story? We blended interactivity, more animation and videos to bring to life the history, values and culture of the Co-op - meaning that learners were taken on a journey starting with archive footage of the Rochdale Pioneers, through to animations that show how their original values are still a part of the way the business operates today and telling stories such as the difference that Co-op Fairtrade wine makes to the lives of those producing it.
We also needed to look at the technology behind the content. This couldn't feel like a traditional e-learning module, it needed to be an experience that immediately engaged the learner and made them feel really part of something special from the very beginning. To do this, we took inspiration from the way mobile devices are used, and developed an invisible interface - a seamless experience that immersed the learner in the Co-op story. The induction content was designed to work in the same way however it was accessed - on mobile, tablet, desktop or laptop (and meant that wherever the user was, they had the same experience).
While the learning experience is seamless for the user, behind the scenes it was actually made of a selection of individual modular animations - meaning that it's easy to make changes in the future without having to redo the whole piece.
We set out to create an experience that users enjoyed, that made an impact and enabled Co-op to provide an induction to far more new starters than they had ever been able to before.
We were delighted to learn that 94% of users rated their experience as 'good', 'very good' or 'excellent' and that the number of new starters receiving the Co-op story has more than doubled. This was in addition to a significant cost saving to the business.
The Co-op team received feedback from users that was exactly what they (and we) had hoped to hear - things like "All of the positive stories made it exciting to start and be a part of the Co-op.", and Carol Kestin, Co-op's Head of Learning Portfolio said of the content "This is exactly the kind of engaging and authentic experience that we want Co-op's digital learning to be about."
'Welcome to Co-op' is shortlisted in the category of 'Excellence in the design of learning content - commercial sector' at the 2019 Learning Technologies Awards.