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Management development for change at the Co-op

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Co-op is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, one of the world's largest consumer co-operative, and a leader in social enterprise.

Co-op’s approach had to respond to a competitive environment and match wider commercial ambitions. So they launched a new strategy that identified six strategic intents around 'Being a Co-op colleague’. Central to this was the ability to develop people in a truly diverse and inclusive workplace.

‘Transforming the Culture of Learning’ redefined the way learning and development is done in the Food Retail Business at the Co-op and created inspirational new career pathways.

Co-op wanted an approach that allowed individual flexibility, developed the capabilities needed for the future and offered everyone the best possible career at Co-op.

Through structured dialogue, Impact and Co-op worked in partnership to research the current situation, assess future needs, and design a progressive solution to:

  • bring to life the future ambition of the Co-op
  • build a new, energised learning culture
  • form the foundations for growth and change.

The overall objective was to create a tool to help employees plan their career and development path at Co-op, as well as fulfil an immediate need to accelerate the development and on-boarding of new store managers.

Phase 1 – Cultural immersion

Impact conducted extensive research and comprehensively mapped both the current situation at Co-op and the future needs of the business. Qualitative and quantitative research was conducted through 170 questionnaires and 25 interviews.

Phase 2 – Solution mapping

Through business context and development outcomes workshops with 80 key stakeholders, the solution was further defined.

Phase 3 – Pathways established

A myriad of possible learning pathways and required development components for store managers were identified.

Phase 4 – Learning web developed

Optimum flow was identified, and a high-level learning web created.

Phase 5 – Manager pathways designed

Further detailed design for the store manager pathways were developed with the identification of hubs and nodes for store manager development.

The outcome of the project was a comprehensive company-wide Learning Map and Chat Mat that communicated learning and career development opportunities to all colleagues clearly and consistently, improving the impact of learning and development initiatives.

Impact also completed the design of a number of learning modules. These bitesize 1–2 hour sessions were designed for Co-op people to deliver in their own facilities.

The project connected learning and development across the business whilst enabling continuous improvement as new learning destinations are added to the map.

See what our customers say about us
Margaret Ollerenshaw
Head of Leadership, Talent and Learning
“Impact’s partnership with the Co-op and their approach to creative change has helped us to transform the culture of learning in our organisation. Impact worked to truly understand our business & collaborated with our internal colleagues before creating unique learning solutions - solutions that have enhanced the way our colleagues can navigate and develop their careers at Co-op."