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CITRUS: A whole new flavour of training, communication and support for The Co-operative

Thursday 8 September, 2011

CITRUS: A whole new flavour of training, communication and support for The Co-operative

The Co-operative Group is a hugely diverse and complex organisation – doubling in size twice in less than six years. It has over 3,000 food stores, post offices and petrol stations, with a presence in every UK postcode area. This sheer scale provides massive challenges in terms of implementing training and operational plans – as well as just keeping everyone up to date. So the company has radically overhauled its training, communication and support systems – working with BT learn Diverse to create CITRUS. This new web-based application is now supporting consistent communications and training for up to 80,000 unique users nationwide. And that's just for starters...

CITRUS stands for Communication, Induction, Training, Resource, Understanding and Support. It's part of a wider two-year programme to revolutionise The Co-operative Food Group's training, support and communication systems. And it's taken a lot of very hard work to get it in place.

The first phase of the programme was launched and trialled at 81 sites. After just four months The Co-operative had over 30,000 people on CITRUS, and this increased to all the customer-facing staff when 'Age Restricted Sales Refresher Training' was launched on it a few months later.

So what does it do?

CITRUS provides every single store and Post Office colleague with a structured, consistent induction programme. It's dramatically cut the time it takes for induction courses and it means people can be up and running with confidence within days of joining. Its other benefits include:

less money spent on training materials. Online induction has helped slash the amount of paper-based induction materials and DVDs produced.

less reference manuals churned out. The new online Policy and Procedures library means the company has less need for paper-based reference materials.

instant, consistent guidance. Isolated store-specific 'ways of working' have now gone. CITRUS provides a consistent set of induction and policy measures. This ensures that no new colleagues are let loose on the shop floor before they've mastered the appropriate skills (both technical and operational) to help them perform tasks and deal with customers confidently.

personal help, guidance and support. Each of the Society's 69,000 colleagues can now log-in and get access to their own personal online induction and training screen. They automatically get the right mix of training modules to mirror their store's trading attributes and customer offers (e.g. Delicatessen, Petrol etc).

Sally Taylor, Head of Client Training at BT Learn Diverse, says: "We are delighted to be working with such a fast-paced and innovative business as The Co-operative Food, and right from the outset we have worked very closely with their internal teams to ensure we are deploying technology that works and brings real benefits, rather than just providing 'technology for technology's sake'.

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