SharePoint & Microsoft Resources

Co-Op’s strategy for connecting its colleagues

Episode 2

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Series 1, Episode 2 – Co-op

Work Happy Podcast: Episode 2

With over half a decade of experience at Co-op, Rebecca Sykes has been taking strides to overhaul their approach to communications among their 70,000 colleagues. While this is no small task, the rewarding nature of celebrating their team’s stories has driven the creation of such campaigns as ‘Safer Stores, Safer Colleagues’, and their contributions to diversity and inclusion.

In this second episode of ‘Work Happy’ Rebecca goes in depth on the introduction and implementation of Office 365 and how it’s already led to tangible benefits, as well as her approach to the difficult task of benchmarking the success of internal communications campaigns.

This episode covers

  • Modernising Co-op’s comms protocols with Office 365
  • The benefits of spreading messaging across different channels
  • Benchmarking and measuring the success of comms campaigns
  • Co-op’s dedicated support for colleagues’ mental health
  • What to expect from “the next normal”
  • Shifts in the job market and locations of their colleagues


Moving away from tradition

“We were quite – I wouldn’t say old fashioned, but traditional is probably a better word – in the way that we did communications when I joined about five years ago. And as you all know, with any big ocean going liner it takes time to turn it. With something like the Coronavirus, that was almost an extra shove in the right direction.”

Two sides of comms

“For me there’s two sides to communications. One is that big picture vision strategy, feeling proud to work at the Co-op. And then there’s the bread and butter, day to day, I need to know, or do, something to do my job. I think I spent the first part of my time at the Co-op really getting that bit right first.”

Targeting individuals

“Each individual has a different set of motivators of things that they care about. So giving them a little bit of everything, and scatter gunning that on as many channels as possible in order that they might see a bit of something somewhere, they can’t miss it because we’ve peppered it throughout.”

Old Intranets

“I’m going to be completely frank with you, our intranet needs killing with fire. It’s been around for many, many years and did a fantastic job. It’s very much a traditional, old school intranet of days gone by. The problem is that it wasn’t really invested in and it is on a platform that is absolutely not supported anymore at all.”

Colleagues at the heart

“The colleague should be at the heart of everything, and they should be the one whose lives we make as easy as possible. That means breaking down those boundaries and collaborating together, but it also means having a platform that allows us to do that really seamlessly.”

Meeting needs

“If you think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, starting with that bottom rung  of keeping people’s basic requirements going, we were doing everything that we could to protect that.”

Using Yammer

“Not only can colleagues go on Yammer and see the encouraging stories themselves, but also we can mine for great things and share them more widely on different channels, because not all colleagues have got access to those channels.”

Teams meetings

“We’re setting up our meeting rooms to seamlessly connect with teams so that we can have people in the office and people at home collaborating on the same call in the best way possible.”

Working Happy

“Work happy for me is working for a company whose values and ethos I absolutely agree with, and it gives me that ability to feel proud of where I work, and the ability therefore to share that pride with others within and outside of the organization.”

Links & References

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