Staff at the Co-operative Group’s food stores and post office franchises are benefiting from the use of a new web-based induction and training programme.
As well as training the business’s new employees, the system offers educational modules to ensure experienced staff can develop fresh skills and keep up to date with new practices.
The application in question is dubbed Citrus, which stands for communication, induction, training, resource, understanding and support, and has been developed in conjunction with BT Learn Diverse - the learning division of BT Expedite.
It has replaced Lotus Notes email, which the Co-op previously used for communication between store and head office.
The Co-op is set to complete the transformation of Somerfield stores next spring following its acquisition of its rival grocer in March 2009, and the new training system will help educate the growing workforce at the business.
Mark Hale, Director of Food IS for The Co-operative Group, said: “The Citrus programme will completely revolutionise our training and communications at both store and head office level.
“Over the last six years The Co-operative’s Food Retail business has significantly grown, both organically and through several substantial acquisitions, and the challenge has been to successfully integrate these businesses, while also encompassing many complex operational communication processes.”
Citrus has been trialled in a number of stores in the Co-op’s 3,000-strong portfolio, including the outlet in Belfast’s Lisburn Road Belfast which was the first to pilot the tool.
Store Manager at the shop in Northern Ireland, Sarah Thurman, said the application allowed staff to take responsibility for their own training.
“It’s a much speedier process so I can spend more time focusing on improving my store and making it a better place to work for my team,” she explained.