The Co-operative Financial Services : Doing jobseekers no good

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A major visitor group is isolated from core responsibility messages.

The Site

Co-operative Financial Services, a UK banking and insurance group, excludes prospective employees from online promotion of ethical and responsible practices.

The Co-operative Financial Services has a discrete About CFS website. One of its more striking features is the widespread seeding of corporate responsibility facts. One from a bank of seven ethical and green statements is set in a panel in the right-hand column of most pages in four of the six main sections. Each statement has a simple illustration (for example, a light bulb with ‘The power of good 96% of electricity used by us comes from renewable sources’). A separate section-specific fact is used in Sponsorship.

The only section not to use the feature is Careers. Although included in the primary navigation options it is in fact a standalone site and the single forwarding page has two careers information panels in place of the standard fact. The careers site itself makes no use of the feature and has only a thin two-page ‘social responsibility’ section.

The Takeaway

Co-operative Financial Services’ fact panels are an attractive and engaging way of reinforcing its positioning as the “good with money” choice for individuals and investors with a social conscience about how their money is used and benefits generated. Even the investor and media communities get the messages in their respective sections. Not, though, the likely largest single group of site visitors, potential job candidates, who are also likely demographically to be receptive to the ‘do good’ company message.

The root cause of their exclusion is the non-integration of the careers site. It has its own look and navigation, which used to be the norm when the general standard of corporate sites was more likely to be a turn-off than a turn-on for, especially young, job seekers. As here, though, isolation can now do a disservice to visitors, distancing them from information about the organisation, and the company itself through inconsistencies in core messages. In the final analysis, though, that is less the fault of the structure of the web presence than of its management.

First published on 24 April, 2008