The biggest challenge facing LOfavør right now is informing members about its benefits.
“A survey in 2008 showed that only one in three members know about the benefits on offer,” explains Heidi Myhr, manager at SpareBank 1, which administers LOfavør on behalf of the LO confederation.
The survey also showed that members were somewhat unclear about what LOfavør offered them.
“We need to improve our appeal by offering more products on a regular basis. The benefits programme has been built up gradually as LOfavør has grown. It is only now that we are taking a combined approach and finding out what we should offer our members.”
All the products offered by LOfavør must comply with LO’s ethical guidelines.
“We’re also planning how we intend to grow. Our analysis of the competition shows that our programme has the broadest content, but also that we have stiff competition for many products. Our ambition is that we should be the best known benefits club in Norway by 2013.”
New LO members will receive information about LOfavør benefits with their first membership pack. The same information will be enclosed when new membership cards are sent out. Members receive these every three years.
“But we won’t reach all members often enough through routine letters.”
An action plan has therefore been drawn up to inform members of the benefits of LOfavør.
It has three distinct stages:
1) developing the benefits programme and drawing up a strategic plan
2) informing all members
3) mass communication
“We’re starting from the ground up. To spread the message about the benefits concept to as many people as possible we also need to reach right out to every branch of the organisation. It will be our task to support the local trade union representatives around the country. They will simply talk to their colleagues about the benefits and will be supplied with their own leaflets that that they can give out to everyone who is interested. The unions also have membership magazines that can pass on our message about LOfavør.”
Once the background information has been distributed it will be time for a more public launch.
“It is only when we have created an awareness of what we offer that mass communication will deliver results. We then intend to take a more public approach in the daily press or on radio, for example. By doing this we hope to reach many members who aren’t currently aware of us,” says Heidi Myhr.
"We have only just begun this large project and have not yet seen any significant changes, but the foundation has been laid and we intend to keep on working."
SpareBank 1 has the membership database for LOfavør and Strålfors is responsible for producing and sending out membership cards and information about LOfavør to members. Strålfors will also administer the invoice hotel and an electronic archive. The membership records are not public information, so there are strict confidentiality requirements. SpareBank 1 has therefore carried out a risk analysis together with Strålfors, and production has been configured so that it meets all requirements.
The flow of information between the LO unions, SpareBank 1 and Strålfors is complex, and Heidi Myhr has identified a couple of shortcomings that she hopes will be resolved in the future.
“For example, the unions are not too good at updating their databases. They also often forget to send information to each other when a member changes job – and hence union.”
In the future she would like to see the unions use an online system that updates everyone involved daily.
“Such a system would allow new members to register immediately on the web so that the new information is sent immediately to us and then passed on to Strålfors who print out and issue a membership card letter. Another benefit is that changes to postal addresses, email addresses and mobile numbers could be processed automatically.