Describe your business in 3 words
A Partnership of co-owners
About the business
The John Lewis Partnership is the UK’s largest employee owned business and parent company of our two cherished retail brands – John Lewis and Waitrose, which are owned in Trust by 80,000 Partners.. We started as an experiment in industrial democracy by our Founder, John Spedan Lewis, who believed there was a better way of doing business. Because of this we’re more than employees, we’re owners.
That’s why we’re called Partners. We have 34 John Lewis shops plus one outlet and 332 Waitrose shops across the UK, along with johnlewis.com and waitrose.com. We also have two international sourcing offices, a soft furnishings factory, various distribution centres, three Waitrose & Partners cookery schools, a content production hub, heritage centre and our own Waitrose & Partners farm.
Over 100 years ago our Founder began an experiment into a better way of doing business by including staff in decision making on how the business would be run. He set out the principles for how the Company should operate and produced a written Constitution to help Partners understand their rights and responsibilities as co-owners.
Spedan Lewis wanted to create a way of doing business that was both commercial, allowing it to move quickly and stay ahead in a highly-competitive industry, and democratic, giving every Partner a voice in the business they co-own. This combination, so ahead of its time, continues to make us what we are today.
Why is diversity and inclusion important to your company?
Being a co-owned business, diversity and inclusion is important to us because we recognise that whilst the Partnership unites both its customers and its Partners they are all beautifully different.
This difference must be celebrated and recognised so that all feel able to be themselves. This will enable the Partnership to be reflective of the communities it serves and supports.
Inclusion is an essential part of our business and as such all Partners from the executive team to Partners on the shop floor take responsibility for creating an inclusive environment.
What is the culture that you foster within your company?
Flexible working is offered in the Partnership and Partners are able to discuss this at interview stage or in role. We have seven partner engagement groups that support our Partner’s protected characteristics.
We also frequently conduct listening sessions, surveys and regular democratic sessions to ensure our diverse communities have protected spaces to converse.
How do you support personal development?
We have personal development plans in place for our employees and Partners have one to one conversations with their people managers to discuss progression and development opportunities and progress.
There are also various internal apprenticeships across the business for Partners to take part in to develop their career and accredited schemes to support learning, development and progression, from specialist courses to externally recognised awards.