17 Company Performance

17 Company Performance


The John Lewis partnership is one of
the UK’s leading retail businesses. Colin Goepfert is the Learning
and Development Coach at John Lewis. The… the John Lewis Partnership
came into being in 1950. We’ve now got
in the region of 78,000 people who work in the
John Lewis partnership. It includes about 32 department
stores up and down the country, over 250 Waitrose supermarkets
plus our Internet business. We have a production unit up
in Lancashire, near Blackburn, and also we have a farm of about
4,000 acres in Hampshire where we grow and produce a lot
of the milk and apples and mushrooms that we sell in our
Waitrose supermarkets. We have partners, essentially
most other businesses would refer to them
as employees or staff, we call them
partners because they are all partners
in the true sense of the word. They all have responsibilities and
share in the benefits of our business. That doesn’t mean
when they join us on day one they get one share
of John Lewis, it means
at the end of the year, when we’ve worked out
our profit for that year, every partner would receive a proportion
of their annual pay as a percentage. So whether you’re a Saturday-only
partner or the Chairman you would all receive the same
per cent of your pay as your bonus, so that’s almost like the dividend
that you would get if you were a shareholder
in other business. We call them partners because
they all have a part to play in our success
and sharing that. Like any business,
we have to be successful and therefore
we have to make a profit. Because we don’t have
any external shareholders we don’t have to produce a dividend
to keep other people happy. We have to make the profit and
we want the profit to be sufficient to enable us to continue
doing what we do. And what we do is
to look after our partners in the terms of the employment
and the benefits we offer, because we believe that
if you look after the partners, they will therefore
look after the customers, look after the customers,
they will look after your profit, and we have what we call
the Partner-Customer-Profit Cycle and that’s what
we live and work to. Other ways that we kind
of measure our success, obviously,
is turnover, because the turnover feeds
directly into… into the bonus, but we also look at the feedback
we receive from outside bodies – Which reports,
Verdict reports, the customer service groups
that are available and we regularly, between John Lewis
and Waitrose, feature in the top two
or three companies for those, again for us
really important. We like to always pay the best rate
for the right level of performance. We’re constantly looking at the,
at what we call the market rate, which is what the going rate
for a particular job is, but within
our pay structure every partner has the opportunity
to work their way up. We have a very comprehensive
training package called Horizons, which has a huge amount
of resources, courses, books, videos, DVDs, coaching sessions
that partners can sign up for to help them achieve
the best in their performance. We have the bonus that
we’ve mentioned earlier which was last year
about 18%. We also have in all of our
workplaces subsidized dining, a minimum of four weeks paid holiday
rising to six weeks after ten years, we have a final salary
non-contributory pension scheme. We offer something called long leave
after 25 years of continual service a partner can actually
take 6 months off, fully paid, to just go and get away
from their normal work regime and just experience
something different. So we’re constantly
trying to find new ways of making the life of
our partners fuller and enable them to do more
than they perhaps would do. Pay’s important,
but to us, pay is just one part of partner
development and partner growth, and we hopefully have
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