John Lewis Partnership
THE HAPPINESS OF OUR PARTNERS
The Partnership is the UK’s largest employee-owned business and home to our two cherished retail brands - John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners. Everything we do is powered by our unique purpose, which puts the happiness of Partners (employees) at our core through worthwhile and satisfying employment. And every one of us is obsessed with inspiring and delighting our customers through outstanding quality products and food and unrivalled service because for us, it's personal. There are five values we look for in a our Partners:
1. DO RIGHT - We act with integrity and use our judgement to do the right thing
2. WE NOT ME - When we work together, anything is possible
3. BE YOURSELF. ALWAYS - We’re quirky, proud and at our best when we’re free to be ourselves
4. ALL OR NOTHING - We put everything we have into everything we do
5. GIVE MORE THAN YOU TAKE - We all put more in so everyone gets more out
IT’S YOU WE’RE INTERESTED IN
We positively celebrate diversity & inclusion in the John Lewis Partnership. Truly embracing individuals contributions, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, social background, religion or belief. Having a diverse and inclusive business is vital for our future success and that’s why it is at the heart of our ultimate purpose; the happiness of all our Partners.
APPLYING TO JOIN US
As an employer committed to accessibility and disability inclusion, we are committed to treating all our job applicants fairly and without prejudice. We continuously ensure our recruitment process supports individuals with any disability, whether mental or physical, and actively encourage candidates to contact us before applying to discuss what reasonable adjustments can be made to support them.
We will do as much as we can to support you with completing your application. Depending on the position you are apply for, this could involve help with the following:
● Online tests
● 1-2-1 Interviews
● Group exercise / Individual exercise
● Reading and Writing
● Using a computer
● Interpreting information
For more information on the support available to you. Please visit our careers website: https://www.jlpjobs.com/accessibility/
Nichole is living proof of what happens when an employer provides a genuinely inclusive working environment, where individuals are truly supported.
As she says, “if you had told me that after being off work for three years with a car accident injury, being in a wheelchair, feeling like I’d lost my career, I’d lost everything, that 12 months on, I would not only be employed but I’d be in something I really enjoy, that gives me purpose every day…I’d have told you that you were completely crazy! But it happened!”
Hers is a story of gradually increasing hurdles, culminating in a major car accident that turned repeated redundancies into longer-term exclusion from the world of employment. Nichole has Addison’s Disease, an adrenal disease where steroids are key to her functioning. Sometimes Nichole needs an emergency steroid injection, a relatively complicated procedure, which needs training to administer. This can cause issues if an employer is unwilling to support an employee to this extent.
But Nichole is not someone to give up – through her advocacy work for Addison’s Disease, she became aware of Jane Hatton, Evenbreak, and its ethos of inclusive employment being the route to getting more people with disabilities reaching their full potential.
And after her car accident, and years of rehabilitation, she wanted her life back! But Nichole was aware she would need an employer who was prepared to help make this happen: as Nichole says, “I had several employer interviews where they just gave me this kind of look that said ‘who do you think you are? You don’t even have the job yet!”
So when she saw the job ad in Evenbreak, for a Head Office Case Manager at Waitrose, she was very hopeful. Not only was it for Waitrose, whose positive customer ethos she was familiar with, but the role was advertised in Evenbreak, in whom she had a lot of faith. “It’s advertised on Evenbreak, so that’s a good shout – let’s see if we can give them a try”.
It was reassuring to Nichole that Waitrose demonstrated how serious they were about ensuring people with disabilities are supported at work from the start. As soon as Nichole started work at Waitrose Head Office, everything was there for her to be able to work comfortably – several people are trained to administer her injection kit, as well as there being an electric desk, so she can stand or sit as she needs. Since lockdown, she has been provided with an electric desk and monitors so she can work from home: essential, given her compromised immune system.
“I just love it because they let me be myself, and I never feel like a person who’s got a light shining on them because they’re difficult… other employers have made me feel that way, and this one just doesn’t!”
Proof that when organisations truly live by inclusive values, as demonstrated by both Evenbreak and Waitrose, they achieve so much. As Nichole says, now she is “thriving!”
I started my Partnership career as a Stock Management Christmas Temporary Partner in John Lewis & Partners, Kingston. Since then, I’ve also enjoyed the role of Selling Assistant and now work as a Product Specialist in the windows and flooring department. I’m responsible for visiting suppliers, training new Partners and, of course, helping customers make the right decisions for their homes
I have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), anxiety, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and work 32 hours a week. With the support of my line manager and the Partnership, I have reduced my hours to help balance work and my own personal needs.
Before joining the Partnership, many of my partner’s family worked for the business. They strongly encouraged me to consider applying. Despite my own apprehension due to my ASD and anxiety, I was pleasantly surprised by the support I received, even before I was a Partner! The thought of going through the process was a lot worse than the reality. It was great to know I was being listened to and that my needs were important.
It was by chance that I had the opportunity to sit down at the curtain ordering desk in Kingston. It wasn’t a role I had considered before. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a talent I didn’t know I had. I quickly learned that the role was perfect for me and my particular disability. I love getting to grips with technical information required for the customer and working with complex information. All of which has led me to becoming a Product Specialist.
I have not needed much support in my role but I have no doubt that the Partnership is there for me if I need any. If I am having a particularly bad day, my line manager is very understanding and will always allow me to take some time out. The people around me are always here to listen to. I felt well looked after when my rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia impacted on the heavy lifting involved in my first role. I was referred to the Partnership’s very own Occupational Health team for advice and guidance to ensure I remained safe while at work.
Currently, I’m a Learning Support Coordinator on our Bracknell Head Office Campus and I’ve been in the Partnership for nearly 15 years. I also have profound congenital deafness.
It was my Dad, a Partner (now retired), who encouraged me to undertake work experience with Waitrose & Partners’ internal magazine while I was at university. At the time there were fewer Partners with disabilities, and he felt it would be a good learning experience for the business, as well as for me.
It was such a positive experience that I returned as a freelance journalist post-university, before being made a permanent member of the team. That was the beginning of my Partnership career.
Generally, I’ve always found that the understanding and awareness of diversity and inclusion is more widespread in the Partnership than other companies, so that was behind my decision to work here. Partners are at the heart of the business, so it’s always felt supportive. Certainly, this is reflected in my experience of recruitment. When applying for jobs, I’ve asked for as much notice as possible for any potential interviews so that I can arrange electronic notetakers (ENTs). For optimum lipreading conditions, I’ve requested a well-lit room, with the interviewers ideally seated opposite a source of light. My requests have always been met. Once, when an interviewer realised that a room (which she hadn’t used before) didn’t have a window, she went to great lengths to find another.
I also use ENTs for interviews, conferences, team days and training courses, which helps me to follow to the best of my ability. For team huddles and smaller meetings, I use a basic transcription app. It’s not perfect – it will only pick up on people speaking clearly (‘desk’ can sometimes read as ‘death’!) and relies on no-one speaking over each other. But it helps reduce the pressure. And I have always had a desk by the window for lipreading purposes. All of this is supported by the Partnership.
I’m passionate about increasing awareness of challenges such as mine. I’ve written about my experiences, as well as diversity and inclusion for Partnership publications. I’m also on the steering group committee for Ability, the disability network. It supports Partners with mental, physical or neurodiverse differences, and enables them to celebrate being themselves.
‘Be Yourself, Always’, one of the Partnership’s five values, truly exists every day at work. There are teams to support you and your manager in implementing reasonable adjustments, and we have a fantastic culture. When meeting my team, Chairman Sharon White spoke directly to me so that my app picked up her voice, and she urged Partners to come to the front during the Q&A. So this culture trickles down from the very top.
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