The client

John Lewis and Partners is the UK’s largest employee owned business. It was launched as an experiment in industrial democracy by founder, John Spedan Lewis, who believed there was a better way of doing business.

Because of this staff are considered more than employees, they’re owners. Which is why they are called Partners.

The challenge

Like all multichannel retailers, John Lewis & Partners (JLP) has been facing difficult market conditions and increasingly intense competition from its rivals.

The JLP leadership always recognised its Partnership model was a source of competitive advantage. They well understood the Sears Employee-Customer-Profit Chain, which demonstrates a clear cause and effect between employee behaviour, customer experience and business growth.

They knew that with an increasingly diverse workforce what worked in the past might not work for the future.

A great deal of work had been done to analyse the end-to-end experience for customers. JLP wanted to explore how this learning applied to the Partner experience, and to understand how one could support and enable the other.

They asked Change Associates to help.

What we did

Using our existing relationships and previous experience of working with JLP we brought together Partner insights from core internal functions. We facilitated sessions to reveal the critical touchpoints of the Partner experience and explored how they link with those of customers.

We identified that the two were inseparable and mapped the Partner experience against John Lewis’ well-established customer journey.

We showed that to ‘deliver the magic’ for customers JLP needed to do the same for Partners, but internal relationships had been weakened.

Johl Lewis Partner Customer Experience

Many initiatives had been started but few were connected. As a consequence, benefits were not always being realised across the Partnership.

Partners, like customers, still loved the brand and were proud to work for JLP. But they were being asked to do more while their annual bonus was getting less.

Our consultants created an end-to-end Partner journey from attraction and onboarding through training, performance management, engagement and motivation, to retirement or exit.

We analysed the critical touchpoints to understand how each could be made more positive and engaging.

This included:

  • Setting realistic expectations at the points of attraction and onboarding
  • Establishing and maintaining consistent performance standards
  • Clarifying the behaviours expected by customers
  • Equipping Partners with the know-how, systems and processes they needed to do their jobs well.

This was represented as The John Lewis Way. It showed Partners where change would bring most customer and Partner benefits and clarified the Partners’ role in ensuring customers enjoyed a positive experience of John Lewis.

The result

  • We were able to bring the relevant departments together to create a vision for the Partner experience, which incorporated in one place many individual initiatives that were already underway.
  • We made recommendations to the Board about the elements of the Partner experience that would have the greatest impact on customers.
  • This gave the Board a clear understanding of priority areas for the next financial year.

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