People and Partners

What Partners say about Power


“As co-owners, all Partners have a say in how the company is run through various elected forums and committees.”

“All major decisions go through Branch Forums (each store, office or distribution centre is a branch). The forums are open to any Partner who wants to put themselves forward for election, and they’ve really shaped the John Lewis business over the years.”

“The Committees for Communication were the first meetings organised by Spedan Lewis in 1915 to give non-management Partners a direct line to the Chairman. Although these committees now form part of the Branch Forums in department stores and Partner Voice forums in Waitrose, they still reflect the views of Partners. We can make suggestions, ask questions, and take up any issue which is important to us. And it’s a two-way thing – the forums give management the chance to explain their policies and thinking.”

Photograph of John Lewis branch forum
John Lewis branch forum
click to enlarge

“The Partnership is a democratic system, which means I really have a voice, both at my level, and at a wider level. Forums and committees mean you really can be heard.”

“As a managing director, I have to be accountable to my fellow Partners. No Partner should ever be embarrassed to ask me any question. I’m obliged to answer any questions properly and fully, and to explain the decision making process clearly.”

“Every branch has a Registrar - a person who acts as an independent adviser or counsellor, giving people advice about personal issues or worries. The Registrar also helps Partners to understand what being part of a co-owned business means, and encourages them to take part.”

All Partners are encouraged to take responsibility for the success of their business by suggesting ways we could improve what we do, developing the business and going the extra mile for customers and other Partners. In return the business is committed to providing all Partners with information about the business, responding to their ideas, setting goals and giving them the opportunity to achieve greater success in their roles.