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John Lewis – doing something right

I was intrigued today by a headline on one of the English news sites on John Lewis, which had such a good year in 2009 that all employees will be receiving a bonus of eight weeks pay.

Now, this is not a common news story these days so, looking a little further, I started to understand the John Lewis ‘partnership model’. Admittedly on their own web site, they stated just last month findings from a report (ok again, admittedly one they commissioned themselves) on the benefits of this model.

Resilience – the ability of firms to sustain employment and growth during difficult economic conditions – has been neglected as a crucial aspect of company performance over the past two decades. Instead, business strategy and public policy have been dominated by an unremitting focus on maximising share value. In the current economic conditions, business leaders and policy makers should be looking again at the resilience associated with the employee ownership model – and how it could benefit the economy as a whole.

Now, if I’d seen this piece in isolation, I’d have possibly agreed, but laughed it off as another corporate gimmick – well, they would say that, wouldn’t they.

However, when a month later the company’s results are published, and the headline focuses on how the company’s staff will be benefiting massively from the improved performance, I must admit that I sit up and take notice.

Proof that the road to success is not easy, but trying to take it without ensuring that the personnel – all of them – are on board is sheer lunacy.

Don’t I just love success stories!

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