John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has achieved Disability Confident Leader status – the highest accreditation in the Department for Work and Pensions’ scheme which recognises and supports employers who recruit and retain people with disabilities.
JLP owns and operates retail brands John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners. It is the largest employee-owned business in the UK, with 83,000 staff who are all ‘Partners’ in the business and share in its profits.
The Partnership has been a Disability Confident Employer since 2017. The ‘Leader’ accreditation recognises the company’s commitment to lead the way on employing people with disabilities, as well as helping other businesses become disability-confident.
To support people with disabilities into employment, JLP has developed several initiatives, from actively looking to attract and recruit candidates through inclusive job boards like Evenbreak (a not-for-profit social enterprise that matches disabled job seekers with employers looking to build a diverse workforce), to training its entire recruitment team on how to support job applicants who may need support or adjustments. A working interview process is currently being trialled to help candidates for whom traditional interviews or tests may be a barrier.
JLP encourages a positive approach to disability internally through disability awareness training for all Partners, bias and mental health training for line managers, as well as an Ability Network which has nearly 600 members who help raise awareness about the mental or physical challenges that Partners face and the support available.
Jonathan Fleet, skills compliance partner at John Lewis & Partners’ Trumpington customer delivery hub, said: “Being visually impaired means I might work in a slightly different way, such as needing a larger screen or more time to digest a briefing document – but I’m just as capable of doing the work as anyone else. Getting the necessary adjustments sorted is essential but what has been most important is being recognised and seen as a valued Partner. I think it’s crucial for people of all abilities to be able to find work that suits them and to feel supported and appreciated in their roles.”
JLP head of D&I and wellbeing Yulia O’Mahony said: “We are very proud to have achieved the status of Disability Confident Leader, in recognition for our work in ensuring that JLP is an accessible and inclusive place of work and all Partners can fulfill their potential.
“Providing employment opportunities for people of all abilities is not only the right thing to do, but benefits us a business, through accessing and unleashing diverse talent and expertise – and we will continue to strive to push the boundaries of being a disability confident employer.”
JLP also works with the Business Disability Forum and is part of the Disability Confident Leaders Group, which aims to engage the business community on disability employment.