John Lewis Partnership, the third largest private company in the UK according to the Times in 2008, specializes in distributing high quality products with 27 non-food John Lewis department stores and 170 Waitrose supermarkets for food, and the group also includes the direct services company, Greenbee. Founded in 1864, the company became an employee-owned company in 1950, when the founder's son sold the title to a fund held by employees at a price well below market value. The participatory system allows for sharing between the partners not only of responsibilities but also other advantages such as profit, knowledge and power.
JOHN LEWIS PARTNERSHIP, a pioneer company in the sharing of power and profits.
1. Organizational Governance
- Involve employees in the success of the company;
- To promote the partnership, democracy and the exchange at all levels of the group;
- Share results.
The company’s organization is primarily based on partnership and shared responsibility with employees: each employee has the opportunity to influence the company through industry forums, and in the stores, each major operational unit of the group has its own body of participatory decision making. All partners are represented by the Partnership Council of the group (82 people, 80% elected by employees) who appoint five members to the Board and who has the power to dismiss the President.
In the cooperative company model that John Lewis has developed, there are no outside shareholders and all shares are held in a specially created fund for employees.
Concerning the sharing of profits, employees receive an annual bonus, calculated according to the profitability of the company and by the same percentage, regardless of hierarchical level.
CONTRIBUTION TO COMPANY PERFORMANCE
- The ownership and participation of employees increase productivity and business performance
- Image of the company and employee motivation
- Democracy and dialogue in the business
- Benefits and financial services for 67,000 employees
- Bonus from 13 to 20% of gross salary (20% in 2007/2008, 13% in 2008/2009 )