The John Lewis Partnership 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.
The Partnership, which employs 83,000 people who are all Partners in the business and own John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners, 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, the Partnership has developed a number of initiatives, from actively looking to attract and recruit candidates through inclusive job boards like Evenbreak, 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 might be a barrier.
The Partnership 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 mental or physical challenges Partners face and support available.
Jonathan Fleet, Skills Compliance Partner, 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 feel supported and appreciated in their roles.”
Yulia O’Mahony, head of D&I and wellbeing, John Lewis Partnership, said: “We are very proud to have achieved the status of Disability Confident Leader, in recognition for our work in ensuring the Partnership 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.”
The Partnership 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.