The John Lewis Partnership is considered to be one of the leading businesses throughout the UK (2). Some suggest that other businesses should adopt the John Lewis structure of having a Co-Owned business with its employees, as some would argue that this has greatly improved the motivation of the employees and consequently the profit(2). This raises the question of what motivates employees, money or other factors.
Many people believe that the key factor for motivating the John Lewis Partners’ is money. This is not always true, as there are many other factors that have a role in motivating the Partners’, such as, the non-financial methods which consist of the need to be appreciate, having responsibility and a workers council. The fact that the employees are known as Partners, allows a sense of empowerment which helps motivate throughout the workforce displaying that Taylor’s motivational theory is partly true as he explains that each individual is motivated by money only, however, this approach meets lower needs whereas Maslow’s and Herzberg Theory (4) justifies worth, value, personal development, recognition and the job environment that they work in. This is then intertwined in helping the Partners’ work to their full potential.
John Lewis is an Employee Owned Company (E.O.C) which allows the employees of the company to be partners; this gives the partners responsibility as the companies trust has been handed over to them(1). John Lewis partners stays with the company twice as long as the industries average, showing us that the Partners at John Lewis are highly motivated (1). This shows that there is high motivation and low staff turnover (5). At John Lewis, they have a Partnership Council which is formed. They then form local branch meetings throughout the different stores, which helps motivate the partners as they are able to voice their opinions in the meeting and in the Gazette. Although they have an active role as owner, this allows them to have a sense of equality even if you’re a new employee, allowing partners to be engaged in the business, and worker participation to be constant to help keep the partners thinking in an innovative style. This is done by hosting meetings (3) at the different branches owned by John Lewis.
This would be an important motivational help as the partners are not only being motivated by money, but by the trust, responsibility and recognition given by the company. The Partners had a vote to decide to work on Boxing Day, as the decision is made at the local branches allowing and getting the Partners to participate and get involved in the decision(1). The benefits of having local meetings are that it keeps the motivation up as worker participation is constant throughout the company showing that communication flows smoothly and that workers do have responsibility. What keep the John Lewis Partners more motivated from its rivals are not only the perks but the fact that its staff – shop assistants, warehouse workers, delivery drivers – all have a share and voice in running the business. All Partners are involved in the workers’ councils from top to bottom of the company. They have the choice to get rid of their chairmen (though no chairman has been unseated). They have the choice and freedom to vote and change company policies. They can – and do – write letters of complaint about the business to the gazette anonymously.
There is much evidence shown to suggest that other methods besides non-financial have an important role in the motivation of the Partners at John Lewis, however, there is also evidence to suggest that money is important in the motivation of the employees. At John Lewis, the Partners have full access to benefits provided by the company, such as; partners are invited to give family and friends discounts to all the John Lewis Partnerships. These benefits are 25% off at John Lewis and 15% off at Waitrose. At John Lewis they want you to be happy, as the Partners are always eager to help out(1). Providing full access to 5 holiday Centre’s, including a waterspouts club, and twelve wooden lodges filled with John Lewis stock (1). As shown, this would instantly motivate the partners, as the companies they Co-own treat the Partners with the respect and praise. There are other perks, too. They are able to rent out rooms in two large country estates, or lounge around at the Lake District, or in a 16th-century castle in Dorset. A variety of cruising yachts can be dispatched cheaply for the Partner’s needs. And then there is access to exhibitions, theatres, visitor attractions and comedy shows (3).
The John Lewis Company offers their retired partners the same benefits as the working ones, however, they only offer these benefits if you have completed 10 years of service allowing a sense of belonging towards the company as they still treat you like partners even if you have retired. They also offer a near-priceless pension scheme (1) to look after the employees as they still want you to have the benefits you’ve earned at John Lewis. This helps keep the Partners motivated at the John Lewis as the long term goal to help suit their needs is set out in front of them the day they start work furthermore money plays a big role in motivation and every year they are given a bonus between 9-22% from their salary. A bonus is handed out to give recognition to the Partners that have contributed in helping John Lewis stay successful. If the number is 8%, they’re looking at an extra month’s pay; 16% is two months (1). Getting to know the Partners at the Partnership Council they have the recognition to meet their social needs, helping them to work to their full potential.
Employees (Partners) at John Lewis have been reported that they are always eager to help out, why? Partners at John Lewis get motivation from the customers as the training to help them approach John Lewis customers is derived from a quote ‘…must not argue with them, you must conform to the feelings of the fish.’ said by John Speedan Lewis (1946) (5). He carries on explaining that the customers are like intelligent fish, meaning that you can’t force someone to buy something but place them in the right environment to guide them to their decision. This then enforces mutual respect between the customer and employee allowing a sense of empowerment and recognition to keep the employees at John Lewis motivated. Also knowingly that products at John Lewis are never knowingly undersold, meaning that if the customers find a product that’s cheaper at another company, John Lewis is guarantee to match the price. (5)
From the evidence discussed, it can be seen that this is a very complex subject. There is no doubt that money plays a very important part at John Lewis. Money is essential for our survival and happiness, however, the evidence above suggest that there are many motivating factors other than money, such as, recognition, responsibility, being known as Partners not employees, and branch meetings to voice your opinions. All that I have listed suggest that all these factors interconnect to one another as they suit all the needs that employees look for.