John Lewis aligns occupational health support to employees’ needs

John Lewis

To ensure that its employees are healthy for work, retailer John Lewis Partnership has continually aligned its in-house occupational health strategy to match the changing needs of its workforce, and has done so since 1929, 19 years before the creation of the NHS.

This is currently achieved through regular communications between employees and the organisation’s wellbeing champions, of which there are now 713 across 213 locations, as well as the use of annual staff surveys.

John Lewis Partnership has continued to offer and improve health and wellbeing services for its now 81,000-strong employee base for nearly 100 years. For the future, it is planning to invest a further £20 million a year to enable its employees to stay safe and healthy in the workplace. 

In 2019, John Lewis recorded 14,179 occupational health cases across the organisation, and 23,783 calls to its in-house emotional support line. The financial year 2018/2019 also saw the occupational health team provide 7,656 physiotherapy sessions to 3,488 employees, and 6,007 psychological therapy sessions to 1,215 members of staff.

The employee survey for that year found that 10% of employees had suffered severe musculoskeletal problems, so this has become a key area of focus for the organisation in the future.

To ensure a preventative, as well as reactive, approach to employee health, John Lewis encourages staff to look after themselves, offering access to clubs and societies ranging from sailing to cycling. To date, 11,000 employees have taken part in these activities. 

John Lewis is continuing to offer health and wellbeing support for its employees during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has recruited extra staff to work in its partnership health services and support teams so the business can provide as much guidance and support during the outbreak.

Nick Davison, head of health and leisure services at John Lewis Partnership, says: “As an employee-owned business, we have a responsibility to look after our [employees]. We’re committed to driving a commercially successful business which offers satisfying and meaningful jobs and supports our people to lead healthy, fulfilled lives. In fact, it’s one of the key performance objectives for our leaders, alongside our financial objectives.”

“Having a supportive employer which promotes occupational health can make a significant difference in boosting performance and productivity for employees.”