John Lewis’ innovative Better Jobs programme aims to improve worker conditions and job satisfaction for the people who make our products and provide our services. As a co-owned business we are driven by our values and belief in doing the right thing; the objective of Better Jobs is to encourage and support our suppliers to do the same within their own organisations.
Standard factory auditing processes only give a snapshot of working conditions at a particular moment in time but doesn't necessarily lead to long term improvements and behaviour change. We want to encourage meaningful and sustainable positive behaviour change within our supply base, and so, in 2019, we launched the Better Jobs programme with suppliers in the UK who produce John Lewis own-brand products.
The programme focuses on seven key areas which were identified as being critical for improving experience at work.
- Voice - We want the people who make our products and provide our services to be empowered to voice their opinions, ideas and concerns.
- Growth - We want the people who make our products and provide our services to have the opportunity to progress.
- Reward - We want people who make our products and provide our services to be appropriately rewarded through pay, benefits and recognition.
- Security - We want the people who make our products and provide our services to have security within their role.
- Job design - We want the people who make our products and provide our services to feel a sense of autonomy within their role.
- Respect - We want the people who make our products and provide our services to feel respected by others.
- Health and wellbeing - We want the people who make our products and provide our services to feel well and safe.
The framework was developed in collaboration with experts from the John Lewis Partnership and an advisory group consisting of representatives from The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Institute of Employment Studies, and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Through an online portal, our suppliers can access guidance and dedicated resources on the framework and employees can complete a survey on their day-to-day experience of the workplace, including their opinion of what makes a good job. Using the responses, our suppliers determine which improvements they should prioritise and we help them to track their improvement progress year-on-year.
Ethical audit derogation is in place for suppliers joining the Better Jobs programme who continuously demonstrate their commitment to improving labour standards. By supporting management teams to ask for and receive direct feedback from their staff (both permanent and temporary), they are able to understand what works well and where improvements to working conditions can be made. We work closely with each participating supplier on a bespoke programme to help them close any gaps identified in the survey and to develop resources and interventions that will help them improve in the areas that matter most to their workforce.
45 suppliers in the UK completed the Better Jobs survey in 2020, and over 1,870 employee responses were collected and we piloted the programme with 15 suppliers in our Chinese supply base, representing over 2,900 workers.
In 2021, the third edition of the Better Jobs Programme continued to engage John Lewis and Waitrose suppliers based in the UK, as well as one of our largest logistics providers. In China, 7 more suppliers (accounting for 10 sites) also joined the programme.
You can find out more about the next steps in our 2020 Better Jobs Report.