John Lewis Partnership: How to Enable Digital Disruption During Crisis

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, the retail industry was already facing its own set of unique challenges. At the Workday Elevate Digital Experience, Lesley Ballantyne, director of people operations for the John Lewis Partnership, spoke to Peter Gamble, Workday regional vice president and country leader for the UK and Ireland, to discuss how one of the UK’s best-loved retail groups has been facing digital disruption head on.

For readers not familiar with the John Lewis Partnership, can you tell us about the organisation?

John Lewis Partnership is an employee-owned business. It’s also a retailer, with two main sources of business—the John Lewis & Partners department stores and online retail, and Waitrose & Partners supermarkets and its online arm. The business has revenues of around £10 billion per annum. We employ about 84,000 partners, as we call our employees, and it’s mostly a UK-based business.

The John Lewis Partnership is a very progressive organisation. Even before the pandemic, you were driving transformation. Can you talk us through that and the challenges you were facing?

The shifts within retail have been really well-documented, but to step back, our business reacted quite early and got into non-food online shopping before most. We

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