John Lewis Partnership’s voluntary benefit offering

Case study: John Lewis Partnership

When the John Lewis Partnership redesigned and relaunched its voluntary benefits package, Partner Choice, a year ago, it took the unusual step of including speed dating in the scheme. Far from being offered as a gimmick to grab people’s interest, it was what a large proportion of its staff, or partners as they are known, actually wanted.

Adam Brooke, manager of Partner Choice, says: "When we really started to look at the demographic of our partners we were quite surprised to find a mismatch." Of the organisation’s 64,000 partners, 27,000 are under 30 years of age. "The type of voluntary benefits that had been offered, including discounted healthcare and private medical insurance products, reflected a slightly older workforce.

And while we offered a car purchase scheme, there was nothing around driving lessons, so we sourced a provider, the AA, and included them in the new package," explains Brooke.

But this relatively young workforce had ideas of its own and, when prompted for suggestions, requested discounts on a speed-dating service. "It makes perfect sense. We work in a shift-based, flexi-time environment, which can make it difficult for young, single people to meet new people. It is an unusual benefit, but one that suits our culture perfectly," adds Brooke.