The John Lewis Partnership has achieved the highest government accreditation for its initiative in recruiting and retaining people with disabilities.
The retailer, which employs 83,000 people, has been named a “Disability Confident Leader” by the Department for Work and Pensions’ scheme.
It had previously been a “Disability Confident Employer” since 2017.
The new status recognises the retailer’s initiative in recruiting applicants who may need support or adjustments via specialist job boards.
All staff are trained in disability awareness, and line managers are trained in bias and mental health training. The company is also trialling a working interview process to help candidates for whom traditional interviews might be difficult.
Its in-house ability awareness programme has nearly 600 members, who help to raise awareness of mental and physical challenges facing employees and the support available.
In January, chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield told Drapers how in a tough market the partnership was “competing through people”: “In a world where everything is within reach, there is a tendency to think about retail in a rather transactional way,” he said. “However, it’s not as if we’ve changed from being people and the difference you can make from having really well qualified good service in a relatable way is important.”