From counter-workouts to pension ladders � how one John Lewis by 2b3z3u0D

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									From counter-workouts to pension ladders – how one John Lewis Store is getting staff
fit for work and fit for the future.

Healthy eating, budgeting, pensions and re-energising workouts don’t immediately spring to
mind when you think about retail training. But for one group of John Lewis employees in
Newcastle this is exactly what they were treated to when Sophie Milliken, Learning and
Development Coach, invited lifelong learning charity, the Campaign for Learning, to run an
interactive ‘Live Long and Prosper’ workshop. The Campaign, experts in workplace learning,
are running these events as part of a project which aims to help organisations develop a
workforce that is mentally, physically and financially ready to take on the challenges of working
in and retiring from the retail sector. Sophie believes the Campaign’s ‘Live Long and Prosper’
project ties in perfectly with John Lewis’s lifelong learning ethos.

Sophie first came across the Campaign for Learning when the store hosted a planning seminar
for Learning at Work Day, one of the charity’s national awareness campaigns. “Our store, and
the group as a whole, have a strong commitment to lifelong learning,” explains Sophie. “When I
heard about the project work we saw the benefits to the business and the employees straight
away. We are now looking to develop our partnership with the Campaign to cascade the
messages and knowledge learnt to even more staff.”

The Live Long and Prosper workshop, lead by the Campaign for Learning for John Lewis,
Newcastle was aimed at developing employees’ financial skills - by looking into budgeting,
saving and planning for the future - as well as encouraging physical, mental and financial
wellbeing. Sessions incorporate counter work-outs for a daily fitness boost, tips on diet and
nutrition, taking a look at post-working life, living on a state pension, more general retirement
planning and signposts to further information. Rachel Johnstone, who manages the Live Long
and Prosper project, says. “We try and encourage organisations and individuals to take a
holistic approach to workplace development and retirement planning. The interactive sessions
help participants develop their mental ability, financial knowledge and physical fitness to make
both home and working lives easier, more enjoyable and less stressful. This can only benefit
the organisation as well. John Lewis has recognised the importance of integrating retirement
planning into staff development and we hope other stores and organisations follow.”

The sessions enjoyed by John Lewis, Newcastle covered the key elements of the Live Long
and Prosper programme of activities. The “Easy Money” session looked at ways of saving
money now with a view to investingfor the future. The “Counter Workouts” offered quick and
simple exercises that can be done at work to relieve strain and strengthen muscles, while the
“Five-a-Day” session helped employees see the benefits of ensuring their intake of fruit and
vegetables is sufficient and varied and why this is important for energy levels and general
health to benefit both home and working life. The session on boosting the immune system gave
practical advice to staff on how they can avoid sickness that could keep them off work. Finally
the “Pension Ladder” activity gave individuals relevant and up-to-date information on how to
start and maintain their pension planning and where to find the right advice.

Rachel believes the ‘Live Long and Prosper’ project provides business as well as individual
benefits. “The project takes workplace learning a step further by considering t employees’
learning needs for retirement - as well as work - and the positive impact this can have on
workplace performance. We know from our own and others’ research that financial worries and
the stress caused by inadequate planning for the future can have a direct influence on people’s
abilities to work effectively now. Financial planning can help improve financial literacy and
general numeracy skills as well as helping to address financial problems to make employees
more focused and productive. Physical exercise and healthy eating can help to give employees
more energy at work and reduce sickness-related absenteeism. The Campaign hopes that
through the ‘Live Long and Prosper’ project and our free workshops, managers will be able to
develop these keys skills in their own employees themselves to create a skilled, highly
motivated, energised and contented workforce.”

Sophie agrees that the Live Long and Prosper project can greatly benefit John Lewis as a
whole organisation, as well as helping individual staff members. “The sessions will help refresh
numeracy skills, and offer health and fitness advice that is easy to introduce into the busy
working and home lives of our staff. At John Lewis, employees benefit from a company
pension scheme but it is important to be reminded of preparing both physically and financially
for the future.”

Individual employees attending the session also praised the workshops and the messages
behind the project. Positive feedback received from John Lewis staff members included, “the
sessions made me think about financial adjustments that I need to make”, and “made me think
about improving diet and looking at supplements.” It was not just a nice couple of hours away
from the shop floor either as participants felt they learnt skills that would help both at home and
at work. “I learnt about the immune system and how to build it up” was one response. Relating
to pension planning, one individual said they would “review current position and decide how
much more I need to contribute.” Another employee said they would “start adding some
supplements into my diet” while another, who found the whole day beneficial added that they
would “look at some of the things I can change starting from today.”

Sophie is planning to get even more staff members involved as she develops the partnership
with the Campaign for Learning. She explains, “John Lewis already helps employees plan for
retirement but with the activities we explored as part of the Campaign’s first session we can
offer them even more”

Rachel mirrored the hopes of Sophie and John Lewis, concluding, “By cascading the sessions
throughout the teams that operate within the store, this will really help to develop a ‘Live Long
and Prosper’ ethos . We will be producing a toolkit of all sessions for the project and we hope
our ideas can be then used again and again for generations of employees.”

Over the next few months of the project, due to end next June, the Campaign for Learning will
be producing more resources to help retail organisations like John Lewis, Newcastle, develop
employees for a happy, healthy and prosperous future. Other John Lewis stores and
departments wishing to follow in Sophie’s successes can visit
www.retail.learningatworkday.com for more information or contact one of the Live Long and
Prosper team on 01823 660 040.

								
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