The John Lewis Partnership bonus announcement is an event which highlights just what’s different about the business

I’d not been to the John Lewis Partnership’s bonus announcement before, but went down today and was glad I did, as it’s quite a special occasion. I was at Oxford Street, along with numerous television crews, as Mick Murphy, a driver with 25 years experience with the John Lewis, opened the envelope announcing the bonus was going to be 18%.

That figure was a bit higher than the 16-odd% talked about in the weekend press, no doubt placed in the papers to make sure that the Partnership surprised on the upside when the actual number came out. That led to lots of whooping and hollering from all the assembled partners who’d gathered around the escalator atrium, and even a tear in the eye of Kamille, the lovely section manager from the beauty floor who was helping out our web editor Victoria with her camera equipment.

It was a great occasion and you could sense the pride of Partnership chairman Charlie Mayfield and the two managing directors Andy Street and Mark Price, because it’s an occasion which sums up what the Partnership is all about. My video interview with Andy will be on the site soon.

It was a scene repeated in John Lewis and Waitrose stores and warehouses up and down the country, and while the way trading is going next year’s bonus won’t be so high, what better incentive is there than an extra nine weeks wages as a bonus to provide the best possible service and go that extra mile to make a sale?

None of it is rocket science, but the Partnership will get good headlines tomorrow and rightly so. It is a really innovative business, among the pace setters online, but also a business with the customer at its heart. It knows that if you treat staff right and really make them feel incentivised, they’ll treat customers right too.