Creating a people movement

Our Ingka Group people strategy puts the focus on our co-workers, and provides a framework and guidance for our priorities. It’s there to ensure we stay close to our vision and culture and get even closer to our customers. Attracting and retaining the right competence and talent is essential for us to reach our growth ambitions and new digital competence is in focus for the coming years.

We want to be an IKEA where customers meet passionate, knowledgeable and service-minded co-workers, who understand life at home and help make dreams a reality. As customers’ demands are changing, we are changing too. As we create a new and better IKEA – one that’s more equipped for the future – we find ourselves in an interesting phase. We’re creating innovative solutions, focusing on competence and new capabilities and investing in digitalisation. We’re letting go of old ways of doing things, replacing them with improved ones.

Within the People strategy are three central pillars that are key to meeting our ambitious goals within the 30 markets in which we operate:

  • People choose IKEA for what we stand for
  • Engaged IKEA people with customers at heart
  • Creating a modern, lean and agile IKEA fit for growth
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"We know that our co-workers are energised by our vision, by our belief in people and by the way we behave towards each other. Other sources of inspiration include our culture, the possibilities to grow and the opportunities to learn."

Ulrika Biesèrt, People & Culture Manager, Ingka Group

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"We know that our co-workers are energised by our vision, by our belief in people and by the way we behave towards each other. Other sources of inspiration include our culture, the possibilities to grow and the opportunities to learn."

Ulrika Biesèrt, People & Culture Manager, Ingka Group

People choose IKEA for what we stand for

We want to be a company that people want to be a part of. Our values are at the heart of everything we do – and we’re proud of that. We believe its those values make us stand out, and we continue to emphasise and show how we live them in our daily reality.

We aim to attract competent and talented people who share our values, by improving how we reach out to potential co-workers. We continue to develop and integrate more digital functionality into our recruitment process – functionality such as our job portal and our new digital recruitment solution. This makes it easier to connect with and identify the great talent we need, because this is what will result in a better customer experience. During FY18, we welcomed 40,368 new co-workers to help us meet our goals and add to our in-house competences.

Building competence within IKEA remains an important focus area. To encourage development across functions, units and countries, we organise global initiatives to bring out the best in our people. One such activity is our Talent Focus Week, which in FY18 saw over 63,000 co-workers participating in different development activities around the theme ‘Let us use our talents’. During that week we called on our co-workers to join us in making IKEA even better, and in the coming spring we are launching our third edition of the week, with the theme ‘Think beyond. Dare to try. Keep on growing’.

We are committed to going all-in on equality. Equality is a fundamental human right and it’s reflected in our values. To reach true equality, we focus both on the diversity of our workforce and on fostering a culture of inclusion in our work environment. Our goal is to create an inclusive culture where everyone is valued for their unique contribution, and where they can be themselves. By making equality one of our competitive advantages, we increase our ability to serve a diverse customer base and contribute to positive change in all areas of our business and society.

Our goal is to achieve gender balance in all leadership positions by 2020. Today 49.4% of our leaders and 54% of our co-workers are women. However, achieving gender balance is only the beginning. We also focus on integrating diversity in all areas of our work processes and business practices.

In FY18 we signed a number of commitments:

  • In October, we joined Stonewall, a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the lives in workplaces all over the world, of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, plus people of all sexual orientations and gender identities (LGBT+).

  • In February, Jesper Brodin, President and CEO, Ingka Group, signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). The WEPs provide a framework for businesses on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. By signing the WEPs, we strengthen our commitment to equality and show consistency in our cooperation with the United Nations (UN).

  • In September, Sari Brody, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Ingka Group, signed the EPIC Pledge (Equal Pay International Coalition). This is a part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and is an important step in ensuring that women and men receive equal pay for work of equal value. We are developing a framework and approach to equal pay, and in signing the pledge, we’re also committed to rolling out this framework during 2019, to the 30 markets in which we operate.

  • To reinforce Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in our markets, we collaborated with the European Commission. In 2018, all 18 Ingka Group markets in the European Union signed their national Diversity Charter, making a commitment to promote equal opportunities in the workplace and in society.

Engaged IKEA people with customers at heart

We know how important the interaction between our customers and co-workers is, so having engaged, happy co-workers is not only better for our work environment, but it’s also better for our customers and our business. We therefore strive to empower our co-workers, recognising them and providing the right work environment for them to flourish.

To develop and retain our co-workers, we aim to give them the right preconditions to succeed. We’ll provide the right tools for them to perform brilliantly in a multi-channel landscape, and to continuously develop themselves and the business, because when our people grow, our business grows too.

As our business changes, it’s critical that everyone knows how to lead in transformation, with speed and agility – both in terms of self-leadership and leading others. We have introduced a new approach for leadership in the new era, focusing on entrepreneurship of the many, performance with a meaning and working together in a much more profound way.

IKEA is built on an entrepreneurial spirit, which is an essential part of leading in a changing business. Unleashing the entrepreneur in everyone creates a better, more innovative IKEA; therefore, we encourage this approach to bring out the best in every one of our co-workers.

Staying close to our people is an important part of delivering to the customer, and listening to our co-workers plays an essential role in understanding how well we, as a company, are delivering on our goals and ambitions. By launching a new, more dynamic and simpler way of conducting co-worker surveys, we create a platform for even better sharing and dialogues.

An additional component for engaging and retaining our co-workers is rewarding their efforts, and this can come in many different forms. For example, during 2018, the Ingka Group programme Tack! (‘Thank you’ in Swedish) shared EUR 103 million with co-workers worldwide, as a way of saying thank you for their commitment and contribution. The total global funding since the introduction of Tack! in FY14, is EUR 612 million.

We are also working to develop an approach to fair pay for everyone within the Ingka Group. We support the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, independent of life situation – and we are working to achieve this by developing an approach to close the gender pay gap.

People in the workplace should be able to work reasonable hours under good conditions. The Ingka Group Approach to Employment Standards ensures we apply consistent principles to employment relationships and contracts, scheduling, working hours, equality of treatment and open communication. We respect the rights of our colleagues to form and to join or not to join a co-worker association of their choice.

Our units have developed a range of offerings for co-workers at different life stages, including shared or equal parental leave, job sharing, remote working, childcare provision and providing equal hourly pay and benefits for full and part-time co-workers doing the same job.

A modern, lean and agile Ingka fit for growth

In FY18 we started to transform our business to be ready for the future, and over the next three years we will make the changes needed to be in an even better position for our long-term growth. This means that we’re assessing all parts of our organisation in order to simplify how we lead, work and organise and, at the same time, acquire new capabilities.

During the year we increased our efforts and investments in becoming more affordable, convenient and sustainable. While this has had an impact on our results, it was a conscious decision for us to start this three-year period of transformation. We are also developing how we are organised to ensure we can better meet the needs of our customers in the future. As a result, in the coming years 11,500 new jobs will be created, but at the same time approximately 7,500 may be made redundant, mainly focusing on global functions and offices in 30 markets.

Throughout this period of change, we realise that we will face exciting opportunities, but also some challenging dilemmas. To guide us, we will continue to focus on our culture and values, and have an open dialogue with our co-workers on any changes we make so that we do this together. We’re clear on where we want to go and how we will get there; and know that it will be only possible if we stay true to who we are and continue to deliver to our vision of creating a better everyday life for the many people.

Health and wellbeing in the workplace

A safe, ergonomic and inclusive work environment is the standard in any of our units. We want to be an attractive, modern and inclusive workplace, where co-workers are physically and mentally healthy, satisfied with their work and have the energy to engage with and inspire customers. We closely monitor the health and safety of our co-workers, and have noticed a slight increase of accidents in our workplaces over the past three years. This partly reflects our efforts to encourage reporting of incidents by co-workers, but also highlights the need for us to take even more action.

Despite preventative measures, accidents and incidents are occuring mainly in the logistics and food areas of our retail stores, as well as in the customer fulfilment distribution units. The majority occur when using hand tools or in material handling in general, and are often down to human error. We we plan to update our training programmes to try and reduce the number of incidents in the future.

Each business unit is responsible for its own working methods, but we will proactively provide support with a new set of training solutions. We’ll update and provide global tools and processes including better incident reporting, training packages and benchmarking.

Occupational health and safety guidelines, where standardised risk assessment methods for individual working positions need to be implemented, is another area to develop. Also, the reorganisation of our incident reporting system will support a more focused analysis and, indirectly, better safety management. There were no on-site fatalities involving Ingka Group co-workers in FY18.

We have now started the work to build a Health and Wellbeing framework in Ingka to look beyond just safety and focus on more dimensions of wellbeing.


Ingka Group Occupational Accidents:
Retail and customer fulfilment

FY16 FY17 FY18
Severe accidents (reported as medium or high severity) 736 821 931
Severe accidents/million hours worked 5.3 5.6 6.2