IKEAHow do you use a global pandemic to reassess the nature of work and your role as an employer?
The COVID-19 pandemic left many businesses wondering whether what they do – and how they do it – is relevant and future-proof. INGKA, the biggest franchisee within the IKEA universe with 160,000 employees across 30 countries, felt an acute need to rethink their position considering retail was one of the industries most disrupted by the pandemic.
When considering the ongoing global trends shaping the economy of tomorrow – from societal and demographic changes to climate movements, technology and digitalisation as well as the nature of work itself – it is clear that the requirement for continuous transformation is here to stay. We need to learn to live in the unknown in a different way and always look ahead to explore the future.
For INGKA, being the large employer that they are, the decision was made to strengthen their long-term capabilities, side with their many co-workers and ultimately have a positive impact as a unique employer. Learning and development for the future got a new meaning. Practically, they were committed to:
A. Revolutionising their learning landscape, opening up the capabilities for massive online learning through the creation of a dedicated multi-year Learning Academy.
B. Upskilling and reskilling their co-workers with the aim of securing as many jobs as possible for as long as possible, strengthening long-term employability and accelerating the creation of new jobs.
In order to really understand the point of departure and chart the most ambitious and relevant future direction, extensive research was conducted to provide both internal and external perspectives. These included interviewing 100+ colleagues, surveying 500+ workers, analysing relevant data, reviewing the existing learning landscape and talking with thought leaders. Based on these insights, the following challenge questions were identified to help make the most strategically important choices:
Through workshopped solutions to these strategic questions and based on IKEA’s brand heritage and key values, it was decided that the right way to look at the Future of Work was as an honest, almost intimate relationship between an employer and its co-workers. It was about rethinking the relationship between co-workers and stakeholders, because things can only be done together. Practically, the way forward consisted of:
A. Becoming an iconic learning organisation and creating a lifelong learning culture
B. Putting people in the centre of their transformation
C. Empowering talent and building trustful partnerships …
… which will be supported by eight jointly developed strategic initiatives, including:
The strategic initiatives are currently being implemented with the development of new learning academies and platforms being pursued through a mix of M&A and internal development. Overall, the initiatives are supporting INGKA and IKEA to continue living their founder’s dream and values in the ever-changing world – being fit for the future by being fit for humans.
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