An Insight into IKEA Headquarter

What is the corporate culture of IKEA? Any collaborations with universities? Are there opportunities for international students? Here comes the Q&A.

Our professor had invited Johanna Parikka Altenstedt, strategic communications at IKEA of Sweden, as a guest speaker during one of the lectures. Johanna has an extensive experience in journalism and communications and shared with us very interesting insights about IKEA and invited us to visit the headquarter. In case you are wondering, IKEA headquarter lies in Älmhult, the province of Småland and not Stockholm. So that’s how my course mates and I, the 15 of us, ended up at the IKEA Älmhult after a 2.5 hours drive from Borås. I would like to thank Johanna for taking her time in giving us a very wonderful tour in IKEA, answering all our questions and introducing us to the designers and her co-workers. Naturally before the tour started, we had a fika first. A good start!

IKEA is ranked #30 in Universum World’s this year for being one of the most attractive employers among new graduates. Here comes my 12 Q&A targeted for international students who might be interested to find out more about IKEA.

1. What is the corporate language and how diverse  is IKEA in Älmhult?

The corporate language is English and we have 47 nationalities in IKEA of Sweden, here in Älmhult.

2. Just curious, how many times do you have typically have fika (coffee break) in a work day?

Maybe twice – morning and afternoon, with lunch in between of course!

3. What are the most important aspects that employees should know?

It is important that staff share IKEA values.

4. Does IKEA offer graduate or trainee programs? If so, is  Swedish a requirement in Sweden?

We do have in Sweden a trainee program open to graduates who have worked for one year in a leadership role and this is open to non Swedish speakers as well.  Most IKEA retail countries offer localized trainee programs.

5. How can students apply for internships?

Internships are advertised on Open IKEA – our online job site.  These are usually more postings at the start of the calendar year.

6Does IKEA collaborate with certain institutions/universities in the recruitment or ‘headhunting’ of graduates?

Whilst we do not do ‘headhunting’, we do have a strong relationship with the university in Växjo where they have a product development related program that we are involved in. We also cooperate in research with students from Stockholm University (Mobility and digital technology)  and Ingvar Kamprad Design Center at Lund  University.

7. Does IKEA work with students on research topics/thesis? If yes, what kind of research areas?

We do often collaborate with students on some research topics. However, we do not have a defined process or route for doing this as this is arranged on a local level.

8.  How important is the element of fashion in the products? 

In the future there might be cooperation with fashion designers as we have now with designers, but not in the near future.

9. How can IKEA help an employee to achieve career advancement? Any training /leadership courses and opportunities to work abroad?

IKEA has a people idea ‘ To give down to earth, straightforward people the possibility to grow both as individuals and in their professional roles, so that together we are strongly committed to creating a better everyday like for ourselves and the many people’. With presence in over 50 countries, IKEA spans such a wide area of jobs, roles, industries and places where there are many opportunities to grow your careers and skills and opportunity to move internationally. From supply, to production, to sales, to retail, to product development, to accounting, to recruitment, to design, to logistics. Our jobs are posted and our co-workers are encouraged to develop through learning about new areas and markets and sharing of their knowledge. There are also leadership program, development program to support in how you can grow or deliver in a better way, and more technical training too.

10. What are some examples of employees’ welfare? 

We have an Employee Benefits program – with everything from support offered to participation in various wellness and health related activities, to lease cars, employee discount on IKEA products and discounts offered by partner companies. We also have a number of family friendly policies which offer support through all life stages.  And of course, participating in social and team building events.

 11. How often do the various departments integrate?

All our support departments work alongside to facilitate the business direction and are very integrated with our every day ways of working.

12. How do you incorporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR)?

Sustainability is a strong driver in the value chain and suppliers has to follow our stringent IWAY Code of Conduct. Our Sustainability strategy is called People Planet Positive. Find out more here. Our head of Sustainability, Steve Howard, has recently addressed IKEA’s work to reduce our CO2 print in the latest UN Climate Summit in New York. We are considered one of the branch leaders in Sustainability. For instance, supporting the LED light revolution, IKEA will be converting its full lighting range to LED by 2016. We thus make the impact for a technology change. IKEA Food is also working hard for sustainability. Our material development is looking into using reusable, such as PET bottles as material. To illustrate an example, we now have  an audio wall that  absorbs noise in a room, made partly of PET-bottles.

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What I enjoyed most about the tour was the product development section. It is a huge open area with prototypes, sketches, colors and glass incubators as the meeting rooms. That were really fascinating and inspiring. Although IKEA is about Swedishness, it is also very diverse. I came across people from all backgrounds working together, its a very interesting place to meet and interact with people from all over the world.

IKEA headquarter

Hej då!

Angelina avatar

10 Comments

  • Pia • 4 May 2016 at 7.09 am Reply

    Hi Angelina.
    I am a danish student, currently studying in South Korea. I could see that question 7 – about if IKEA work with students on research topics/thesis? The answer was that they often collaborate with students. So I hoped that you perhaps could help us a little bit.. We are a group of 3 koreans and one danish student, who are sent out to research organizational culture and we would love to study the culture within and between a korean and swedish Ikea through a questionnaire. Do you think that could be possible and if so who can we contact?
    Thank you so much,
    Greetings

    • Angelina
      Angelina • 14 May 2016 at 4.31 pm Reply

      Hi Pia,

      IKEA representatives is among one of the companies that went to my university during the Company Day event to reach out to students who are doing their thesis for research collaborations. 2 of my coursemates were doing their thesis with IKEA and one of them is now my colleague. Other than my university, I know IKEA also collaborate with a few other universities. Maybe you can forward me the questionnaire and I can see if I can help. My email is angelina.studyinsweden (at) gmail.com

      /Angelina

  • Reeva • 20 Apr 2016 at 6.37 am Reply

    Hi Angelina,

    I am an International student in france and I would like to apply for the IKEA trainee programme in Sweden. I would like to know if they take international graduates of non-eu citizenship.

    • Angelina
      Angelina • 30 Apr 2016 at 1.12 am Reply

      Hello Reeva,

      IKEA is very diverse. In my workplace, we have around 1500 co-workers from 50 different nationalities. I don’t have EU citizenship, so are many of my colleagues. I don’t think citizenship is a concern if you’re the right candidate.

      All the best for your application!

      /Angelina

  • rahul • 27 Jan 2016 at 1.16 pm Reply

    I would like to sell my handicrafts products to IKEA plz tell me how I am do

    • Angelina
      Angelina • 30 Jan 2016 at 2.28 pm Reply

      Hi Rahul,

      Send your proposals to: new.proposal(at)ikea.com
      All the best!

      /Angelina

  • Alfred Chmelik • 10 Dec 2015 at 11.11 am Reply

    I would like to introduce IKEA my furniture design
    Whom can I contact
    greets alfred

    • Angelina
      Angelina • 23 Dec 2015 at 3.39 pm Reply

      Hi Alfred,

      Here’s the address for new product ideas: new.proposal (at) ikea.com
      All the best to your furniture design.

      /Angelina

  • Nadine S • 10 Dec 2014 at 4.47 pm Reply

    Dream job!

  • JD • 13 Nov 2014 at 3.17 am Reply

    Truly international. Nice colours!

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