Adding Filipino flavour to the recipe of IKEA values
In 2016, Dixie was ready to take a break from work when she got a call from a head hunter about a new job. She was hesitant at first, but when the recruiter said without disclosing the company’s name that it was with “the world’s largest furniture retailer,” she knew she had to hear more!
I was the third co-worker to be employed at IKEA Philippines when I joined on 1 October in 2016. We started out in a tiny 20 sqm office and we had a long road ahead of us. This wasn’t only about opening the biggest IKEA store in the world – it was also the very first in the Philippines.
Very few of us had set foot in an IKEA store, so we battled a lot of firsts in an unknown territory. Originally, IKEA Pasay City was set to open in 2020, but then the Covid-19 pandemic hit. As we were setting up, we suddenly had to regroup and began onboarding people virtually.
Despite this, it was our values and the IKEA way of working that helped us make sense of the unknown. Unlike most companies, IKEA’s vision, mission and values are not just statements on the wall. They’re part of our daily lives – from meeting rooms to the shop floor, and in planning the Philippines’ first IKEA. These real, liveable values and the IKEA way of working guided us, and we embraced them in our own Filipino way.
Bringing fellow Filipinos home
To empower our new co-workers to bring the IKEA experience to life, we worked strategically to attract Filipinos working for IKEAs across the world to come home and work in our store. This successful recruitment campaign allowed us to reunite them with their families here while benefitting from their extensive knowledge and experience they had from other IKEA stores in different markets. We even got a Communication & Inspiration manager back after he had lived 27 years away from his family!
And even after onboarding more than 600 new co-workers, I can proudly say that everyone speaks the same IKEA language and lives the same values.
I’ve grown a lot since joining six years ago. What I’m truly grateful for is the opportunity for lateral growth in IKEA. I started off in HR and now I’m a Customer Relations Manager and who knows what could be next! As we opened in November 2021, I took a quiet moment to remember those early days in our tiny space with just four of us and not knowing what would come next.
Today, we have customers waiting outside the store for three hours just to eat meatballs! It’s like a theme park where people are waiting forever to try the ride of their life. We’re amazed at the reception the many Filipinos have given us and we are already excited to get going with our second store here. What a glorious future!