Name: Darren Taylor
Role within IKEA: Deputy Country HR Manager UK& IE
University Graduate -1996
Experience in a main stream DIY and food retailers – 1993 – 1997
Darren, you joined IKEA from Do It All DIY in 1997, how have you found the transition?
I joined IKEA in 1997 from, at the time, a main stream DIY chain where I was a warehouse supervisor. The transition for me was very natural; the fast paced retail environment that IKEA offered suited my strong work ethic and offered me career opportunities as well as an environment to grow as a manager and a leader.
How does your role of HR Manager at IKEA differ from your previous role?
Over the last 17 years in IKEA I have had a number of roles, starting as a trainee department sales manager in the cook shop area and then spending the next 13 years working with the IKEA commercial functions in various roles in four IKEA stores. In 2011, I decided to try a different direction and diversified by taking a position as a Store HR Manager in Nottingham. I then joined the Country HR team as the Deputy Country HR Manager in 2014.
As a Store HR Manager there were a lot of similarities and transferable skills which I used before and still rely on daily. A passion for working with the customer and leading a team of co-people is a common theme through my career; I use these skills today as much as I did in all of my previous roles. The HR manager role in IKEA gives you freedom to develop a short, mid and long term approach to working with a “People plan” in your local market. The key is to engage the 300+ co-workers and management team in your store, while at the same time you have the opportunity to develop and lead the business from the front, making key decisions within the store to secure the IKEA brand.
In your view, what are the key skills and qualities required for your role?
The key skills for this role are, having a passion for people; this includes both the customer and co-workers alike.
IKEA are known for recruiting the person rather than the CV, what makes someone stand out as a candidate for IKEA?
The candidates who stand out are the ones who are comfortable with who they are, being self aware of their skills, how they lead, what they want to personally develop, how they can contribute to IKEA’s growth as a brand. What is also important is having a passion for home furnishings and how to connect this to customers’ and co-workers’ lives, needs and aspirations.
What advice would you give to candidates attending an interview at IKEA?
Be yourself, be open, passionate and inspire; it’s not necessarily about what you have done in the past but more what you can do in the future. Enjoy the interview and share your views.
What is the biggest challenge in your role at present?
IKEA is growing so fast in the UK&IE ; with our customer and co-workers’ needs constantly changing and evolving, my biggest challenge today is to make sure we are living up to our vision, HR idea and core values in all of these diverse and exciting markets .
What will your next role be within IKEA?
My career has been very varied and has changed direction many times, however I always feel comfortable with the fact that you can have many different careers in IKEA without moving company. My ambition is to be a Country HR Manager over the next 3-5 years, in a European country; lets see where the next few years takes me….
And finally, what is the best thing about working for IKEA?
The best thing for me is the freedom to grow both personally and with the business. Every day there is a new challenge, but each one is exciting and stretches me to become a better person, leader and retailer.
To read more about opportunities to join the IKEA HR team, click here