Interview with Dominique Sayce, HR Manager, IKEA

Name:                                     Dominique Sayce

Role within IKEA:              HR Manager

Biography:

Area Manager for Aldi Stores Ltd: A regional role achieved through the fast track Graduate Programme, which covered between 4-6 stores around the Bristol area. Responsible for an average of 125 employees, and weekly turnover of £750k+. A wide ranging role which entailed area recruitment, financial planning and forecasting, area wide recruitment, inventory auditing, coaching and development, cost control, competitor analysis , full HR responsibility and project work which included National Apprenticeship Roll Out for the South West, new store opening in Fishponds and restructuring of training programme for Store and Area Managers.

Finance Consultant for Michael Page Ltd: Specialising in the qualified and executive finance arena, I covered the Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucester region specialising in qualified accountants  through to Director level recruitment.

Dominique, you joined IKEA in December 2014, how have you found the transition?

The transition into IKEA is an ongoing journey – one in which I have only recently started. It truly is a different world, but one in which you get a lot of helping hands along the way, pulling you through and guiding your every step.

Never before have I worked in an environment where it is in everyone’s interest to watch you succeed and you are actually encouraged to take your time, learn the ropes and get to know everyone before you actually step into your official role. As corny as it sounds, I feel like I can be myself and let down my barriers to really get to know my colleagues and co-workers.

How does your role of HR Manager at IKEA differ from your previous role?

I would say it is more so the environment that differs, as opposed to the expectations of the role. The responsibility of HR throughout the commercial realm is to lead and develop staff, to spot and nurture talent, to provide robust systems and processes to ensure fair and diverse recruitment and to overall, provide a safe and enjoyable working environment for all employees.

However, IKEA actually provide the environment where the needs and happiness of the employees is a number one priority. It’s not governed by targets and KPIs, it is more focused on leading by example and creating the type of environment where employees naturally enjoy coming to work, are motivated and proud to represent IKEA and want to work together to really drive the business forward.

From an HR Manager perspective, I feel as if I have the scope to spread my wings, really get close to employees to understand truly their needs and perspectives and then build upon those findings and relationships to create processes and systems which suit our store.

The UK IKEA “HR Guidelines” are there as a support function; they set the structure for how to conduct business, but we have real autonomy on a local level to adapt our processes and focus to cater for our co-workers.

In your view, what are the key skills and qualities required for your role?

It is a wide role and often quite hard to pin down each and every aspect of the HR Manager role, but I would summarise the key qualities to be: approachableness, honesty, humbleness and passion.

It is commendable to try new things, to dare to be different and to strive for improvements throughout the store. It is ok to make mistakes, to learn from them and not be scared to go to plan B, C or even D!

Passion shines through. In order to drive changes and success, it is crucial to have your team and co-workers behind you. By leading through people and by example, passion is infectious and creates the “feel good” factor.

IKEA are known for recruiting the person rather than the CV, what makes someone stand out as a candidate for IKEA?

Apologies for the “thesaurus” approach to this question, but I truly believe that each co-worker (regardless of job role or seniority) displays the following characteristics: openness, honesty, passion, motivation, dedication, humbleness, desire to improve and find new ways of working, keen to share best practice, ability to build relationships and more that anything, have two ears and one mouth!

What advice would you give to candidates attending an interview at IKEA?

Be yourself. IKEA truly is an anomaly in that your values, personality, attitude and passion are the key drivers to success. If you are someone who is a people person, who believes that relationships are the key to success, is ambitious and eager to find better ways of working, and ultimately wants to work for a firm where you are employed for who you are – come to IKEA.

What is the biggest challenge in your role at present?

Given I am new to the role, my biggest challenge is learning the IKEA Way. Coming from quite a hard commercial background, it is a very different way of looking at business. I am being encouraged to walk and then crawl, having been used to being expected to run from day 1.

Also, relaxing into an environment where the focus is on building relationships and getting to know the entire business.

What will your next role be within IKEA?

Quite hard to say as I have currently only been in my role for 2.5 months. Nonetheless, the freedom internally to move disciplines means that I can get quite excited about the freedom to consider options such as Logistics Manager or Business Navigation.

That said, there are always numerous opportunities which will be arriving due to the extension and upcoming project plans for the UK.

And finally, what is the best thing about working for IKEA?

The best thing about working for IKEA is the autonomy to shape your role, to experiment and bring new ideas to the table and the freedom (and expectation) to truly spend the time getting to know co-workers and building relationships.

Not many companies offer this opportunity. In so many firms nowadays, the expectation is to be up and running as soon as possible, delivering targets and meeting KPIs. Never have I ever worked for a firm such as IKEA, who genuinely place so much pride and emphasis on the strength and relationships of their employees. 

 

To read more about the opportunity to join the IKEA HR team, click here

 
 

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