We love IKEA – and they love us :o)

I’ve been a fan of IKEA for a while now. I like their vision (to create a better everyday life for the many people) and admire their founder, Ingvar Kamprad, who is by all accounts a terribly nice person. I’ve previously quoted him as saying that:

Work should always be fun for all colleagues. We all only have one life. A third of life is work. Without desire and fun, work becomes hell.

- Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA

They may also be the only corporation that lowers the price of umbrellas, when it rains!

So when we got IKEA as a customer, I was delighted!

Their Taastrup branch (located 30 km outside of Copenhagen) have committed themselves to becoming an even happier workplace and have hired us to help. In October I did a two-day workshop for their managers and yesterday my fantastic co-worker Jon (in the picture above) and I spoke at a kick-off event for all employees.

The kick-off was a huge success, due to the meticulous and creative planning by the store’s managers, the entertaining hosts (two well-known Danish TV and radio hosts) and a great crowd. And, of course, because Jon and I kicked some major butt with our presentation. In all modesty :o)

The entire project is called GLÄDJE (happiness in Swedish), which IKEA aficionados will immediately recognize as a play on the company’s all-Swedish product names.

While more and more organizations are trying to become happy workplaces, it’s rare to see a business that approaches the process with the same determination, commitment and creativity as IKEA Taastrup.

Here are some of the things that have impressed us about their approach:

  • While this started out as a project to raise customer satisfaction, they quickly realized, that the way to do it is to raise employee happiness. That’s enlightened thinking.
  • It’s a long-term commitment, and happiness will be the main goal of the store for the next three years.
  • The managers are walking the talk and taking a leading role in creating more happiness.
  • They recognize that employees must be engaged at every level of the process.
  • They’ve hired a bureau to create graphics and design for the project, which means that it looks great.
  • And best of all, they hired us :o)

The next step is a series of workshops for all managers and employees which we will host in January and February and then a series of meetings to be held in every department.

They’re well on the way already. Recently, the store’s bed department transformed a Saturday from the busiest day of the week to the happiest. The employees all put on bath robes over their uniforms and staged a pillow fight in the store between staff and customers. Down and feathers was everywhere.

Some employees also hid in the wardrobes. When customers opened them to have a look, they’d step out saying “Hi, can I help?”

So if you shop at IKEA Taastrup, don’t be surprised if you run into some very happy people.

5 thoughts on “We love IKEA – and they love us :o)”

  1. what a great way to start the new year!! congratulations on gaining such a fantastic client…i’d love to see pillow fights and helpful staff walking out of the closets at my local IKEA =-)

    thank you for doing the amazing work you do Alex – it helps me be happier at my workplace especially since it’s not the happiest place to be these days, but your work gives me hope for my future!!

  2. It’s nice to see companies taking on creative experiments like this. Of course business is a competitive environment, and not every experience in the workplace can be a bowl of sunshine and roses, however the idea of a company that is genuinely committed to improving the work experience of their employees is refreshing.

  3. Happy employees = Happy customers

    It’s weird that more companies don’t get that.

    Discover what makes your employees happy and then do that. What’s most surprising is that more often than not it usually NOT about the money they’re being paid. It’s more intangible.

    Congrats on the new contract!

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