Home furnishing company IKEA was founded over seven decades ago in Sweden, with a vision "to create a better everyday life for the many people" by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible can afford them. This vision has not changed since. Today, IKEA serves to not only provide cosy and affordable accommodations for households but also a welcoming and homely environment for its co-workers.
We speak to Chua Jia Min and Nur Fatimah Zahra Johari, who were both drawn to IKEA Singapore for its values-based culture and friendly workplace atmosphere.
What are your key roles and responsibilities?
Chua Jia Min: I am a Learning and Development Executive and I take care of all training-related matters for both stores in Singapore. I am responsible for the smooth coordination of training activities. Some of the things I do include sending out communication messages and updating training materials. At times, I personally conduct the trainings.
Nur Fatimah Zahra Johari: As the Quality and Safety Compliance leader, I am responsible for the safety of my colleagues at the warehouse. My tasks comprise of training and innovating new ways to improve safety operations in the warehouse. At the same time, I ensure that the quality of our goods comply with our standards.
How has IKEA Singapore helped you in your personal and professional development?
Jia Min: This is my first job and my goal is to learn as much as possible. IKEA Singapore offers many training courses including customer service skills and upgrading. Besides work, IKEA Singapore has a strong commitment in helping the community. We are given time off to volunteer for a social cause, even going as far as Romania or China. IKEA Singapore has helped to develop my Human Resource know-how and I find myself growing holistically into a contributing member of the society.
Zahra: At IKEA Singapore, I have the opportunity to work with many different teams. This has helped to improve my communication skills tremendously. I feel much more comfortable talking to people now. In terms of professional development, I get to spend time with colleagues through trainings. As I form tight networks with them, I have learnt about the day-to-day challenges they encounter and we work to overcome them together.
What challenges have you encountered and how do you overcome them?
Jia Min: One of the challenges I face is the frequently overwhelming workload that stems from supporting the two stores in Singapore. Thankfully, I have a manager who is very supportive; helping me as much as possible so I do not feel alone at all.
Zahra: For me, it was joining a male-dominated team as a young female professional. I spent a lot of time getting to know everyone in my team on a personal level, which helped in our interaction.
Chua Jia Min
Learning & Development Executive
What do you enjoy most about working with IKEA Singapore?
Jia Min: While it can be challenging at times, help is always around the corner. My colleagues and seniors are always open to discuss issues and problems. This makes it easy to approach them for advice. It is like working with friends and family here.
Zahra: What I enjoy is coming to work every day knowing that there will always be someone to guide me, listen to my ideas and take my suggestions into account. Everyone is open to trying out fresh ideas. I also enjoy the "Fika" breaks, which is Swedish for a 10-minute coffee break! It revitalises me during lengthy meetings or tough shifts.
I have many childhood memories from here too, going back to the days when my parents brought me to IKEA Alexandra. I was excited about the prospect of working with IKEA as IKEA gives the impression of great innovation and improving people's lives at home.
Nur Fatimah Zahra Johari
Lead, Quality and Safety Compliance
Share with us some memorable moments.
Jia Min: Just one month into my role, I went to Phuket with the team for a team-bonding outing. It was a fun and relaxing trip, and a good opportunity for me to get to know my teammates better.
Zahra: I initiated and launched a store quality assurance programme. The whole process was a great learning experience for me. I found myself speaking to various seniors and it has allowed me to acquire a broader perspective of the company. It also gave my confidence a much needed boost.
Zahra, what do you think are some of the qualities required to work at IKEA Singapore?
Zahra: I feel that someone who is humble and open to feedback will learn and grow with the company. Being forward-looking is also a characteristic that IKEA Singapore looks out for.
Jia Min, any words of advice for those aspiring to join IKEA?
Jia Min: For those who wish to join, it is important to have an open mind-set and to remove the stigma of working in the retail industry. It is not simply about selling furniture. Plenty of work is involved behind-the-scenes to make the magic happen. Furthermore, there are many learning opportunities, with huge potential to develop your career laterally and vertically. If you like IKEA's products and yearn to develop holistically, then IKEA is the place for you.