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Michelle Noveda Commercial Activity
Manager, Sales

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IKEA AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?

My formal training is in mass communication. Originally I wanted to be a broadcaster, but after a year working at a TV station I decided to try out a career in retail instead. I worked in retail fashion for seven years before joining IKEA, where I’ve been working since 2009. I started as a shopkeeper in Home Decoration and after two years later I got the opportunity to become a Store Commercial Activity Leader.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB FOR YOU?

My job is to get every customer in the store to feel like there is something new and exciting happening every time they visit us. This involves working with other departments to plan fun activities around festive seasons and store themes. Part of my job is also to understand how people in Singapore live. People walking through our store should feel that we understand their everyday needs and that we offer them inspiring solutions at a low price.

WHAT ARE THE MOST INSPIRING RESPONSIBILITIES OR TASKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

A year ago I lead a country-wide customer engagement project, which encouraged our loyalty customer base, or FAMILY members as we call them at IKEA, to bring and sign up a friend in our store. We got great customer feedback and a lot of new FAMILY members. Being apart of this event planning from the very beginning was a fantastic experience and I learnt so much!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE IKEA CULTURE AND VALUES?

Having been part of a few different organisations, I have realized that people at IKEA treats everyone equal regardless what you’ve done previously or where you’re from. This culture brings us together and makes it easier and more fun when we work across departments to reach the tough goals we set for ourselves.

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE THINKING OF APPLYING FOR A ROLE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT?

I like challenging myself and other department to always improve on the existing. Having clear goals, learning from our past, and including everyone involved in the process delivers the best possible customer experience.

Arun Issar Financial Controller,
Service Office Finance

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IKEA AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?

I joined IKEA in the United Kingdom as the Accounting Manager in the year 2000. It was my first proper job and I worked hard and had fun for six great years. But then I decided to leave for a job that paid more, thinking I would see how the ‘real’ world worked. I quickly realised that I missed IKEA. It came down to three things. Products: IKEA has great products and everyone has a story about their IKEA experience. Philosophy: very few companies live, breathe and stand behind their values as IKEA does. People: at all levels of the organisation, from top down, there are role models who are genuine and inspirational.

I jumped at the chance to re-join IKEA in 2014, working for the Finance team here in Southeast Asia. When I walked through the doors on my first day back, I felt like I was back at home.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB FOR YOU?

No day is the same. That’s what I love. We operate in three countries – Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand – and there is always something to do. Whilst covering the normal daily assignments, we also look at how we can develop, improve and future-proof the way we work to support the business as it executes an exciting expansion plan.

WHAT ARE THE MOST INSPIRING RESPONSIBILITIES OR TASKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

It’s all about the Team and how we can engage with each other in a smarter, unified and cohesive way. Seeing how people have stretched themselves and had the confidence to actually take decisions based on the courage of their own convictions is hugely rewarding and satisfying. It provides a great platform from where we can launch our growth agenda and empowers us to feel that we can all make a difference.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE IKEA CULTURE AND VALUES?

The way we work is not for everyone, but I have always felt that I have been allowed to be myself. You are encouraged to be an individual. We can challenge the status quo and are trusted to make decisions. That creates an environment where you feel you can make an impact.

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE THINKING OF APPLYING FOR A ROLE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT?

If you showed aptitude, an appetite to work hard and ability to get things done, then you will get noticed. We are a lean organisation and constantly on a journey to find the talent that can take us to the next level. So, when the opportunity arises there is every chance of progression and development not only within Southeast Asia but anywhere within the IKEA world.

Ahmad Eirzrein Visual Merchandizer

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IKEA AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?

I joined as an intern in 2012 while I was still studying in UITM and I was placed in visual merchandizing. I loved my experience and IKEA was my first choice as an employee the moment I graduated. I contacted IKEA upon my graduation and the rest, they say is history! I’m now a visual merchandizer attached with IKEA Cheras (in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB FOR YOU?

Each visual merchandizer would have a department to take care of. A typical day for me would be walking the floor, pushing my trolley with my tools and heading to the Plant & Outdoors, Self-Serve Area and Swedish Food Market. I check the displays to ensure the safety of the racking, inspect the aesthetics of the display, to check whether the merchandize are properly placed in their racks, and to replenish where necessary.

WHAT ARE THE MOST INSPIRING RESPONSIBILITIES ORTASKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

A visual merchandizer has an influence on customers’ purchasing. In terms of layout and placement of the products, it is our job to influence the customer to buy. We also get to do interesting things like planning for store themes, for example Christmas, Chinese New Year and other festivities. Understanding our role in inspiring customers makes the job all the more interesting, creative and fun.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE IKEA CULTURE AND VALUES?

The value I most identify with would be “Daring to be Different”. In IKEA, we are driven by our passion and initiative with the help and support of our managers. When it comes to decision making, we are free to make our own decisions and this is especially inspiring as IKEA promotes not just teamwork but we are encouraged to be grow as an individual. This is amazing.

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE THINKING OF APPLYING FOR A ROLE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT?

Be passionate about what you do. There are challenges and even if it takes up a lot of your time, sweat and tears, always remember that what you do is ultimately for the customers and creating a fantastic shopping experience for them. If you can identify with that, then IKEA is the right place for you. At the end of the day, IKEA is about doing things from the heart for the many people.

Kittima Limsirivallop Sales Supply
Support Manager

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IKEA AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?

I joined IKEA Bangna in 2011 as an Accounting Assistant as my first job after finishing my degree in Accounting. I was working under a one-year contract when I saw a job opening for Sales Supply Support. After discussing with my manager and the other team, I had an opportunity to switch to this role in 2012 until now that I have completed 5 working years. Now I am excited to be part of the team that is working to open a new IKEA store in Bangkok.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB FOR YOU?

Ultimately, I help ensure that our shelves are stocked full of products for our customers – so they can have the satisfaction of taking something home immediately. In Sales Supply Support, we handle purchase orders and ensure all information in our systems is up to date. My job is to check the information on purchase order systems to make sure they are accurate and working properly. If I find something wrong, I need to find a way to solve it so products arrive on time I enjoy working with data and details behind the scenes. We are empowered to resolve problems and work closely with other departments – and that can be fun. It’s a great team of people. I spend most of the time with my co-workers and hang out with them after work./

WHAT ARE THE MOST INSPIRING RESPONSIBILITIES OR TASKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

There was a project that I had to handle all purchase orders. It was challenging and a big responsibility. If I filled in the wrong data, other departments would not be able to implement their work. I needed to understand the whole process and also considered the limitations of each department.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE IKEA CULTURE AND VALUES?

There are actually a few aspects of IKEA culture and values that I like, however, I chose Humbleness and Willpower because there is humility and power – listening to other people and respecting each other despite the age and title. This aspect encourages people to be open minded and not be limited to new ideas. Personally, if you possess other values but lack this one, the work might not be effective. My supervisor is open to listen to my ideas and see if they align. If not, I will receive feedback to be able to analyze. We listen to each other.

WHAT BENEFIT DO YOU APPRECIATE THE MOST WORKING AT IKEA?

Our Provident fund. I put a little bit of my salary into the fund every month and IKEA contributes too. This really helps me to save and it’s extra help that we really appreciate.

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE THINKING OF APPLYING FOR A ROLE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT?

You need to enjoy learning new things – learning from the job, from reading, from experienced people and anything related or unrelated to your work. You should also have computer skills and should be familiar with Microsoft Excel. Also, ask questions to gain information then analyse before making a decision.

Mohammad Kamsani Goods Flow Manager,
In-store Logistics

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IKEA AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?

I started working here 14 years ago as a casual part-time co-worker in logistics and over the years was given opportunities to learn and grow – and move into a full time position. I have had several positions before becoming the Goods Flow Manager last year. It is demanding at times since we have to be creative when coming up with operational solutions that fits our warehouse structure and logistics team.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB FOR YOU?

I ensure our goods are available at all times for our customers. Our team makes sure our warehouse space is optimized and ensures a smooth flow and volume of incoming stocks. I have to safeguard the quality of products, merchandising and stock accuracy. We make sure that our customers find everything they want and have a great shopping experience. Safety always comes first, so I also make sure we are working with our code of conduct to keep our environment healthy, safe and secure.

WHAT ARE THE MOST INSPIRING RESPONSIBILITIES OR TASKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

Making sure our store is fully stocked and ready to satisfy our thousands of customers every day is the most rewarding part of my job. Plenty of stocks makes for plenty of happy customers.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE IKEA CULTURE AND VALUES?

We take pride in developing in-house talents and I use my own journey to inspire and prepare co-workers in my team the same way I’ve been growing in this organisation. Training and coaching people to secure succession is crucial for our business and is also tremendously rewarding for me. I also enjoy being challenged by my manger to take on bigger responsibilities and take part in store commercial planning meetings

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE THINKING OF APPLYING FOR A ROLE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT?

Think about whether you are a good fit for IKEA. We really live the IKEA values and nurture a culture that inspires co-workers to reach extraordinary achievements in the store.

Zimon Lomboy Services Manager,
Customer Relations

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IKEA AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?

I started my career at IKEA as a Sales Team Leader in November 2013. I have been in different departments like Beds, Wardrobe, Kitchens, and IKEA business before I joined the Services department as a manager.

All these experiences have helped me to become a better leader to my co-workers, a better employee to the company, and a better service provider to our customers.

I have been sent to different trainings locally and overseas which have given me more knowledge and skills to handle my current role. These trainings helped me to be where I am, and I am looking forward to continuously improving myself.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB FOR YOU?

We have two different shifts, morning and afternoon. From store opening to closing, our main focus is to prepare our store and welcome our visitors. Throughout the day, we greet and assist them, and also provide yellow shopping bags. Every single day we see different faces and meet different people, and as part of our role, we try to convert them to familiar faces. We may do the same tasks often but we encounter different experiences and scenarios every day.

WHAT ARE THE MOST INSPIRING RESPONSIBILITIES OR TASKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

As a Services Manager, it is my main responsibility, together with my team, to provide a better, if not the best, IKEA experience to our visitors and customers. My team handles SMALAND, one of the areas under services, which gives our future customers a space in our store where in they can play and interact with other kids. This is also an opportunity for us to meet their parents who often give both positive and negative scenarios and experiences that contribute to our personal and team development.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE IKEA CULTURE AND VALUES?

Humbleness and willpower. Through these values I am able to achieve a good working relationship with my team and the rest of my co-workers at IKEA. I believe that humility will get you closer to people and make working everyday easier. I also believe that willpower is the main key to reaching our goals and being able to attain our KPI. As part of the customer services team, it is our daily goal to deliver good customer service and provide good customer experience. With these, we get satisfied customers who will keep on coming back to our store. At the end of the day, we maintain a happy working environment, we get feedback from our customers, and we meet daily expectations.

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE THINKING OF APPLYING FOR A ROLE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT?

IKEA is not just a company. It is more of a training ground to developing people into becoming more efficient individuals. In IKEA, each co-worker has a very important role to contribute into making the company successful. For customer relations department, we need people with passion to serve. If you feel that you have the willpower and positive attitude towards work, then you are fit to be part of our team.

April Kwan Interior Design Leader,
Service Office

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IKEA AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?

My IKEA journey began the day I saw the ad in the Singapore newspaper in 2000 and, and a few monhts later, I started working at IKEA Alexandra. I was there for about five years before I got involved in setting up the country’s second IKEA store, and headed up the Interior Design team there for the next for years. When I saw an opportunity to become a freelance Interior Designer for our franchisor, Inter IKEA Systems B.V., I grabbed it! It was a real adventure. I was based in the small town of Delft, in the Netherlands, but I had a chance to travel all over the world – United Kingdom, Turkey, Egypt – to support IKEA stores in commercial planning and building.

I am now back at home in Singapore as the Interior Design Leader for our regional Service Office.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB FOR YOU?

Problem solving! My main responsibilities are to secure relevant, functional, beautiful home furnishing solutions are on display in all our IKEA stores. I work in the Service Office in Singapore, and we set direction for all the IKEA stores in our franchise in Southeast Asia. There is no typical day. One day I might be working on the interior design for our back office areas, the next day I might be working on the new sustainability room settings for our store.

WHAT ARE THE MOST INSPIRING RESPONSIBILITIES OR TASKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

To create a better every day life for the many. That’s the IKEA vision and I have it my mind almost every day as I work. That often includes leading, inspiring and challenging our Interior Design Managers to strengthen the uniqueness of the IKEA identity in the range presentation. We want to exceed visitor expectations and stimulate home furnishing interest in the markets we operate in. I love seeing how our plans come to life in the stores.

I love that I still have lots of opportunities for travel. This year I am going to Madrid to visit an IKEA store and to Sweden to see the new range. We never stop learning.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE IKEA CULTURE AND VALUES?

Simplicity. I have learned to consider this not only at work, but also as an individual. I always look into the needs before reacting. I try to define a very clear objective and then find the simplest way to do things. Try not to be complicate. Be simple and happiness will find the way to you.

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE THINKING OF APPLYING FOR A ROLE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT?

Ask yourself: do you possess strong passion for people and Home furnishing? That’s what we are all about at IKEA!

Muhammad Rizal Bin Sunalim Kitchen Team Leader,
IKEA Food Business

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IKEA AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?

Funnily enough, it was my brother who encouraged me to join IKEA way back in 2004. I joined as fryer at the bistro and yes, I had a hand in making those famous delicious curry puffs that IKEA is known for! Eventually I moved on from the bistro to the restaurant where I am attached to at present.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB FOR YOU?

There really is no typical day for me! It starts generally with me checking the schedule for the day and the manpower that I have for the day. I will then move on to inspect our ingredients and food packages, to ensure we have sufficient stock and that our food items are fresh and well within their expiry dates. Food safety is my topmost priority. Then I will check on the cleanliness of the restaurant before moving on to brief my team on our targets and goals for the day. I will join with my team to prepare for the store opening as we will have hungry customers waiting to start their morning with us! During peak hours I will be there with my team to serve our customers wherever I can pitch in to help – be it cooking, serving or washing dishes. I then spend the rest of my day on administrative work and ordering our supply for the next day.

WHAT ARE THE MOST INSPIRING RESPONSIBILITIES OR TASKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

There are no two days that are alike. It’s always about learning and being on the way. Every day brings its share of rewards and challenges, but ultimately my motivation is in seeing my team serving with a smile on their faces. When my co-workers are happy, I know this would ultimately be translated to happy customers.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE IKEA CULTURE AND VALUES?

I completely identify with Humbleness and Willpower. I love the fact that everyone is the same and gets treated the same, regardless what their designation says. We are like one big family.

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE THINKING OF APPLYING FOR A ROLE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT?

Be prepared to work hard and never stop learning. The spirit of togetherness and enthusiasm is alive in my store, the people are wonderful and I honestly love what I do. This is my first job and I believe that this will be my only job as I plan to stay and grow here as IKEA grows. That’s the great thing about working at IKEA – you are growing in one big happy family.

MAllan Chin Recovery Team Leader

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IKEA AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?

I started in IKEA Singapore as a Customer Service Officer in 1995. The early days early days were tough because I was handling follow-ups alone, dealing with customer complaints. But I took on the responsibilities and, three years later, I was appointed to lead the Recovery Section. I have been there since. Throughout this 20+ years, I have learned a lot about our products and our customers’ needs. It’s all about passion! Today, I’m still learning, sharing my experiences, and imparting skills to my team members. I have been invited to go to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to share my experiences and to train the other Recovery Teams for both stores there. And of course, creating a strong bond together with these other teams. The spark of my passion will still keep burning and will shine as far as it can, like my favourite, powerful flashlight (I’m a crazy flashlight collector!).

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB FOR YOU?

I lead a team called “Recovery.” We find ways to recycle or reuse products that have been damaged in our store displays or returned by customers. We save as much as possible for our business to prevent more loss. Sometimes we can repair a product or find ways to use parts. Sometimes we sell in our AS-IS Area.

WHAT ARE THE MOST INSPIRING RESPONSIBILITIES OR TASKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

To train, guide, and to inspire my fellow team members in running a smooth “day in, day out” operation.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE IKEA CULTURE AND VALUES?

Working with Togetherness and Enthusiasm. Passion!

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE THINKING OF APPLYING FOR A ROLE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT?

Have the ability to work together as a team, be physically fit and strong, be able to work more during peak periods, especially most weekends—we are a retail company! Be willing to learn and accept responsibilities.

Victoria Farnworth Learning and
Development Specialist

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IKEA AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?

I started in the UK Wembley store in 1998 as a shop keeper in showroom. I then worked in both Glasgow and Manchester stores in a variety of shopkeeper roles and moved on to become store sales manager. After 12 years in the stores I moved to the UK service office as specialist trainer, sales leader and sales developer. Outside of IKEA I did two years at night classes studying Training and HR to further my development in my IKEA career. My last year in the UK was fantastic and I was very comfortable working with an amazing team around me and leaders who believed in me. However, I wanted to experience working overseas. That’s why I decided to leave my job, family & friends and move to Asia. The last year in my new role has been a mixture of exciting, challenging and frustrating emotions and also a few amusing lost in translation moments!

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB FOR YOU?

Findings way to transfer knowledge to the team of co-workers around me. My aim is to contribute to building competence to create a sustainable future in southeast Asia.

WHAT ARE THE MOST INSPIRING RESPONSIBILITIES OR TASKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

I love the fact that IKEA southeast Asia has given me this opportunity to work here. It is an absolute privilege to meet co-workers in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. I am learning so much every day from those around me.

I wish I had been brave and worked overseas sooner rather than later in my IKEA career. A coach one day asked me in a challenging session what is stopping me moving and it was only me. IKEA will not put you in a box, they will give you the opportunity to work in other functions and move countries. But we need to take responsibility for our own development and find our own way. In IKEA we are good in seeing potential in others. I believe everyone has something great to offer and we need to spot the good and support the development of others.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE IKEA CULTURE AND VALUES?

Through working with the IKEA culture and values we can constantly be creating something good for our customers and co-workers. I am very curious about how people live in their homes, we have the chance to inspire our customers through our fantastic products and home furnishing solutions. We need to serve our customers in the best possible way, doing it right and never taking our customers for granted. We only get one chance, maybe two if we are lucky. Our customers can choose and if they choose IKEA as a brand then we are very lucky and need to take our responsibility seriously. For me it simple, if we always keep in mind the question of “what does it take to make our customers happy” and then we will not go far wrong.

Valerie Goh Visual Merchandiser

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IKEA AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?

I started off as a part-time sales co-worker eight years ago. I took a break for a year to try out working as a hair dresser, but realized quickly that IKEA was the place I really wanted to be. People around me have taught me a lot and when I decided that I wanted to move from sales to Communication & Interior Design, they gave me opportunities to develop. I love working in this team and have been involved in a few major projects and rebuilds.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB FOR YOU?

I am in charge of store layout and store theme planning. Both are challenging but important to secure so that our customers feel inspired every time they visit us. I focus my mornings on constantly improving the customer experience by making the ordinary extraordinary.

WHAT ARE THE MOST INSPIRING RESPONSIBILITIES OR TASKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

I was involved in our living room storage rebuild this year. We completed the project in record time and got fantastic customer feedback and sales. This was possible due to great teamwork and awesome colleagues.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE IKEA CULTURE AND VALUES?

I love challenging the existing way of doing things and constantly thinking of new solutions and ways to improve the everyday life. My friends and co-workers make it fun coming to work every day and there’s always new challenges to tackle and cool solutions to work with.

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE THINKING OF APPLYING FOR A ROLE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT?

Don’t worry about making mistakes, there are always experienced people around that happily will help and guide you through tough times.

Athirah Syazana Marketing Assistant (Digital)
IKEA Southeast Asia

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IKEA AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?

I started working in IKEA as a fresh graduate and it’s my first official job! I was majoring in Interactive media design back in school and was handling the IKEA website for the past 3 years and currently venturing more in depth into digital advertising and social media.

Now, on top of my everyday job, I will soon be graduating from University with a Degree in Visual communications with Business for constant progression and self-improvement.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB FR YOU

A typical day for me would be consistently striving to increase our brand presence and awareness through online digital advertising and also via social media platforms like Facebook and we’re now on Instagram too!

WHAT ARE THE MOST INSPIRING RESPONSIBILITIES OR TASKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

In my current role, I was once tasked to handle the digital advertising and social media campaign for the opening of IKEA Tebrau in 2017. That is probably the most inspiring task that I have done so far because I was open up to many possibilities in digital advertising that we can do and achieve and the power of social media. It was intense but it was worth every effort in the end when your plans come to life.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE IKEA CULTURE AND VALUES?

Definitely togetherness. It amazes me how each and every one of us carries different values with us and it makes IKEA a great place to work at. And food is definitely one way to get us bonding together.

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE THINKING OF APPLYING FOR A ROLE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT?

I’m pretty thankful that I started off my working journey at IKEA because its exceeded my expectations with the working culture here and how we all bonded and live by the values. It really proves to me that “hey, working life isn’t that bad after all!”