Ikea has been offering jobs to refugees for some time now, and now the Swedish chain wants to use that experience to help other companies as well with a real manual.
Employing 2,500 refugees
Ikea has released a new manual: not one for assembling a Billy bookcase this time, but guidelines to assist other companies to employ refugees. Maybe this way, World Refugee Day offers an idea to retailers that just seem unable to find enough staff?
Ikea’s Jesper Brodin said at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the human tragedy in Ukraine has drawn attention to a global refugee crisis that has been going on for years. “Our ambition is to be at the forefront of action, and we know that refugees bring a wide range of skills, experience and perspectives that benefit societies and businesses. Helping people find work is not just a humanitarian effort. It is good for business”, the INGKA Group CEO explained in a press release.
The insights come from three years of concrete practical experience with the “Work & Grow Together” training project. As part of this, the furniture retailer offers supervised, paid internships that give refugees the opportunity to build up work experience. Worldwide, Ikea employs over 2,500 refugees in more than 300 stores. In Belgium, 52 refugees have already successfully completed their training programme.
Human Resources & People Congress
Ikea has released an international toolkit of seven steps, but it has released a manual specifically for the Belgian market as well. Some of the tips:
Lay down the criteria for the selection procedure and internship conditions in advance, specifically tailored to the company. Ikea Belgium, for example, requires a minimum knowledge of Dutch or French in order to guarantee safety, and opts for a 25-hour work placement week divided into 5 hours per day, so that participants have enough time left over for other commitments.
As a first prudent step, roll out a small-scale pilot project, with a limited number of participants per site.
Enlist the expertise of experienced, locally based partners. They can assist a company with the legal framework and the recruitment of candidates, as well as with valuable guidance during the process itself on intercultural communication or CV writing.
Ikea will also organise a number of information sessions and lectures, to support and inspire Belgian companies in practice as well. For instance, the retailer is organising two sessions together with trade federation Comeos, and Ikea will share its experiences with HR executives during RetailDetail’s Human Resources & People Congress on 13 October.