The IKEA Company specializes in home and office furniture. It offers customers practical, well-designed furniture solutions for all their needs. At the same time, it extends the services to storage, handling, and moving its products to make it easier for customers to get value for money and convenience when handling and using IKEA products.
The company’s story dates back to its days of just a start-up furniture shop. In the following paragraphs, this paper describes the process of developing the company history and story further to achieve its corporate objectives. The scenario presented is that of IKEA in the United Arab Emirates.
Some issues highlight the process of ensuring that everyone in the company contributes to its success by adopting appropriate behavior and being able to see problems from the perspective of IKEA.
To achieve these objectives, there are certain practices that the company does. For instance, there is the grading of employees using colored belts to signify position and status in the company. This facilitates easy recognition, in addition to working well as a conversation starter. Moreover, it is a company tradition that helps increase employee identification with the IKEA corporate brand.
There will be a shift in the leadership style to rely on delegation. As such, teams working in the rotation will mostly handle supervisory roles at shop floors. This will create a healthy competition between retail stores of the company. At the same time, there will be the appointment of individual managers of the teams on a rotational basis. The overall effect of people leadership at the company will change and become easier, given that every employee will have a chance to interact with a leader and be able to influence decisions.
At the same time, having employees on board when there are critical decisions made by the enterprise should happen faster. In fact, the temporary leadership roles of individual members and teams provide an alternative channel for employee representation and voice. Thus, the company will benefit from having different options to use to reach and convince its employees at various levels of the organization.
The company will be taking the approach of team leadership that is rotated so that it captures different strengths from all the employees. This will be a learning opportunity for the organization. It will also serve as a source of tacit knowledge. Team leaders and teams in charge of specific projects and operations will be providing a consistent feedback on organizational cohesion.
This feedback will then help to refine the process and allow all the employees to recommend specific staff members to particular roles within the company. Consequently, there will be a continuous display of leadership and management behavior within the organization. The attributes expected in employees’ conduct include manageability of resources, planning and directing, and being visionary.
An organic organizational model will be instrumental in facilitating smooth recruitment and training of new workers into the company culture and traditions. The model encourages the free flow of information. It has cross-functional teams and cross-hierarchical teams. It also offers vast spans of control; remain decentralized throughout the organization and only has the essential forms of formalization.
Ritual or Ceremony
There will be a team building exercise annually to make sure that every member of the company accepts a standard tradition and behaves according to the expected culture of the company. The exercise will be done outside the company and in phases to allow normal operations of the business to continue uninterrupted. The task will involve physical strength training, teamwork in problem solving, and personal relationship building tests.
Its aim will be to understand individual personality traits of employees, provide an alternative way to know each other, and offer challenges that highlight the weaknesses and strengths of employees. The exercise will also include a formal training session that lasts five business days.
The session will inform current and new employees of the company’s values, the history of the company, past challenges, and the solutions to the problems. Attendees of the training will also take part in mental simulation exercises to realize their potential in articulating IKEA’s values to their colleagues and customers.
At the end of the training, there will be a selection process for the rookie of the week. The rookie of the week will be a ritual that compels one employee, whether experienced or a new member of IKEA, to behave like an apprentice and go through all the processes of the business. The rookie will be attached to different people within the organization at different times during his or her rookie week.
The ritual will ensure that over time, everyone at the organization remains humble enough to appreciate the role of departments, colleagues, work processes, and personal differences existing at IKEA. The rookie will also learn about company values by observation, questioning, and reading. The program will ensure that everyone goes through it at one time in a typical year; therefore, it will act as an excellent method of inoculating company values into the organization’s members.
It will also increase the opportunities to work on individual strength and weaknesses in personality so that members of IKEA will learn to co-exist and work together, irrespective of their individual differences. A welcoming environment that is an excellent place to work for is one of the organizational purposes of the company.
The rookie ritual ensures that employees get role models, who are the other staff members assigned to take them through the processes of the business. Employees just joining the company will learn about the rookie week during their formal training on the job. They will also participate in the annual team building exercises.
Moreover, they will be part of the rotational team leadership and informal team supervision roles at different IKEA outlets. All these arrangements are opportunities for being inoculated into the IKEA culture of being resilient, industrious, and practical when approaching client needs, challenges, and fellow employee demands.
The language used at IKEA should affect both the behavior and psychology of the employees. One significant element of the language will involve describing situations in a way that a non-member of the organization should understand. There will be no use of estimates. The accuracy of facts during communication will be promoted as part of the language.
Employees will be speaking or writing descriptions of their jobs and specific tasks by first highlighting the relevance of the task to the company, based on their opinion, and then mentioning the task or challenge and giving details of what they want to be done, irrespective of how trivial it is. The IKEA language is one that includes facts, has a three-part structure of relevance to the organization, a statement of the issue, and proposed intervention by the person or department addressed.
Another important highlight of the language is that it does not provide room for name-calling. Employees have to address the title of the recipients of their communication. They also have to highlight and refer to the problem, issue, or solution throughout the communication. For example, a supervisor cannot say that a particular employee is behaving badly, or a team is failing to perform as expected. Instead, the supervisor in question will highlight the inadequate performance and indicate that it is detrimental to the success of the company.
He or she will also mention that the intended beneficiaries of the communication in teams that perform badly currently and in the future. The supervisor will then offer an opinion on the solutions that can assist teams and other supervisors in dealing with the problem. This language form focuses on the restitution of group and individual victims of processes, values, and conditioning that negatively influence their job performance and corporate culture participation.
Besides the particular forms of the company language, all communication will happen in English. An English translation in verbal or written forms will be availed whenever there is the use of Arabic.
Varying levels of fluency in English will continue to affect the effectiveness of meetings and may discourage some employees from contributing to the organization. However, a combination of written communication and the use of the communication elements described above to ensure clarity of messages will help resolve the English competency problems within the organization.
Process of Socialization of New People into the Organization
Telling the IKEA story about how the company began and spread throughout the world will be a fundamental way of socializing new people into the business. The recruits will go through a formal training process. Besides that, they will be interacting with the media, leaders, and management staff, who reinforce the IKEA story through conversations, and presentations.
Managers will be expected to frame their communication according to the IKEA way. Additionally, they should always explain why a process, idea, solution, or issue should be referred in the context of the IKEA way. The process will include the mention of the company’s history and some of its key highlights that correspond to the nature of the issue at hand.
The arrangement of employee duties and working in teams will also be avenues that contribute to the socialization of new people into IKEA. Common eating and commuting options presented by sharing cafeterias and company buses, respectively, should provide the appropriate avenue for socialization. IKEA recognizes that employees require time off their duties to relax or think about other aspects of their lives.
The resting, eating, and commuting time is a good one for informal conversations. The informal setting will provide a healthy environment for going over the highlights of the day and the context of issues in the organization because the employees will be interacting with formal systems, such as signage, reports, and code of conduct seeking to influence their behaviors. IKEA will also be relying on branded clothing for the employees to identify them with the company.
The scenario presented here was based on IKEA’s operations in the UAE. The highlights are methods used to increase the identification and acceptance of organization culture. Rookie rituals, symbolic gestures on job positions, rotational team leadership, and the use of cross-hierarchical teams are the most recognized ways of building the company culture.
Meanwhile, a structured company language that eliminates the direct mention of people to blame and the use of free time to improve socialization are other methods that the scenario presented here includes in its description.