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Assembling an HCM global platform with Workday - Inter IKEA Group puts together an employee experience for today and tomorrow

Sarah Aryanpur Profile picture for user saryanpur April 2, 2024
Inter Ikea Group, the franchise arm of the Swedish retail giant, starts small, but thinks big.


Running a global franchise organization presents some specific challenges when it comes to hiring and retaining staff with the right skills. For  Inter IKEA Group, the franchise arm of IKEA, it meant choosing HCM tools that could be flexible and scalable enough to handle 420 stores in 62 global markets, as well as integrating with its product development and supply chains.

IKEA was founded in 1943, by Ingvar Kamprad in a small local community in Småland in southern Sweden. Today the organization is still based on many of the original principles, including ‘working together, finding better ways to do things, getting things done effectively, and leading by example’. Its mission is to ‘create a better everyday life for the many people’.

Inter IKEA Group has recently finished implementing the Workday HCM platform. Its objectives were to improve its employee experience, retain co-workers with the right skills, give employees the confidence that the company wants to invest in them, and build employee competence for the future.

As Inter IKEA is the franchise arm of IKEA, an important part of its goal was to nurture its culture across the employees in the global franchises. Amela Delic, Digital Transformation Manager, Inter IKEA says:

Inter IKEA Group thinks big, but starts small. It has been a Workday customer for more than five years, and has just finished implementing the Workday HCM, with the aim of improving and transforming its employee experience.

The organization began by looking at managing employee recruitment, changing jobs, termination, and advanced compensation, and has now expanded to use Workday HCM for Talent and Performance Management, and in some parts of the world it uses the time tracking and absences components as well. Delic explains: 

Although the business case was bigger from the beginning, we did not deploy everything from the start. There has also been a bit of business change management that happened during these five years. So it's growing, and performance and talent parts are being explored and are actually live in the production arena. More and more things are being delivered to our business.

We don't talk about 200 employees here because we are the franchisor.  But the good thing is that everyone in all of the companies is a part of the franchise-oriented care group, and is using Workday, so we are all on the same platform.

She adds:

As well as the franchisees, and Concept store in the Netherlands, we look after product development, a strategic manufacturer, and our industry factories, so we have the complete spectrum representing all kinds of organizations. When you have such a wide spectrum of different organization assignments, then it may be difficult to find one size fits all. But I think we've managed that quite well with what Workday has to offer.


The company believes using Workday HCM makes life simple for its users, as it is scalable but looks the same, even in a global environment. Delic notes: 

They can use it even if it's different modules, and we can easily add on. They experience it as a warm platform. Everything is nicely packaged together, and that's one of the reasons why we chose to go with Workday. We didn't have this separate module experience that you may have with some other product platforms.

Workday HCM is giving the company more flexibility and improved business processes to meet its objectives in its global environment. Delic explains: 

We introduced self-service from both a manager and co-workers perspective, so they are engaged in the business process, which they were not in the past. Now a manager can actively participate, for example, in the online process when it comes to hiring, to changing jobs, and when it comes to taking lead and ownership of the people and people data as well. Our HR partners can spend more time on up-skilling, and being a true partner to the manager and management team.

Managers were not so involved in business processes previously, according to Delic, and would be tracking what was going on, rather than being actively engaged as they are now: 

From a co-worker’s perspective, we are a values-based, people company, and people are now able to actually see the personal data, and performance evaluations. They can see the talent review, and be actively involved in the development and career paths with a visibility that was not there before.

There is also more transparency, which Delic says creates more trust: 

We take responsibility for the personal data. We do what we promise, and everything is actually transparent. We have our development talks in Workday, and co-workers are able to see who is actually having visibility on the different processes where they are involved with the data. The lead times are visible as well. So it's a trust that is being created. It’s not that it wasn’t there before, but now there is a different level of transparency and trust.


Inter IKEA is also using Workday HCM  to provide real-time insights into co-workers’ career development, and retain talents by identifying what future skills it needs, and the development paths to achieve those. According to Delic: 

We want to work with co-workers who want to take different development paths, and look at how we can enable them to do that. Our Talent Marketplace is one example, showing the different skills required for the different jobs we have. It's the co-worker’s self-driven possibility that Workday allows, and the platform will help the employee experience, so they can see for tomorrow to stay with us and upskill, and also where we need them today and tomorrow.

The organization is currently focussing a lot on the commonality and simplicity of its technology. For co-workers this means being able to recognize processes and experiences wherever they go in the Inter IKEA Group. Delic says:

It is a challenge to have so many companies on the same brand and in so many countries, and yet to make this common, and preferably simple from a technology perspective. We can do many things. We can do notification, to fancy dashboards, to more advanced business processes, but what is the value it brings to our people and to our business? So commonality and simplicity is an important focus, not just from talking about technology, but also from a process perspective, and in the end it does impact experience as well.

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