In a first-of-its-kind initiative in any country that it operates in, Swedish furniture giant Ikea will open crèches at all its 25 stores in India to make it easier for female employees to cope with no-so flexible job timings. The company plans to hire around 7,500 women employees at its stores in India by 2025.
“The idea is to hire 50% of women staffers, about 7,500, by 2025. Considering the social set-up here, it is necessary to open day-care centres for kids and babies in India. We will be doing this for the very first time, in any country, specifically in a bid to attract women talent,” Anna-Carin Månsson, country HR manager, IKEA, told HT.
According to internal studies conducted in several countries by Ikea, it is the woman who has the final say in buying the furniture or choosing the colour of the cushion cover. “Our top management team, which leads Ikea’s retail operations in India, has six women members, out of a 12-member team. It reflects the importance of women at Ikea in taking strategic decisions.”
While the company has no plans to introduce flexi-work hours (as it does not go with the store sale business model), Ikea is also studying human resource policies of other companies operating in India to design its own set of policies for women workers. “In our India-based learning, we are working on policies related to women who came back from maternity leave and sabbaticals. Also, we are drafting policies on women safety. Here the requirements are different and we need policies to address those areas,” Månsson said.
Ikea has play centres at some of its stores in Europe and Japan, where customers can drop off their kids while shopping.
The company has already started hiring female employees for its Hyderabad and Mumbai stores, and hiring in Bengaluru is set to take off soon. It plans to invest R10,500 crore to open 25 stores in nine Indian cities by 2025, and hire around 15,000 people.
“Each store would employ 500 to 600 co-workers and indirectly provide job opportunities for 1,500 people,” Månsson said.
The company currently employs around 120 people at its Gurgaon office.