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Health insurance for all employees logging more than 20 hours a week, career coaching to help co-workers meet their goals, and move-up opportunities at international home furnishings retailer Ikea U.S. are some reasons the company might have been recognized by employees as one of this year’s 100 Best Companies to Work for in Fortune Magazine.
Ikea ranked 63rd overall and 7th among retailers.
“It says a lot about our culture and values,” said Anna Carroll, manager of the West Chester Twp. store, who herself started working at the Swedish retailer in sales before moving up the ranks.
Key values for working at the blue and yellow labeled store include humbleness, willpower, simplicity, togetherness and enthusiasm, which affects how employees work together, Carroll said.
Ikea opened a store in West Chester Twp. in 2008, where it now employs about 280 people, according to the manager.
This year, the local Ikea raised its minimum living wage. Beginning Jan. 1, new hires earn a minimum $10 an hour. Existing workers have various pay grades depending on their position with the store and are eligible for an annual merit increase based on performance, Carroll said.
Ikea joined mass retailer Walmart by making the move to minimum pay of $10 an hour this year.
“It’s important to Ikea because we see every coworker as a talent. Every co-worker has something to bring to give to the company and to make us better,” she said. “We definitely see investing in our co-workers as helping us grow, and also helping our customers.”
Related to these and other efforts, about 89 percent of promotions at Ikea stores are from within. The Swedish-based retail chain now has about 40 locations across the U.S., with new stores planned to open in Columbus and Indianapolis.
Also, the company claims an employee turnover rate of 28 percent, which is below industry averages, according to Ikea.
Sylvia Sanchez now lives in Middletown, but she moved to West Chester Twp. a year before the destination store opened in Butler County with hopes of landing a job at the furniture and home goods retailer. In December, she started a new position as kitchen installation services specialist helping contractors and customers with parts and service after they purchase kitchen items. Sanchez and other employees can also take advantage of a 15 percent store discount.
“Since I started here I have loved it so much I knew I was going to stay, it was going to be my career,” Sanchez said. “From the beginning I have felt so respected by everyone that I work with.”
“My goal really in the end is to work in another country with Ikea,” Sanchez said.
Al Wooffitt of West Chester Twp. started working at Ikea in the restaurant in 2012 because he need a job, but stayed once he landed there because he liked the company and the variety of job opportunities. Wooffitt became an inventory specialist in October, helping maintain the stock of goods on the shelves.
After recently getting a new dog, he plans to take advantage of a new Ikea benefit: pet insurance for health care costs.
“I enjoyed myself here, I saw opportunities, so I ended up staying,” Wooffitt said. “There’s many options here for a career. The other thing I really like is the benefits.”
The West Chester store is also hiring with about 20 full- and part-time openings in various departments but there also are ongoing hiring needs, said store manager Anna Carroll. Job seekers can apply online at seeacareerwithus.com/ and/or stop by the store in-person for open interviews anytime during store hours. Additionally, from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 7, Ikea is hosting a “Meet and Greet” hiring event at all locations including West Chester for job applicants to meet with managers and employees with the opportunity to be invited back for a formal job interview. Find the event in the store’s restaurant.
For more information, call the store at 888-888-4532.
“What we’re really looking for is people who are inspired by our culture or our values,” Carroll said.