IKEA Prez: Family Before Work

Discussion
Mar 25, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A stress attack she feared was a heart attack several years back served as a wakeup notice for Pernille Spiers-Lopez, president of IKEA North America. It was time to find some
balance between work and her personal life.

Since then, Ms. Spiers-Lopez told an audience at a Wharton Leadership Lecture, priority number one is her family. “It’s so important for me to keep that in the forefront
of everything I do,” she said.

It was also something she expected of her co-workers, which is why IKEA developed a family-friendly employee benefits package that includes flexible work schedules and full medical
and dental coverage for employees working 20 or more hours per week.

“Leadership is about me. It’s about what I stand for and my values,” she said. To be happy, workers need to go to work for a company that shares their values.

Ms. Spiers-Lopez says the company’s family first attitude and benefits package has helped the company reduce its employee turnover rate from 76 percent in 2001 to 56 percent
today.

Moderator’s Comment: Is IKEA a stronger organization and more formidable competitor because of Pernille Spiers-Lopez’s
attitude about balancing work and personal life?

According to the article on the Knowledge @ Wharton Web site, “Working Mother magazine named IKEA North America one of the 100 best companies for
working mothers and singled out Spiers-Lopez for its Family Champion Award.”
George
Anderson – Moderator

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