When less is so much more

We asked Aziza Nathan from Inter IKEA to share her thoughts on a game-changing mobility solution that first started in 2018 and continues today.

Global standards

With employees regularly relocating – not just to other countries, but also across continents – every multinational mobility team aspires to deliver consistency. When considering how to address this challenge, Inter IKEA – never afraid to think out of the box – devised what could be called a ‘bespoke solution’ in 2018 with a long-term collaborator, Harmony Relocation Services.

Core values

“When an employee and their partner / family arrive in a new country, of course, we want them to have the support they need and land in a good way. In 2018, we were searching for a mobility solution that not only delivers consistency but also chimes with IKEA’s core values,” says Aziza Nathan, who served as Inter IKEA’s International Mobility Specialist from 2016 to 2021. “Simplicity and functionality are key for us at Inter IKEA but our international mobility strategy must also be compassionate, humanistic and sustainable.”

Spider in the web

As Inter IKEA and Harmony were already cooperating, and Inter IKEA already had pre-existing relationships with various vendors, all of the pieces were in play. The question was how to weave it all together. “We essentially built on a system that we had in place,” says Aziza. “Harmony understood that we have established relationships with vendors for tax, international insurance, schools, partner support, and so on. Each of these vendors share our values and understand our culture. We have a great deal of trust in their expertise. We don’t want to micromanage vendors. Nor should we have to. So we came to the conclusion that what we needed was a ‘spider in the web’.”

Employees first

Subsequently, Harmony developed an expanded version of the software they were using with Inter IKEA to accommodate more vendors. Each vendor has their field of expertise and no other party is involved in their interactions with a client. Harmony initiates an order and, after that, everyone gets to work. Solid procedures are the foundation, however, Aziza stresses that the main focus is on the human aspect and employee satisfaction.

The backbone

To run the program alongside Aziza and her colleagues, two Harmony employees were placed in Inter IKEA’s mobility team: “They were the backbone of this. It was something new for all of us, so we wanted to be face to face and we walked the line together, testing and tweaking the system,” says Aziza, who moved on to another position within Inter IKEA on May 1, 2021, but she believes she has left her successor with a solid foundation. As one of the vendors working within this system, Global Connection can only attest to its merits. It saves time and enables us to focus all our energies on partner support. Less is so much more.

Photo: Aziza Nathan

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