In her leadership role at IKEA, Brody explains the progressive views of D&I at the Swedish company, the extensive metrics the organization has used to define D&I, and how to move forward with goals of improvement.

Why does IKEA think diversity and inclusion are important?

A: Diversity is in line with IKEA’s culture and values emphasizing togetherness, respecting others, and fostering team spirit. It is the foundation of our vision to be “for the many.” As mobility increases in the world and open international borders are the new reality, inclusion of diverse coworkers enables us to gain a competitive advantage, attract competent coworkers, increase coworkers’ contribution, and broaden our customer base.

How do you analyze diversity at IKEA?

A: We analyze our organization on primary and secondary dimensions; primary dimensions include gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, and physical ability, while secondary dimensions include work experience, education level, parental status, skills, sexual orientation, and other non-visible dimensions.

What are IKEA’s metrics for D&I?

A: We are looking for gender balance in management positions, coworkers of multinational descent, (mirroring the global IKEA), an even age distribution (focusing on young potentials and 50+), recognizing “other” abilities, and mirroring our markets in terms of ethnicity. In terms of secondary dimensions, we are looking for different work experiences from various organizations and parts of IKEA, different educational backgrounds, all parental statuses, a mixture of learning styles in each team, and a variety of functional specialties in work teams.

How do you analyze diversity at IKEA?

A: It starts with the strategic plan of the organization, the vision, the values, and the strategies it employs to build and grow its business. In terms of diversity, it’s making sure that the people who are impacted by the decisions are at the table, and those decisions are vetted so that you understand the impact of what you’re doing in the communities. It’s also about telling your story and working to build effective relationships with those communities where we operate—it’s the communities, public policy makers, customers, investors, and employees.

What are some ways you are creating inclusivity?

A: Our goal is to create an inclusive organization through formal as well as informal channels. This includes practices, policies, and systems which recognize the diversity of our coworkers and value their differences. It starts with an inclusive infrastructure that encourages coworkers to be themselves and apply their uniqueness at work. Coworkers can and should have different life styles. All segments of the population are represented in management positions. Jokes about gender, race, ethnicity, are not welcome, as are cliques. Awareness of different religious holidays and customs is important, as is flexibility and accommodating of different needs.