Angela – Store manager, China
Angela, a manager at the Shanghai store, was the very first Chinese national to be employed by IKEA back in November 1996. “At that time IKEA was very new to China and no one had heard of the business,” she says. “I was employed as group leader of the lighting department for the first store in Shanghai and was immediately sent to the UK for training.” Six months of training at the Thurrock store in the UK taught Angela about the various aspects of sales. She also experienced the IKEA culture first-hand.
Angela returned to Shanghai in 1997 and, by the time the store opened, she had already been promoted to head of the lighting department. “I felt I could do more,” she recalls, “and after three years I had been promoted to department head for eating & cooking and for home organisation.”
Although successful in this role, Angela welcomed her relocation to the Beijing service office in 2000. “The move offered me the opportunity to become the first sales leader in China. It was an interesting and rewarding time, I learnt a lot in those years, both from a personal and professional point of view.”
With a second new store opening in Shanghai, Angela moved back to her home city to become the showroom manager for the first full size store in China. Two years on, Angela is now the manager for this hugely successful store. She thrives on the freedom that IKEA gives and works hard to take opportunities as and when they arise. What skills are required for her current role? “One of the key factors is the ability to prioritise. Another vital quality is knowing how to manage people. You need to listen to their needs, frustrations, recognise their desires, strength and potential.”
Angela understands that a good working environment is one of the keys to success. “It is important to create an open atmosphere in the store so that people can work in a cooperative and trustful way. At IKEA we believe that a pleasant, positive working atmosphere improves productivity,” she adds.
In the past 9 years IKEA China has experienced year on year growth. In the last year alone store turnover in Shanghai has increased by 28%. Angela concludes, “I enjoy the constant stimulation of working for IKEA and am immensely proud to be a part of the team.”