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Julienne – HR systems specialist, United Kingdom
Former classical ballet dancer, Julienne had no plans to sit in an office all day. Now, having danced through the ranks of human resource systems at IKEA, Julienne couldn’t be happier. “After moving to London from my home country (Australia) and temping for a while, I started working with IKEA as a receptionist, replacing someone who was on maternity leave,” she explains. “Six months later, my replacement returned and I was given the option to stay on.”

Julienne worked for a short period in Edinburgh where she created, among other things, a recruitment data-base for the new store. She then returned to London to work in the service office for human resources. “The human resource manager asked for a new integrated HR and payroll data-base to support the whole of the UK. So I spent a year researching this and then selected two systems, one for employee time and attendance and one for employee HR, payroll and training data.”

As an HR systems specialist, the sheer size of IKEA means that Julienne is used to a busy schedule. “We spent the next year implementing the database for 6,000 employees and now I maintain the systems and provide all the statistics at a national level.”

As the lynchpin between systems and HR, Julienne has to draw on a diverse range of skills at any one time. “To do this job you have to be good at figures, computers and learn new things all the time. I have a medium to good level of Microsoft Access skills and a very detailed understanding of the data-base structures. I use this system knowledge to give HR exactly what they need, when they need it.”

Besides the job itself, Julienne enjoys the open culture and lack of hierarchy found at IKEA and feels it has opened up many doors for her. “IKEA has turned me into what I am. I have been given the freedom to learn and the opportunity to develop skills that I would not otherwise have had.”

So, what’s next for Julienne? “I would like to stay in the UK and support the stores in an even better way by reaching the next level of understanding systems.”
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