Gold Stevie Award Winner 2017, Click to Enter The 2018 Asia Pacific Stevie Awards

Name of Organization / Company: MSLGROUP China, Shanghai, China

Category: Award for the Innovative Use of Technology in Human Resources > All Other Industries

Entry Title: Find Your Extraordinary: IKEA galvanizes its Chinese workforce for Talent Focus Week



IKEA is accelerating its presence across China, aiming to open 34 stores by 2020 and add 2,000 new employees each year. Recruitment isn’t an issue: being nice is more important than qualifications or specific experience. However, IKEA risked being classified as a typical corporation with its conservative approach to staffing. Furthermore, low participation in employee programs threatened to dampen morale and diminish the company’s image.


• Inform and engage Chinese coworkers about IKEA’s approach to talent development
• Increase participation in employee programs
• Enhance IKEA’s image as a top employer


IKEA’s 12,000 Chinese coworkers are mostly young, college-educated, and lead active lives. They enjoy life, love sharing ideas and new experiences, and are keen self-promoters.

Digitally-savvy, they are social media addicts who use mobile devices to access news and stay connected. They also share an overwhelming love for the brand’s home furnishing style, life attitude, and development.

IKEA planned Talent Focus Week globally, a weeklong event where simultaneous activities are held to inform and engage coworkers about learning and growth opportunities. This was an opportunity to excite and engage IKEA’s Chinese coworkers.

So we designed a communications platform for everyone to “find your extraordinary in IKEA.” A call to action, individuals are stimulated to discover and unlock their potential at IKEA. In this way, we engaged our Chinese coworkers and renewed their sense of purpose and belonging. To enliven the platform we uncovered personal growth stories and produced emotive multimedia for social media and digital platforms. We articulated three career paths within IKEA, developed attractive content for multiple touchpoints, and expanded our messages through media relations. Breaking from past practice, we immersed the campaign in digital and multimedia. Drawing on our audience’s penchant for mobile gaming, we created an H5 WeChat game to engage audiences and generate content for use throughout Talent Focus Week.


A. Creating anticipation via H5 Relay

1. H5 WeChat game where individuals upload personal growth stories and tag 2 colleagues to submit own stories; each colleague tags 2 more and so on
2. Coworkers post to their own Moments pages and friends’ circles, encouraging ‘likes’ and ‘sharing’
3. QR-code for posters, desktop wallpapers, and email to raise visibility and encourage participation
4. Coworkers vote for their favorite stories; extended voting on external accounts

B. Emotive multimedia illustrating talent diversity and growth potential

1. Articulate three career paths at IKEA: 1) Management track, 2) Lateral movement, 3) Seniority track
2. Produce video montage of coworkers applying special talents to their work environments titled, “Things you don’t know about a day in IKEA”
3. Creative infographic of career development across four generations – 60s/70s/80s/90s.
4. Photo wall of colleagues sharing reflections about IKEA

C. IKEA Open House

1. 2-day event to launch Talent Focus Week attended by 200+ coworkers, externals and media
2. Executives from LinkedIn China and entrepreneurs from AWU Studio and HomEat APP deliver inspirational, TED-style talks
3. Introduce Choice Game, an on-line tool to experience leadership-related training
4. Invite 42 media from 5 cities to join launch and conduct in-depth interviews


The campaign surpassed all expectations:
• On Day 1 of campaign: 1000+ stories submitted, 17,275 visitors to H5 page, nearly one-quarter of coworkers shared stories during the two-week relay
• Nearly 70% viewed all H5 pages, more than doubling the average bounce rate
• 236,425 views on IKEA’s official WeChat account; 196,400 ‘likes’
• Over three-quarters of coworkers downloaded QR-code to vote, another 17,074 people voted via WeChat
• 177,000 views of video in 6 days, most viewed video on
• 520,032 social media impressions
• 44 media clippings valued at RMB1,143,206