“We see it as an investment in our co-workers, which we view as our most important resource”
Ikea, the world’s favorite Swedish furniture company, has also become every parent’s dream company to work for.
The do-it-yourself furniture giant says it will expand its paid parental leave benefits program up to four months total for all of its U.S. hourly and salaried workers. This includes both male and female employees who become birth parents, adoptive parents, or foster parents, according to USA Today. Efforts like these are becoming more widespread as retaining top talent becomes a more serious consideration among large organizations.
The benefits go into effect on January 1 and signal a moment where it has become a far more decent place to work. This illuminates a bit about how Ikea sees itself and a bit about the market as a whole. Large employers are losing talent to smaller, more nimble companies, as the younger employees are more comfortable with shifting around during their career. Not only that, but Inc.com says top talent now sees themselves as “businesses of one,” looking at employment as “partnerships” rather than as traditional employees.
Ikea and other large retailers are doing their best to stave off that sort of thinking, especially in an economy that seems to be getting better for that particular worker. Lars Peterson, president of Ikea’s U.S. operations says, “We see it as an investment in our co-workers, which we view as our most important resource.”
Netflix became the shimmering company on a hill for parents when they announced unlimited parental leave for their salaried employees. But other’s have followed suit. Hilton Hotels, Adobe Systems, and Chobani have expanded their parental leave policies in the hopes of building loyalty with their employees.
Of course, the United States is one of the few developed nations in the world that doesn’t have some kind of national parental leave law in place. This means many things to people in the workforce, as expensive childcare and the juggling act of working soon after giving birth begins.
This kind of policy is part of the solution, and other companies may want to lean in to. Still, according to the Department of Labor, only 12 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid family leave through their employer.
Even with the policy change Ikea is making in the United States, it may just make more sense to be their employee in Sweden. Those folks get 480 days—well over a year—of paid parental leave.