Ikea embarks on companywide AI literacy initiative

Ikea Retail has set a goal of providing AI literacy training to 3,000 workers and 500 leaders across the organization, according to an April 12 announcement from Ingka Group, the Ikea retailer that represents about 90% of Ikea retail sales.

The initiative offers tailored training based on workers’ roles and levels in the company. For instance, all workers can learn AI fundamentals, while other targeted courses focus on topics such as responsible AI, mastering GenAI, and algorithmic training for ethics. In addition, leaders can participate in programs such as AI Exploration Days to align AI potential with Ikea business priorities.

“We are providing a blended experience for learning, and doing it in a way that future-proofs our workforce to ensure we remain at the forefront of innovation,” Francesco Marzoni, global data and analytics officer for Ikea Retail at Ingka Group, said in a statement.

Ikea is working with various AI tools developed by the organization or in collaboration with suppliers, according to the announcement. The Hej Copilot, for instance, was launched recently with Microsoft as a GenAI tool to help workers with numerous tasks, including image creation, idea generation and presentation design.

Amid this time of rapid technological change, Ikea emphasized that the “future of AI is human at the core,” noting the importance of its digital ethics policy and a commitment to put workers “at the forefront of all technological adoption.” The AI literacy training programs, for instance, are intended to not only prepare workers but also empower them to lead in a new age of AI, according to the announcement.

In early April, a Cisco-led consortium with major tech companies — such as Google, Intel, IBM, Microsoft and SAP — announced an initiative to train 100 million technology workers during the next 10 years to prepare for AI disruption across the workforce. The group will evaluate AI’s impact across information and communication technology jobs, identify skills development pathways and release a report with practical insights and training recommendations for employers.

Although AI training recommendations may vary by company and job role, employers should keep the employee in mind when considering the best upskilling or reskilling options, stakeholders previously told HR Dive. Most of all, leaders should communicate what the future looks like at the company, address any fears and ensure employees receive the skills they need, the experts said.

At the same time, leaders have said it’s never been harder to plan for future talent requirements and they can’t train workers quickly enough to keep up with AI and tech developments, according to a report by the World Employment Confederation. Most senior executives said they’ll need a more flexible workforce, which they’re building through sectoral talent pools, skills-based hiring, online talent platforms, contingent workers, internal flexibility and talent from other countries.