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Kim Swing from Ahlsell on vision and successful goal-strategies 🏆

Kim Swing from Ahlsell on vision and successful goal-strategies 🏆


Kim, could you share a bit about your background and your journey leading up to your role at Ahlsell?

I grew up in the southern part of Stockholm, deeply passionate about singing and dancing. After nearly a decade in the entertainment industry and earning a degree, I transitioned to HR. Now, as the Director of People and Culture at Ahlsell Sweden, I’ve been dedicated to sustainable business, working life, and profitable growth for the past 13 years.

Can you tell us more about Ahlsell and your role there? What motivated you to join the company?

Ahlsell is where people live, work, and lead their lives, offering a range of products and services. As the Director of People and Culture, I’m thrilled to be part of a dynamic organization with an annual turnover of approximately 50 billion SEK, 7500 employees, and over 300 stores. I joined Ahlsell seven years ago, attracted by the opportunity to contribute to strategic people and culture development, enhancing our position both towards customers and employees.

You seem very passionate about your work at Ahlsell. Can you describe the vision and mission of the company?

Our vision is to build a more sustainable society. We also have a customer promise – to make being a professional easier. My role is focused on influencing both our organization and society positively. The People and Culture department closely aligns with the business, supporting the vision while challenging and developing our strategies.

The vision seems to have a long-term perspective. How do you ensure it remains actionable and inspiring for employees?

A vision should inspire us toward something greater. Currently, within People and Culture, we’re focused on holistic well-being and an inclusive culture, aligning with our vision. Regular evaluations also ensure we’re on the right path, making adjustments as needed. It’s an ongoing process that’s integral to our business planning.

Let’s talk about goal-setting at Ahlsell. Can you walk us through the process the company follows?

We have a specific framework in our decentralized organization. It starts with management setting overall goals for the next year. Divisions and regions then propose plans, which are refined through calibration meetings. Our organization consistently sets higher goals than the benchmarks, emphasizing commitment and ownership. The process also involves templates in PowerPoint, fostering inclusion, involvement, and collaboration.

It’s impressive how Ahlsell involves various teams in goal-setting. How are these goals tracked and aligned throughout the organization?

We use tools like Power BI, CRM systems, but we also conduct regular meetings, including one-on-one dialogs, business reviews, and sales and marketing days. This also ensures constant communication and effective monitoring of goals, allowing us to adjust strategies as needed.

Given the scale and growth of Ahlsell, what are some strengths and areas for improvement in the goal-setting process?

Our business plan is a key to our profitable growth, building commitment and ownership. However, there’s a challenge in having too many activities during the year. We’re working on refining our approach to ensure manageable and impactful goals and activities.

With your impressive growth, how did Ahlsell do in 2023, a year many companies found challenging?

We had our strongest year yet. Despite challenging times, our commitment to being better every day has propelled us forward. We’re also anticipate a strong autumn this year, continuing our growth trajectory.

How does having clear goals impact individuals within a company?

Clarity around goals builds engagement, and engagement builds companies. When individuals understand where we’re heading and have the chance to set their own goals within an inclusive culture, it fosters commitment and contributes to the overall success of the organization.

Want to learn more about goal-setting? Check out our OKR-guide.

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