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“The differences give us a lot to talk about”

Date: 22/03/2019

Author: Laura Sulbæk, Communications & Sponsorship Consultant

Category: Careers & HR , Expansion , People

The new team in JYSK Ireland consists of many different nationalities. An internal Cross-culture JYSK Values and Leadership training was held in February, so the new colleagues could get to know JYSK and each other better before opening the first store on 2 April.

Even though the JYSK team in Ireland has just moved into their new head office in Dublin, posters with JYSK Values and JYSK Leadership have already found their way up on the walls.

Evan Walsh
Evan Walsh is one of the new Store Managers in JYSK Ireland. 

And these were some of the elements, when an internal ‘Cross Culture Workshop’ was held at the office for the new team in Ireland on 26 and 27 February. 

The purpose of the workshop was to introduce new JYSK colleagues to the values, leadership and culture in JYSK, and especially to each other’s different backgrounds and cultures. Here the team in Ireland stands out from other countries with more than five different nationalities.

"I think is was a really great workshop. The two days were very enjoyable with room for a lot of laughter and fun. That made learning easy" 
- Evan Walsh | Store Manager, JYSK in Ireland.

 "I think it was a really good workshop. The two days were very enjoyable with room for a lot of laughter and fun. That made learning easy,” says Evan Walsh, who is one of the new Store Managers in JYSK Ireland and continues:

“Among other things, I learned that people react differently according to their culture and personal background. I also got a lot of insight in how people make decisions based on the values of their culture,” he says. 

Together with Sales and Marketing Manager, Jenny Johnston, Evan is the only Irish representative on the new JYSK team, which also consists of colleagues from Serbia, Finland, Denmark and Russia.

“The differences give us a lot to talk about. We do not just have one perspective on things, but many totally different perspectives and I think that will bring a lot of good and interesting conversations. In JYSK Ireland there is no need for everyone to be Irish, as I see it,” says Evan Walsh.

Meant to give better teamwork

Executive Vice President in JYSK, Retail and HR, Mikael Nielsen and Jan Verhoek, respectively, travelled to Ireland to hold the workshop together with Regional HR Manager, Kateryna Babenko.

JYSK in Ireland

  • The first store opens on 2 April in the town of Naas
  • It takes place on the day where JYSK celebrates its 40th anniversary
  • A number of 15 new stores are planned to open in Ireland with a prospect of 200 new jobs.

“Through discussions and exercises we created a common understanding of each word in our JYSK Values and Leadership. For example our ‘right and duty to speak up’. That is very much built on Danish culture. In some cultures, it is not a habit to speak up to your manager,” says Kateryna Babenko, Regional HR Manager in JYSK.  

According to Kateryna Babenko, the many different nationalities among the colleagues gave a very open discussion about cultural differences at the training, where the attendees figured out, how to benefit from each other’s differences.

“It will help them understand and relate to one another. It will make the teamwork much better and easier both on the long and short term. Next step for the colleagues in Ireland is to pass the values and leadership on to new employees,” says Kateryna Babenko. 

JYSK and Irish culture is a great match

One of the many open discussions at the Cross-culture and Leadership training in Ireland.

The new Irish Store Manager, Evan Walsh, was not only wiser on the differences among the colleagues after the training, but also discovered some of the cultural similarities. 

“It surprised me a bit how the Irish culture and Danish culture are a lot alike on a lot of points. For example when it comes to leadership,” says Evan.

Therefore, he is certain, that JYSK will be a success in his home country.

“I think JYSK in Ireland will have an atmosphere that most Irish people will feel like they know, and feel at home when they visit our stores or come work for us. There is room for jokes and having a laugh, and I think the Irish culture fits very well with the values in JYSK,” says Evan.

Evan Walsh

  • 24 years old
  • Lives in town called Ballivor in county Meath. Not fare from the town Navan, where he is set to be Store Manager.
  • Has four years of retail experience from a super market named Super Value and the Children’s Toy Store named Smith Toys.
  • How do you look forward to opening?
    I cannot wait to welcome the first customers to JYSK. It is just a bit frustrating that it is not my own store, we will open first. But this gives me a chance to learn more and be better prepared, when we open the store in Navan.”


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