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Highlights—March 15, 2014

  • CNN/Money:

    IBM's double dilemma. Two years into Ginni Rometty's tenure as CEO, the company faces a double dilemma: Revenue is shrinking while the company is having trouble hitting its ambitious EPS targets. By Kevin Kelleher. Excerpts: For years, IBM was that rare tech giant: beloved by investors despite sluggish revenue growth. That was because the company was as determined as it was clever about ratcheting up its earnings-per-share figure. But two years into Ginni Rometty's tenure as CEO, the company faces a double dilemma: Revenue is shrinking while the company is having trouble hitting its ambitious EPS targets.

    IBM's stock is down 13% over the past year, while the S&P 500 (SPX) is up 19% in the same period. Over the previous four years, IBM had been outperforming the S&P 500, rising 126% to the benchmark index's 97%.

    IBM made a pledge to investors in the guise of a roadmap: generate $20 in earnings per share by 2015. It's an impressive goal, especially when you consider that the company's EPS in 2002 was only $1.81 a share. IBM has set out similar goals -- an earlier roadmap vowed $10 EPS by 2010 and reached that figure a year early.

    But this time some are wondering how the company will get there. Including IBM. In the company's annual report released this week, Rometty wrote in a letter to shareholders that "our performance did not meet our expectations" as revenue and operating income both declined in 2013. Yet IBM is determined to reach that $20 EPS goal in any way it can. ...

    Given all these moving pieces, it would be understandable if IBM didn't meet its $20 EPS target by 2015. One of the more powerful levers it has is buybacks, which have reduced its shares outstanding to 1 billion from 2.3 billion over the past 20 years. The $15 billion the company added to its buyback arsenal late last year will surely help prop up the earnings-per-share figure by shrinking the denominator.

    Increasingly, some are suggesting that it's the numerator in the EPS figure that needs attention, especially as long as revenue is declining. The company has $11 billion in cash on hand that could be better directed at shrewd purchases of small but promising big data, cloud, and AI companies. One prominent short-seller is suggesting IBM's heavy buybacks could be a sign of weakness.

    Layoffs, buybacks, and selling off weak divisions are necessary moves for a company trying to stay ahead in a competitive arena like enterprise IT. But they only take you so far. If you're in tech and investors aren't seeing growth, they'll take it out of the stock price. As important as EPS is to investors, it's not as important as the simple price that the market is paying for a stock.

  • The Street:

    This Big IBM Bet Doesn't Deserve a Pass. By Richard Saintvilus. Excerpts: Despite persistent revenue declines over the past couple of years, the Street has always had a love-affair with IBM. Even though management has wasted well over $16 billion in acquisitions the past couple of year in search of growth, none has been found.

    Although IBM produces strong cash flow and above-average return on equity, the stock has lost roughly 20% of its value in the past nine months. Investors have demanded better. Recently, CEO Ginni Rometty insisted that the company is not exiting hardware. Yet this affirmation comes on the heels of IBM's decision to sell the x86 computer server business to Lenovo.

    Sure, IBM did well in the deal, which secured $2.3 billion. I will credit Rometty for successfully monetizing a business the company no longer cared to pursue. But cash has never been the issue for this company. The problem has been growth. And the server business was a strong profit producer.

    The Street has applauded the decision. But that's only because it comes with 25% reduction in IBM's workforce, most of which will be shed from the company's hardware division. When has that ever been good news? The company called it "rebalancing its workforce" so that it can better focus on its new priorities including analytics, cloud and cognitive computing. ...

    For now, the company believes it is adding profits by subtracting assets from the workforce and server business. But how much growth will $2.2 billion buy? Management hasn't said. It seems Watson didn't do the math.

  • Albany Times-Union:

    IBM deal signed last June; job totals included contractors. By Larry Rulison. Excerpts: IBM’s agreement with the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany that Gov. Cuomo announced last month as IBM was about to undergo another round of layoffs was signed by the parties back in June of 2013.

    The agreement allowed Cuomo to take credit for saving 3,100 IBM jobs in the state, including 750 semiconductor jobs from Yorktown Heights to Albany not covered by a previous deal.

    The announcement came the same week that IBM was expected to make hundreds of job cuts in the Hudson Valley. As it turns out, the deal appears to have saved New York high-tech jobs as IBM spared the region while laying off thousands of workers in other states. ...

    A copy of the June 2013 agreement says, however, that the 750 semiconductor jobs do not have to be IBM jobs, but can be those of “partners or contractors,” which also raises questions whether or not the administration overplayed the importance of the agreement to the future of IBM jobs in New York.

  • Bloomberg:

    IBM’s Rometty Says Company Didn’t Meet Expectations in 2013. By Alex Barinka. Excerpts: “We must acknowledge that while 2013 was an important year of transformation, our performance did not meet our expectations,” Rometty, who is also chairman, said over the weekend in a letter to investors in the company’s annual report. “While we continue to remix to higher value, we must also address those parts of the business that are holding us back.” ...

    With no bonus, Rometty’s 2013 pay, calculated using U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules, fell 14 percent from a year earlier to $14 million. On the recommendation of the board’s compensation committee, IBM’s independent directors approved a long-term incentive plan for Rometty of $12.75 million in performance-based stock awards for the period ending in 2016.

    “The committee believes Mrs. Rometty performed well in shifting investments into key segments of the portfolio and advancing innovative solutions, creating a strong foundation for transformation in 2014,” the company said.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • It would help a lot if IBM would stop squeezing their employees mentally and fiscally. As an IBM customer I happen to know their CEs (Customer Engineers) have been told that by their management that if any customer reports on a customer survey that they were anything less than 'Very Satisfied' with the support they receive from their CE then that CE will be fired. As a result they're all walking on egg shells worried that their customers will inadvertently get them fired with a single 'Satisfied' survey response.

      And all IBM employees got fiscally screwed last year by the 2013 change in IBM's 401k contribution policy as they only received their entitled company contribution as an annual lump-sum after one of the greatest years for equity investing. Meanwhile anyone who quit prior to December 15th is even worse off as they received nothing. Even AOL was smart enough to backtrack on implementing a similar 401k policy!

    • IBM is an awful place to work. Every department from consulting, to IT, to audit - it's your typical corporate goliath that's just hulking along.
    • Completely agree, and as a current IBM employee I can also mention that this monstrosity of an organization, or should I say disorganization, only gets in its own way. Talk about speed, there is no such thing here whether speed to market, speed to customer satisfaction or anything else. I'm going to try and finish 2014 then I am outta here.
    • Best of luck hanging in there. Is IBM still stuck on conference calls and being visible on same-time? Between SameTime, conference calls and email it's almost impossible to do any customer or revenue driving work.
    • Why does Ginni still have a job? If I got an "didn't perform up to expectations" remark on my year-end evaluation, I would be the first on the chopping block for next RIF.
    • It is very funny that Ginni is looking for excuses and blame on hardware alone. If it is so true, why are layoffs happening in non-hardware groups. Even for hardware, how is Lenovo is making profits? IBM needs genie and mistakenly thought Ginni is Genie. Get out before it sinks.
    • How many IBMers that didn't meet their objectives received millions of dollars in IBM stock?
    • I would love to see the PBC's of the top management inside of IBM. Clearly they should be and should have been rated no higher than a 3. How do you stay in charge of a organization that is not growing, missing key market opportunities nor meeting it's revenue targets pretty much across the board?
    • Sorry to see IBM's current failed state in a number of areas in the past 10 quarters. $20 EPS by 2015 could certainly be accomplished by closing more units, layoffs and shifting resources to low cost countries etc. These actions will only hurt the growth going forward. They are not focusing on right things such as Sustainable Revenue Growth, Client Retention, Business Partners, Employee Morale.
  • Financial Times:

    Lenovo to inherit half-empty IBM factory as workers quit. By Tom Mitchell. Excerpts: Lenovo will inherit a half-empty Chinese factory as part of its $2.3bn acquisition of IBM’s low-cost server business – because more than half of the workers at the plant have decided to take severance payments, according to a labour lawyer.

    Their decision to leave came after IBM fired as many as 20 workers who had objected to the terms of their transfer from the US tech group to the Chinese computer company. Last week, more than 1,000 workers from the IBM factory in Shenzhen went on strike over the deal, which was announced in January.

    IBM had told the workers, who build the company’s x86 servers, that they could continue to work on their current terms after Lenovo took over the factory, or accept a severance package.

    However, the workers demanded to be paid more under both scenarios and organised their own industrial action, after they complained that the official All China Federation of Trade Unions had failed to protect their interests.

    But on Tuesday, Duan Yi, a prominent Chinese labour lawyer, said he had been contacted by workers at the factory and most had accepted IBM’s offer to leave. ...

    “IBM was really too strong and the Shenzhen ACFTU was useless,” Mr Xi said. “I don’t want to work here any more. So many security cameras have been installed in the factory. There weren’t any before.”

  • The Register:

    IBM bets the farm on big data in annual report. Hardware and chip research stay, servers and storage 'shift' to Linux and pastures new. By Simon Sharwood. Excerpts: IBM is utterly focussed on big data and analytics as its future growth engines, according to its annual report published over the weekend. But the company has hedged a little on the future of its semiconductor and hardware businesses.

    Available here, the least-brochure-like bits are to be found in the A Letter from the Chairman (PDF) Virginia Rometty, who offers the insight that plenty of organisations are choking on data. To clear their airways, different infrastructure, hybrid cloud and cunning analytics will be needed.

    Rometty claims IBM has “built the world’s broadest and deepest capabilities in Big Data and analytics—both technology and expertise.” Big Blue apparently has 15,000 people in the field, including 400 mathematicians, and is now directing two thirds of its research effort towards analytics. ...

    The letter also points out that IBM continues to do well financially, continuing an eleven-year run of growth in earnings-per-share even if pre-tax income dipped by eight per cent. The big bet on big data is expected to turn that last item around, before big trouble brews.

  • The Register:

    Hey IBM – Lenovo here. Sort your server factory strike out, will you? Big Blue's problem - until server biz buyout deal closes. By Brid-Aine Parnell. Excerpts: Chinese PC maker Lenovo has shrugged its shoulders at a strike in a server factory in China, saying that it's up to IBM to sort out the dispute before its server business transfers to Lenovo later this year.

    Yet Lenovo has said that it will keep the same salaries and benefits in place for Big Blue employees moving across.

    More than a thousand workers went on strike last week in Shenzhen to protest over the terms of the deal with Lenovo, which is slurping Big Blue's server division for $2.3bn.

    But the Chinese firm said that the 7,500 or so employees across 60 countries who come as part of the deal didn't need to worry. ...

    Since the deal hasn't actually been finalised yet as the companies are waiting on government and regulatory approval however, Lenovo said that IBM needed to deal with the strike. The protesting staff are worried about their pay under new management and about their severance package if they decide they don't want to work for Lenovo.

  • ZD-Net:

    Ten workers reportedly sacked in IBM China strike. By Liu Jiayi. Excerpts: Over 1,000 workers at the Shenzhen-based IBM ISTC, one of the strategic manufacturing bases of IBM's global integrated supply chain, continue their 8.30am - 9.30pm routine and come to the factory everyday. The only difference, during the past eight days, they have been grabbing loudspeakers and staging strikes.

    "There is nothing to be afraid of. We shall see who will win in the end," said a 25-year-old striker. "The company keeps bluffing about us violating company rules, but the staff at the labor authority told us that a collective 'work stoppage' is in no way against any law in China."

    Workers gather in an organized formation and march through the company compound every now and then, playing gongs and drums and chanting: "IBM is a sweatshop, IBM give me respect, IBM give my youth back!" ...

    Workers are demanding IBM to pay their average monthly salary multiplied by double their number of years of service, plus one month’s salary, as well as extra compensation for the pregnant female workers and recent mothers.

    "Now you can hear the company propaganda saying that ten workers have been sacked for not coming to work and staging strikes," said a higher level employer. "The company will definitely lose in court, we will continue the strike and we will get our share."

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • “IBM”

      Senior Marketing Manager (Current Employee), North Westchester, CT. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 8 years.

      Pros: Opportunity to work mobile and a good place to jump start your career as a recent graduate as well as being an intern. While the culture has drastically changed, you can learn from the experts, take advantage of advancing your education and skill set. Your work environment is contingent on the organization/business unit, and that can range from a dynamic and innovative space to highly dysfunctional. If you are truly seeking innovation, then look elsewhere; this would not represent a good match. This is a company where 5 years should be the max to stay. Compensation is decent and benefits are standard.

      Cons: IBM is not a stable environment as workplace rebalancing and reorganization is a constant. First and 2nd line management are not equipped or versed in leading their teams. Executive management is focused not on the customer base, not on talent and skill retention but on Wall Street.

      Advice to Senior Management: There is a lot of new talent leaving and it's time for the company to transform itself into a true leader.

    • “Currently sell portfolio solutions and services in a geographic territory”

      . Sales Specialist (Current Employee), Denver, CO. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years.

      Pros: Company has good benefits and allows you to easily change job roles if another role interests you. Terrific access to above region experts, SMEs, solution evangelists

      Cons: Cost cutting measures over the years have almost eliminated sales support staff, increasing non-revenue producing activity. Also, severe cuts to technical and services roles delays sellers ability to act quickly in a sales process. Extreme pressure to meet 2015 plan to reach double-digit profits has driven down morale across the board. Management layer still too heavy and non-revenue producing. Company needs to keep boots on the street who generate revenue for the company

      Advice to Senior Management: IBM has cut to the bone and if it continues, it will continue to prevent top line growth.

    • “Manager”

      People Manager (Current Employee), Dallas, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years.

      Pros: Work/life integration is fair to most employees. Vacation and paid time off is very liberal.

      Cons: One month short of 30 year anniversary they lay me off. Nice. Nothing like targeting the employees that have stuck in there through thick and thin. My advice: don't waste your time at IBM. In 10 years they will be in the same column with Kodak and EDS.

      Advice to Senior Management: Dump your stock options and go back to respecting your employees.

    • “Sales-only focused organization”

      Senior Managing Consultant (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years.

      Pros: Good people at the working level struggling to develop products and do the right thing for the customer and the future of the company.

      Cons: Company leadership interested in next week's sales numbers above all else. Employees, business partners and even customers are far from their interests. As a result, the work environment has become very toxic to unique thought and people focused on the customer versus revenue.

      Advice to Senior Management: Think about what IBM uniquely brings to the customer rather than relying on the innovations of hundreds of business partners.

    • “Great People, Poor Environment”

      Anonymous Employee (Current Employee).

      Pros: Large, well-recognized company. Vast breadth of experience and opportunity. Work from home. Work/life balance (not true for everyone).

      Cons:

      • Executive focus on EPS at the expense of product development, employee satisfaction/retention, and customer satisfaction.
      • Executive compensation based on EPS drives this.
      • Banding system and "80% of market salary" guidance artificially suppress earnings.
      • 401(k) contribution only once per year.
      • PBC reviews use outdated "stack ranking" system requiring underrating of some employees despite performance.
      • "Resource Action" culture and lack of transparency has most employees running scared.
      • IBM Core Values are frequently violated from the top down, and have become a joke.

      Advice to Senior Management: Abandon Roadmap 2015. The market may punish you slightly at first, but it can be positioned as "doing what's best for the long-term health of the company." Take the $15b in stock buybacks and invest in employees, and products, but most importantly, invest in driving top-line revenue.

      Analysts are starting to accept that increasing EPS against failing revenue isn't the best indicator of company health, and the sacrifices required to make $20 by the end of 2015 could seriously jeopardize the long-term ability of the company.

    • “Short term view by management, no future”

      Anonymous Employee (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years.

      Pros: The really good people you get to work with great, true leaders within the industry and really know how to run a good shop or project. Natural leaders are given a long rope, even when they are front line non-managers. There are some good and fun projects to work on if you can get attached to them but there are fewer and fewer of them in the US.

      Cons: There is a significant population of people not pulling their weight, often hiding behind the work-at-home smokescreen. There is no such thing as life balance if you have any pride in your work with 60-hour work weeks the norm. Cost cutting has gotten to the point of foolishness. Company has no long term goals.

      Advice to Senior Management: Management has no clue what our customers think. Customers ask where is IBM headed? Morale is at a new low with recent layoffs. How can you be IT company if you fire all the field technical folks?

    • “IBM is a huge and well-run computer company that grows mostly by acquisition rather than organic internal innovation.”

      Senior Software Engineer (Former Employee), Costa Mesa, CA. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 5 years.

      Pros: Very stable and successful company; decent benefits, effective management, solid products, strong software and services businesses. Strong research division, which does most of the internal innovation like the Watson project.

      Cons: Easy to get lost amid over 400,000 employees and many divisions and product lines. Political infighting between competing organizations can ruin your day. Opportunities for innovative work are limited, as the company innovates mainly by acquiring smaller, more innovation companies, rather than innovating internally (other than in IBM research centers). Hardware business is struggling currently, but that could change.

      Advice to Senior Management: Continue the push for more professional development for all employees. Consider more employee-friendly gestures like providing coffee, organizing local social events to build a sense of family and shared direction.

    •  

       

      “Big blue moves slow.”

      Anonymous Employee (Former Employee), Beaverton, OR. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 5 years. Pros: IBM structure is as beautiful as it's propaganda. Cons: Not so smart but sure is sneaky...collector of data. They say knowledge is power but maybe they should be saying collecting data is power. Advice to Senior Management: None, because you know it all and won't listen anyway! Love the way you helped recategorize billions of homeowners' money without their knowledge.
    • “Fantastic company to work for up to 2008'ish—not so enjoyable since”

      . Delivery Project Executive (Current Employee), Boston, MA. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years.

      Pros: Change/adjust career within the company—opportunities across many areas. Strong company values. Education and training available.

      Cons: Many short notice changes. Short term management plans gives sense of last minute out of control decisions. Compensation has dropped relative to other companies.

      Advice to Senior Management: Try to take a longer term view than this quarter.

    • “Disappointing performance for a once-wonderful company”

      Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Denver, CO.

      Pros: Flexible work environment, from an hours choice perspective, but many hours are expected. Well known organization that has done many great things in the past.

      Cons: Not enough focus on the people. Too many inefficiencies in the process, including middle management processes. Cost pressures focus on the consultants, the client-facing people, when a good look at management really should be undertaken.

      Advice to Senior Management: Pay attention to the people...employees and customers. Yes, financial results are important, but you won't have those if you allow the people to fall by the wayside.

    • “It's great, I love working for IBM.”

      Software Engineer (Current Employee), Atlanta, GA. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: I am able to work remotely from home. Cons: A lot of guidelines & restrictions that sometimes make easy/quick tasks take a little longer.
    • “IBM Contractor”

      Anonymous Employee (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM as a contractor.

      Pros: You have a chance to work with some very talented people and decent technology. Exposure to new industry trends is helpful.

      Cons: Job security does not exist. IBM is in serious decline and is a shadow of its former self. Sad to see a great American success story go so far down. US jobs are particularly in peril of being sent overseas.

    • “Great pay, but not enough for the amount I work”

      Consultant (Current Employee), Atlanta, GA. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than a year. Pros: They pay their recent graduates very well; they provide 3 weeks PTO for all employees on day 1. Cons: Insane working hours; poor performance rating system. Advice to Senior Management: Focus on developing your reportees.
    • “I worked for IBM for twelve years in various consulting and sales-related positions.”

      Anonymous Employee (Former Employee). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years.

      Pros: One of the best things about working at IBM is that they encourage telecommuting, which was extremely helpful to me as a working mom. I had the opportunity for some excellent training, and worked with some really smart people on exciting, state-of-the-art projects.

      Cons: At least on the services side, IBM reorganized at least once a year, which meant a constantly changing set of objectives and goals and no real strategy — at least not one that was ever shared. I had fourteen managers in twelve years and there were times that I worked for someone for several months without ever having a conversation with that person. The organization is ridiculously top heavy and mid-level managers have to spend an inordinate amount of time reporting to various executives. It's a shame because IBM used to be a great company that everyone wanted to work for.

      Advice to Senior Management: Flatten the organization and develop a real corporate strategy that can be communicated to all employees. Pay attention to the values that built IBM; not the least of which was truly valuing employees.

    • “400,000 Person Company”

      Senior Consultant (Former Employee). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 3 years.

      Pros: - Good reputation; - Some bright coworkers (not all, but there are some brilliant people here).

      Cons: - Frequently poor managers (common in technical jobs); - Poor review cycles and promotions: complex and infrequent; - You are a cog in a wheel, no chance to make an impact until at least at the partner level; - Constant focus on cost-cutting, there is a general lack of organic growth focus.

      Advice to Senior Management: None really, the model works for the very senior leadership. It's just bad for junior employees and middle managers. IBM tends to still operate off of its name, even though it's not the same company as it was even 10 years ago. If the company really wants to grow and retain talent, make drastic changes but in general I think it's a mature company that is just focused on cost cutting, not top line.

    • “Enriching and way ahead when thinking strategic HR initiatives”

      AP C&B Executive (Current Employee), Sydney (Australia). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 8 years. Pros: Exposure, diversity, work ethic, competent colleagues. Cons: Slow, bureaucratic, conservative, compensation, finance driven. Advice to Senior Management: Take some risks as people will back you.
    • “Solution Specialist”

      Solution Specialist (Current Employee), Dallas, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: IBM work/life balance. Cons: Frequent layoffs (quarterly layoffs to meet 2015 plan). Not the same company it was years ago. Managed income and limited rewards for success. Advice to Senior Management: Treat all employees with respect.
    • “Thankful to be gone”

      , Senior Software Engineer (Former Employee), Research Triangle Park, NC. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years.

      Pros: Smart people, flexible work hours and good opportunities to work on a wide range of topics that create a remarkable breadth of knowledge for future employers.

      Cons: Absolutely toxic work environment due to near constant threat of firings. Raises are non-existent even for top performers with very little information conveyed to employees as to why (aside from the generic "it was a tough year" even during times of record profits). Upper management is cold and impersonal towards employees with many layoffs resulting in rehire as contractors...only to be let go at next quarter's end.

      Advice to Senior Management: Fire yourselves immediately. When a good portion of the engineering force has been turned over and you are still bleeding money I think it is obvious where the true problem lies.

    • “Good co-workers, bad executives.”

      Staff Software Engineer (Former Employee). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: - completive pay; - job mobility; - good co-workers. Cons: - constant fear of layoffs; - executive incompetence. Advice to Senior Management: Treat your employees better. The atmosphere is killing morale.
    • “Company run like it is going out of business”

      Business Analyst (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years.

      Pros: Team members dedicated and very hard working. Get to work with folks from around the globe.

      Cons: Pretty much everything. Teams cut to the bone; remaining staff expected to keep picking up work of those cut. Can't use vacation fully as too short handed. No $ for education; skills and knowledge not valued. Employees are widgets to be used until they break and tossed out.

      Advice to Senior Management: Cannibalization only prolongs life for a short time. Stop focusing on inflated numbers that are crafted out of cuts and stock buy backs and work on revenue growth.

    • “Pretty Good”

      Anonymous Employee (Current Employee), Cork (Ireland). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 5 years.

      Pros: Online training, Job security, role movement encouraged, overall package good, nice colleagues, management pretty good.

      Cons: Complex processes and tools that overlap leading to frustration and wasted effort, forced to use IBM software rather than best in class, bonuses and other rewards poor, penny pinching on expenses and equipment, slow to adapt to rapidly changing market.

      Advice to Senior Management: Simplify, simplify, simplify! Truly flatten the organization.

    • “not your father's IBM”

      Service Delivery Manager (Current Employee), New York, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years.

      Pros: flexible work environment, good health benefits the ability to manage your workload and work schedule. You get to work with some of the brightest minds in the industry and you can always find someone willing to help you with anything.

      Cons: Pay increases are all but non existent even for top performs. Executive management has no long term vision. Business is managed in 90-day increments, and while IBM talks about client first, it's all about executive compensation and EPS.

      Advice to Senior Management: Time to dump our CEO. Nine straight losing quarters and your 2015 roadmap will be yet another IBM EPIC FAILURE!

    • “not great—not a true sales organisation”

      Anonymous Employee (Current Employee). Pros: Some great people to learn from, and to work with and for! Cons: Overall people hide behind numbers, and there isn't enough ownership. Advice to Senior Management: Actually manage, train, and empower! I have been successful everywhere I went, and made good money at IBM, due to my success, however i feel this is where sales people go to die. I would close deals, and 18 people would be paid on these deals. I spent more time reporting than selling.
    • “Not the same company I started my career with a decade ago”

      Program Manager (Current Employee), Dallas, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Ability to explore opportunities across different business units. Cons: Difficult to navigate through processes, systems, and conflicting measurement systems to get work done. Advice to Senior Management: Go back to core values - invest in people, teamwork, and client focus as true top priorities.
    • “Laser focus on delivering shareholder value”

      Architect (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Good growth strategy and leader in various technologies (cloud, mobile and business analytics). Cons: Lack of focus on growing talent and skills from within IBM. Offers limited growth to employees.
    • “Developer”

      Software Developer (Former Employee), Boulder, CO. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Revolving Door Policy. This is all they know in IBM. Cons: Revolving Door Policy. This is all they know in IBM. Advice to Senior Management: Stop killing the great talent we have here in USA and do not outsource the jobs just for your pure profit and bottom line. You are loosing HUGE experience and talent and that is why IBM was the worst company in the Dow in 2013 and all the great brains that IBM had are leaving before their time arrives soon!
    • “Finance Intern with bad experience”

      Finance Analyst (Current Employee), Somers, NY. I have been working at IBM as an intern for less than a year. Pros: Remote office access to upper management. Flexible hours opportunity. Personal growth opportunities with many online workshops. Cons: Boring work environment. Too many fellow employees working remotely. Too much bureaucracy. No defined intern project. Offices need major upgrades, still have same 1980s feel. Advice to Senior Management: Put finance interns in divisions that need interns. Some interns had minimal work and did not contribute to IBM during their summer internships.
    • “an extremely good company with very high benefits and perfectly committed to its employees with a great company culture”

      Anonymous Employee (Former Employee). Pros: Sn extremely good company with very high benefits and perfectly committed to its employees with a great company culture. Cons: opportunities to travel to conference have been reduced
    • “Not a great experience”

      Anonymous Employee (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 5 years.

      Pros: IBM is known for its good benefits - medical, insurance, etc. If you are lucky, you will be given the opportunity to work in the new focus areas of the company.

      Cons: IBM is not a diverse company. There is limited career development and promotional opportunities, especially for women and people of color even if they are more skilled and qualified. Unfortunately, even with an organization of its size, there are too many processes, and many of them are inconsistent. In order to get work done, many layers of approvals are required. It's unclear if employees are truly valued. Many managers have been at IBM too long and are too set in their ways.

      Advice to Senior Management: Reduce the approval layers. Focus on supporting people of color with opportunities and career development.

    • “Great for starting a career”

      Advisory Software Engineer (Current Employee), Austin, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Work flexibility is great. Talented and hard working engineers that make work fun and interesting. Cons: Constant fear of layoffs; average-low pay. Especially in recent years even top performers are potential for layoff and low bonus/pay increases. Advice to Senior Management: Have a balanced approach, there is by factors too much focus on investors and way too little investment on IP and product development; this has to be rebalanced.
    • “Was a great company, but completely declined in last decade”

      Fulfillment Professional (Current Employee), Research Triangle Park, NC. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Large company with decent benefits. Flexible work schedule, work from home. Cons: No concern about morale; most US jobs being shipped overseas; most perks have been taken away. Advice to Senior Management: Act like you care...
    • “Technically challenging and rewarding, but getting steamrolled by shareholder roadmap”

      . Anonymous Employee (Current Employee).

      Pros: Local management is in tune with employee concerns and peers are excellent engineers and technicians always willing to help.

      Cons: Upper management is focused on 2015 roadmap and does not adequately communicate the technology roadmap for the company and how that translates into the different business areas and day-to-day jobs.

      Advice to Senior Management: Perception is that 2015 roadmap will be met at ALL costs. This is destroying employee morale and hampering IBM's ability to constantly reinvent itself, adapt to the changing technology landscape, and even meet the roadmap's goals.

    • “Poisonous focus on short term financial results”

      Anonymous Employee (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM for more than 10 years.

      Pros: A large and diverse company with opportunities world wide. Some great people to work with. Work from home available for many. Lots of great ideas for the future.

      Cons: The total focus on short term financial results leading to lack of resources. Senior management that does not want to hear the truth about their pet ideas. Employees are not viewed as valued resources, just expense to be disposed of. Talented people leaving as quickly as they can.

      Advice to Senior Management: Step aside. Ten years of balance sheet management has killed a great company.

    • “Good experience, but not a long-term type of deal.”

      Anonymous Employee (Former Employee). Pros: People and flexibility. It's a good company to get a job at to leverage the name and move somewhere else, hence the high turnover. Cons: Office is out of date for a "tech company." No good perks. So many people that work there are content doing what they do, so it leaves them in the same position for a long time. Advice to Senior Management: Stop outsourcing jobs.
    • “At one time it was a great company to work for but not anymore.”

      Business Analyst (Former Employee), Armonk, NY. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years.

      Pros: IBM allows most employees the benefit of telecommuting and has great work/life balance allowing employees to take care of personal business when needed.

      Cons: IBM has lost its concern for their employees; they are just another commodity/expense used by management. Even their pay is not as good as it once was. The side benefits like parties for the children and other events for employees are no longer in existence and this has hurt the morale. In a few years the number of US employees will be at their lowest point since all the work keeps going to the country that has the lowest cost.

      Advice to Senior Management: Please go back to the days of respect for the US employee and stop the cutting of cost just to reach the 2015 blueprint. I have seen many good US employees cut over the last several years; this needs to stop. Please think about the future of the company not about the current results.

    • “Constant Fear of Layoffs”

      User Experience Designer (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 8 years.

      Pros: IBM is a good place to make contacts and to network. Many people are quite knowledgeable, and if you stick with them, you can learn a lot.

      Cons: IBM tends to layoff hundreds or thousands of people every quarter or two if they need to boost profit (by decreasing payroll). If you're OK with the knowledge that you could be fired at anytime – even if you have decent performance reviews – then IBM is great for you. Also – it is IBM’s stated policy to pay 80% of the mean salary for a job in its geography. In other words, it is the stated policy to pay less than you could get at many other places.

      Advice to Senior Management: Mass layoffs are short sighted. Investors will figure this out soon.

    • “IBM is changing”

      Anonymous Employee (Former Employee), London, England (UK). I worked at IBM as a contractor for less than a year. Pros: Hardly any pros. The marketplace is changing, but IBM holds different values high. Cons: Too much pressure, too few training an career opportunities, hardly any benefits, employees burning out.
    • “IBM Brno (Low Cost Center) I'm still IBM employee (since 2006) but I'm looking forward to change company.”

      Technical Solution Manager (Current Employee), Brno (Czech Republic). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 5 years.

      Pros:

      • Home office benefit and online education (but limited to different IBM line of business)
      • Good company for a new starter (students or after school) as you will no need experience or university degree.

      Cons:

      • No respect for people, in special for seniors
      • Low salary, no bonuses, no meal tickets => low quality people
      • By speaking free to managers about your daily issues end up to insult their "brain" => black list
      • No external trainings, in case you request one (e.g. VMware, Citrix); you need to provide a strong reason to higher management
      • Lot of bureaucracy
      • Nepotism (I have nothing against if the hired people are doing their jobs, they are educated and behave professional)
      • Lot of people managers came from EUS or Command Center; despite of soft skills and many other mandatory education followed by people to became People Manager (1st line manager) they still behave like in kindergarten and they have nothing to do with the activity of their department; of course I meet exceptions. Even the VP of this IBM Center recognized that managers are not well prepared and the professional people are leaving the company...but he cannot change this trend :(((
      • Functional managers are abroad (IMTs) and they own the contract and drive the business with IBM customers; people here are used as "rented resources" (to new procedure will transform them in robots)...if you are against their (non-professional) solutions you will be easily replaced.

      Advice to Senior Management:

      • Respect your people; in fact your results and bonuses rely on their work
      • Support your people when is needed and use your brain instead of asking what to do
      • It's not necessary to kiss asses on higher management level and push stupid policy on your people just because somebody was dreaming a new way of organizing departments & teams.
    • “Worst”

      IT Specialist (Current Employee), Guadalajara, Jalisco (Mexico). I have been working at IBM full-time for less than a year. Pros: Great team work. If you work in a different area than GBS you are a lucky employee. Cons: IBM Mexico's (GBS) managers do not have any idea how to manage a commercial account.
    • “Worst I have ever had”

      Project Manager (Current Employee), Istanbul (Turkey). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 8 years. Pros: Close to technology; strong brand name. Cons: Poor management; long and useless processes.
    • “It's a job, not a career”

      Senior Project Manager (Current Employee), Research Triangle Park, NC. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: It's a job, it pays the bills (almost). Cons: Average at best compensation and benefits, no regard for the employees, no innovation or excitement. Advice to Senior Management: If you're not happy with the results (which you shouldn't be), you need to change the environment so that you're able to attract and retain the talent needed to win, not exist.
    • “Big company with unlimited Opportunity”

      Associate Partner (Current Employee), New York, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: Whatever you want to do can be found at IBM. Pay can be good depending on what part of the business you enter. Ability to work at home for most job functions is great for work-life balance. Cons: With such a big company you can get lost unless you seek opportunities. Bureaucratic much like any big companies. Advice to Senior Management: Simplify IBM from the inside out; it will resonate with clients.
    • “Poor management ruin the company”

      Anonymous Employee (Current Employee). Pros: There are some talented technical people you can work with and learn from. Cons: The company is led and managed by many who don't have the intellectual ability to appreciate good technical work. And management do not have guts to admit their mistake and take responsibilities. You have to be good at politics to thrive.
    • “Just a paycheck”

      Software Engineer (Current Employee). Pros: Decent starting pay, decent benefits. Flexibility to work from home as needed.

      Cons: Everyone seems to be extremely overworked. My daily meetings on Friday usually involve 50% of the team saying "I hope to get done over the weekend". Also, morale is a joke. IBM really doesn't seem to care about having productive or happy employees. And, the continual fear of being RA'd (IBM speak for layoff).

      Advice to Senior Management: Wake up. If you keep marching towards roadkill 2015 and focus only on the stock price, you'll not have a company to worry about. Customers will keep leaving. Outsourcing jobs to cut costs won't save you when you have no customers.

    • “Living for weekend”

      Advisory IT Specialist (Former Employee), Wrocław (Poland). I worked at IBM full-time for more than a year. Pros: Stable work with good money. Cons: No personal development, no trainings or certifications. No motivation plan. Advice to Senior Management: 50% of management should be replaced.
    • “Post-acquisition mash-up”

      Anonymous Employee (Current Employee), Waltham, MA. Pros: Some nice and smart people. Somewhat Interesting technology. Good for someone right out of college to gain experience. Cons: Constantly changing priorities or lack thereof. There is a cover your a** mentality; everything must be documented. Remote teams make it hard to communicate for certain projects. Fear of layoffs every quarter (to fund IBM share buybacks). Advice to Senior Management: Be more "Agile"
  • Glassdoor IBM Canada reviews
  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert. This week's topics include:
    • Stand up to the American Legislative Exchange Council and Protect Pensions
    • Alliance Letter: House “Doc Fix” is the Wrong Solution
    • USA Today Piece Describes Retirees’ Biggest Financial Regrets
    • Spanish Friday Alert now Available
    • Oregon Alliance Holds State Convention, Hosts Former Governor Roberts
    • Alliance’s National Convention is April 28 – May 1, 2014 at Bally's Hotel Las Vegas
  • New York Times:

    Obama Will Seek Broad Expansion of Overtime Pay. By Michael D. Shear and Steven Greenhouse. Excerpts: President Obama this week will seek to force American businesses to pay more overtime to millions of workers, the latest move by his administration to confront corporations that have had soaring profits even as wages have stagnated.

    On Thursday, the president will direct the Labor Department to revamp its regulations to require overtime pay for several million additional fast-food managers, loan officers, computer technicians and others whom many businesses currently classify as “executive or professional” employees to avoid paying them overtime, according to White House officials briefed on the announcement. ...

    Mr. Obama’s action is certain to anger the business lobby in Washington, which has long fought for maximum flexibility for companies in paying overtime.

    In 2004, business groups persuaded President George W. Bush’s administration to allow them greater latitude on exempting salaried white-collar workers from overtime pay, even as organized labor objected. ...

    Under current federal regulations, workers who are deemed executive, administrative or professional employees can be denied overtime pay under a so-called white-collar exemption.

    Under the new rules that Mr. Obama is seeking, fewer salaried employees could be blocked from receiving overtime, a move that would potentially shift billions of dollars’ worth of corporate income into the pockets of workers. Currently, employers are prohibited from denying time-and-a-half overtime pay to any salaried worker who makes less than $455 per week. Mr. Obama’s directive would significantly increase that salary level. ...

    “Under current rules, it literally means that you can spend 95 percent of the time sweeping floors and stocking shelves, and if you’re responsible for supervising people 5 percent of the time, you can then be considered executive and be exempt,” said Ross Eisenbrey, a vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research organization in Washington.

  • CNET:

    Apple, Microsoft among firms earning tax-free interest from US -- report. The companies, along with Google and Cisco, own a collected $124 billion in US Treasury debt offshore, allowing them to collect tax-free interest. By Don Reisinger. Excerpts: Four of the largest US-based technology companies hold a huge amount of US Treasury debt and use it to earn tax-free interest, a new report claims.

    Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Cisco Systems collectively hold $124 billion in US Treasury debt overseas, the UK's Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported Wednesday. The debt is kept offshore so the companies can earn interest on the treasuries without worrying about paying taxes.

    That some of the largest technology companies in the world are holding so much interest-bearing debt and not having to pay taxes might not resonate well with individuals looking down the barrel at an April 15 personal income tax filing date and big tax bill. Still, the companies are acting well within US law, so they're not violating any regulations.

  • Information Week:

    H-1B Visa Demand Spike Predicted. When the window for new H-1B applications opens on April 1, three IT job categories will lead the charge: software engineering, information security, and big data. By Kevin Casey. Excerpts: Three IT job categories will lead the H-1B charge this year: software engineering, information security, and big data. "Software engineer" has long been the preferred H-1B term for candidates who can develop everything from internal systems to, more recently, customer-facing mobile apps. "It covers a wide variety of job titles," Stevenson said.
New on the Alliance@IBM Site

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 03/07/14:

    @ -Anonymous-. You can get RA'ed if you try hard enough, but not by demanding it. Rather, you have to become a burden to IBM for sufficiently long time (4-5 months). Don't know what your position is, but if you're measured by utilization then maintaining it close to 0% throughout should work. What you're talking about is a voluntary redundancy and you need to a strong union to get that in US. -RA'ed-
  • Comment 03/07/14:

    30 year guy I talked to an old co-worker last week who had 39 years. He said he went to his manager back in late Jan. and told him he would save a co-worker if they would RA him so he could retire. They gave him the RA package last week and he is happy and gone. It can be done if you have a good relationship with your manager. PBC 2+ employee -lastdino1-
  • Comment 03/07/14:

    -Anonymous- asked "Can I request/demand an RA package?" There is no mechanism for you to demand an RA, no matter how many years you've been at IBM. You can ask your manager for an RA (that's what worked for me) but the response varies with each manager; and even if your manager does agree, you might have to wait years for the next RA to hit your group. -Gorya-
  • Comment 03/08/14:

    Yes, when times are good, IBM will continue to outsource and RA, and when times are bad, they will accelerate the effort to outsource and RA. There is no escape for the American IBMer. The resulting toxic and demoralizing working environment is a deliberate act by IBM to encourage attrition. They do not want to employ us here. If you are feeling unwanted, it's because you absolutely are unwanted. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 03/08/14:

    According to the NC employment security commission you can receive your (unemployment) benefits (max $350 per week) before your severance runs out if you are taking a course from an institution of higher learning. NC has 19 weeks of unemployment and does not participate in the federal extension of benefits. Does anyone know what the total number of those laid off in the March round? -GAR-
  • Comment 03/09/14:

    I was RA'd at nearly 40 years. I had my time and it was time to go. But what still pisses my off is how Management just delivered the RA notice and made no effort to thank me for my years of service and my dedicated effort. Nope, you're just expendable, give me your badge. I now hope IBM sinks to oblivion. Worst management in corporate history. I am ashamed that I ever was associated with this company. Will never admit to working there. -IBM Management Sucks-
  • Comment 03/09/14:

    OSHA requires all employers to list accidents at each work location every year. IBM is required to do this for its work sites too. At IBM Rochester this OSHA accident notice is placed on the wall by the cafeteria entrance. The OSHA form also lists total number of workers employed at the work site. For IBM Rochester the 2013 form says 3,200 workers. To find out US employment counts someone at each IBM US location should post the number of workers. I am sure after the RA the number will be less. I will look for the 2014 notice and post the results here. -Anonymous-active employee-
  • Comment 03/09/14:

    Jobs are being cut also in Europe, it is not only in the US. India and China employees are being let go too. In few weeks, I will be finally gone from the place I used to love so much. After 6.5 years. There is no future there. -snowbunny-
  • Comment 03/10/14:

    I agree with Anonymous. IBM does not want to employ you. They are not addressing or fixing issues. And they couldn't care less about you. The greedy execs have been very successful in breaking up IBM into segmented groups. Bands 1-7 let them eat cake. Bands 8 and 9 give them just enough stock options to shut their mouths. 1st and 2nd line Managers do as Executive Management tells you no matter how offensive or morally wrong it might be. Executive Management is Gordon Gecko on Steroids. Greed is good and anything that gets in the way just bull doze it. 5 year planning LOL. 32 years with company , took the transition program, couldn't stomach the company anymore. Good luck to all that are left. Good god what are you waiting for. UNIONIZE!!! -One of 700-
  • Comment 03/11/14:

    "Bands 8 and 9 give them just enough stock options to shut their mouths." Partly true, but not totally. But you overall point is well taken, One of 700! Some got stock options if they were hired during the internet bubble but most don't get them at all, maybe unless they are management. Band 8 and 9 and especially 10 usually are more politically astute, have some folks that look out for them (in middle management sure helps), and know how the IBM elephant operates. BUT it doesn't stop them getting RAed. In fact, they are probably now "caught in the middle" and are real targets due to their salary costs. LIFE@IBM IS NOT GOOD -Anon-
  • Comment 03/11/14:

    To Anon: What are you talking about? Band 8 and 9s getting stock options? I've been working here for 29 years and NEVER received any sort of perk such as stock options. The only think I got was that 1k in stock (which every other peon in the company received on the centennial anniversary of IBM). I do not think I will ever see those stocks as I am anticipating being RA-ed before that date. Those stocks were just another carrot dangled in front of all the IBMers, but will never be seen. Did anyone thing what happens to the stock options if you are RA-ed before maturity?

    I am willing to bet that the executives will receive those stock options as another bonus for a good job. Just wait and see - those stocks that you think you are getting will be lining the executives pockets soon enough, and the IBMers across the globe, will be filing unemployment claims instead! IBM gives one thing with one hand and takes two away with the other hand. REMEMBER THAT! -dun-4-

  • Comment 03/10/14:

    IBM bets the farm on big data in annual report Hardware and chip research stay, servers and storage 'shift' to Linux and pastures new. IBM is utterly focused on big data and analytics as its future growth engines, according to its annual report published over the weekend. But the company has hedged a little on the future of its semiconductor and hardware businesses.
    “But let me be clear—we are not exiting hardware,” Rometty adds. "IBM will remain a leader in high-performance and high-end systems, storage and cognitive computing, and we will continue to invest in R&D for advanced semiconductor technology.”

    Just what is meant by continuing to invest in semiconductors isn't explained, which may keep eyebrows raised after recent rumours suggested Big Blue would offload its chip business. The phrase "continue to invest" does not rule out a sale and ongoing joint research engagement. -Anon-

  • Comment 03/10/14:

    In the last week IBM has been promoting its Master the Mainframe championship. I have seen many IBM generated PR pieces on this topic. So, IBM wants college students to invest in the mainframe but, at the same time, is divesting itself of these same skills. Of course, college students will never pick up on the hypocrisy of IBM. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 03/10/14:

    From the IBM Essex Junction/Burlington site legal posting board. OSHA Summary of Work Related Injuries form for year 2013: Annual average number of employees = 3,731, dated 1/14/2014 -IBMnumbers-
  • Comment 03/10/14:

    I looked at my so-called Report to chain in Blue Pages, and noticed that there are 11 levels between me and Big Grandma. Assuming each manager manages 10 people, there are more employees in IBM than the planet's population!

    I also saw that there are about 5 "Vice Presidents" in the Report to chain. A VP reporting to a VP, who in turn reports to another VP and so on. Talk about Smarter Planet, would you now, Ginny? Why do you need so many Vice Presidents? If you cannot clearly provide a job title, you most certainly cannot justify their existence in the company, so why not get rid of some of those Vice Presidents instead of the Band 6-10 employees? -Everyone and their dog is a Vice President!-

  • Comment 03/10/14:

    IBM's silence on numbers of job cuts speaks volumes. Their refusal to release numbers and the amount of highly read news articles shows that the Alliance has a voice. IBM is cutting it's loses, basically they bet on a horse in Kentucky Derby, lost, then had a meeting and the decision was to cut more meat and bone off to make the vehicle lighter, with no clue they are no longer cutting fat. At this point after 7 quarters of reduced revenue and many statements about cloud and analytics which they are woefully behind on and overpriced in the market.

    They will continue to fail. Bleeding? Cut off the bleeding leg, so now how will you stand? The executives cashing in shares shows they are packing their golden parachutes. Hey, if I was an executive on a sinking ship, I'd be kicking off stowage to line my boat. IBM is quickly becoming the "Texas Instruments." Glad I was laid off when I was. Anyone still staying? No raises, no bonus, PBC numbers artificially lowered to meet their expectations. You deserve better than that. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 03/10/14:

    "IBM bets the farm on big data in annual report" IBM betting the farm on big data and cloud is chasing the market. IBM should be leading innovation. Unfortunately IBM big data is just repackaged version of open source offerings. There are better, more creative competitors that innovate —HortonWorks/Cloudera/MapR with fire in their bellies. IBM overprices and sells to unsuspecting customers for 90% margins. This is not sustainable.

    As for cloud: Amazon innovates and drives costs down. It passes the savings on to customers. IBM drives cost down for itself by employing third-world labour but charges first-world prices to customer and keeps difference. This profit is not reinvested back into its employees but is likely divided and distributed to shareholders and management.

    IBM will not survive long with employees that seem to distrust and despise management and is paralysed in fear of being made redundant and lied to. IBM also lacks founder's drive and fire. Watson's are long gone and have been replaced with management with no vision and is likely busy enriching themselves. Only a whole sale management change will work. These are only my opinions and is not that of IBM. -tg-

  • Comment 03/11/14:

    -Everyone and their dog is a Vice President!- When Gerstner was hired I had nine levels of management. By the time he retired I was down to five. When I retired in 2010 there were eleven. The only thing I can come up with is the current batch of executives watched"This is Spinal Tap" one too many times and hire Nigel Tufnel as their management consultant. For those unaware Nigel had his amps silk screened to go to eleven which is one louder than ten. -anonymous_retiree-
  • Comment 03/11/14:

    Why doesn't my RA package reflect age distribution detail anymore - isn't this a requirement under OWBPA? -Anita Job-

    Alliance reply: This has been discussed quite a bit in this comment section as well as in articles on our main page. Clearly IBM is suppressing and hiding not just age date, but numbers cut and their divisions.

  • Comment 03/11/14:

    I am a band 9 that was RAed. I received stock options about 10 years ago. As far as those shares of stock that we are suppose to get in 2015, Ginni got about 70,000 shares at $0 on Feb 1! Do the math...13000 x 7 shares. Yeah the execs got no pay increase, but they have secretly lined their greedy pockets with no-cost shares. Explain that one Ginni! Such a hypocrite -Well-
  • Comment 03/12/14:

    -dun-4- I started my management career back in the early 80's and as a 08 at the time was given a few stock options. This continued yearly until the mid 90's. I would also work with my management team and provide my high performers with stock options as long as I could. After 2000 I hadn't heard of any options given to the lower bands. So it was done in the past. -lastdino1-
  • Comment 03/12/14:

    One year no TCR and 3 months of stolen MBA, this year no GDP... I can not imagine any other company having such high-handed performance compensation. Well, the lucky side of the story is that Q1 performance will be driven by our "motivation". :o) -Oliverro-
  • Comment 03/13/14:

    Job cuts in Bromont, Canada today! Another sad day for IBMers. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 03/13/14:

    Re: fighting PBC 3: My manager also told me he was forced to give me the 3. I wasn't going to fight it (waste of time) but I did include some very pithy comments when I signed it (at the very last minute, might as well make the manager squirm). That was a Friday afternoon. On Sunday afternoon my 2nd line had sent me an email and scheduled a 1-1 so I got my open door anyway. He seemed surprised to hear that my manager told me he was forced to give the 3 to me specifically. He "said" he would investigate but the number didn't get changed.

    He told me that it was "relative contribution" not whether or not I was a good employee and it should not affect my future. Oh, really? If I try to get a different job in IBM, there is NO manager that is going to even consider hiring me after seeing that 3! I didn't get tagged for the RA this time so now I'm in for another few months of trying to pretend that I actually care about this job... because if I get another 3 they will use it to reduce the severance that I've EARNED. p*ss on you, IBM! -BoulderAnon-

  • Comment 03/13/14:

    To Anonymous' comment on 3/13/14 about fighting a PBC 3? You may as well try fighting it you have nothing left to lose at this point. I was a 2+ and was mysteriously "distracted" to a 3 rating, and laid-off 9/2013. I was actually bullied at work by a team lead who systematically character assassinated me. My first line knew; my second line knew; HR knew. "It was a mess, no one cared". This is IBM. Fighting the 3 at least made me feel like I went out fighting, but the closure some people are seeking I do not think will ever come when you are let go after 38 years of exemplary service, you never get over how IBM has treated you when you gave them so much of your life.. -ANONYMOUS-

    Alliance reply: This is why Alliance has been fighting for and trying to get US IBMers to organize, so that having a contract proactively sets the rules by which any IBM employee would be let go.

  • Comment 03/13/14:

    To -market_this_IBM-: Your commissions due would not be included in your severance package, but IBM must pay them! When I left IBM on my own last year, it took two months but IBM did finally pay all commissions owed to me. Document what you are owed and send an email with those details to your manager, for documentation in case the commissions aren't paid. I kept detailed records of my revenue numbers, just in case there was a problem with my commissions. -FreeFromIBM-
  • Comment 03/13/14:

    Year after year people come here and complain about their PBC yet do nothing to fight it. A union contract would change how this evaluation works. Why do you all just moan and not do anything? Why do you just put up with the abuse? It boggles the mind. -anon-

    Alliance reply: Alliance agrees with you. Our mission has been to organize IBM US workers AND to be an advocate for them. IBM US workers have no other options to STOP the abuse by IBM. IBM will continue to abuse their own workers until the workers decide to stand up and fight. That can't come too soon, from our view.

  • Comment 03/13/14:

    Managers are being FORCED to give a quota of PBC 3 appraisals. This is wrong since a PBC 3 carries an implication of poor performance and even results in a performance improvement plan and possible termination without severance. It is a damning appraisal, regardless of what BS you're told.

    IBM is avoiding severance packages (and hoping to encourage attrition) through the PBC 3 quotas, and it is absolutely unethical and unfair. People who have received such undeserved 3 appraisals, unsupported by management, need to organize and report this to the media. I've shared IBM's scheme with friends in IT outside of IBM, and they are shocked that IBM has stooped to this slimy level of unethical behavior. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 03/14/14:

    Morale is at an all time low at Btv. Nigel, no raises, don't like your job, go flip burgers McDonald's. This from our site executive. -Joe-
  • Comment 03/14/14:

    PBC means nothing to IBM management. It is all determine by headcount at the beginning of the year for the number of RAs in a given department. Age is the major consideration for RAs. Without a union IBM will continue this age discrimination practice. Join the union. -ANA-
  • Comment 03/14/14:

    My sympathy goes out to all the affected IBM'ers during the latest RA's and thus, I thought I'd share my own story. After 15 years with the company, I left voluntarily in 2011 because I saw the writing on the wall—the yearly RAs, excessive focus on curbing employee cost, etc. And all this despite record company profits!

    By the end of my time, I just didn't want to be part of it anymore. It turned out to be the best decision I ever made. As echoed in previous comments, you can do better after IBM—better salary, work/life balance, opportunities, and just having more fun when you work at places where people don't just see you as a number (or a Green Dot!). I know its scary—it was for me, but now I wonder why I didn't leave earlier!

    To those who want to stay at IBM, I hope you can play a part in making it a great American company again. But in my opinion, that will never happen due to current mgmt. obsession with pleasing Wall Street. The only way to turn it around is for the employees to 'take the company back'. And that cannot happen without an organized effort.

    In the past, there was no need to organize. Management 'could' still screw you, but they didn't because of company culture (respect for the individual, etc). Now, the culture has clearly changed and not only 'can' they screw you, but they are doing it every year.

    There needs to be check and balance and the Alliance appears to be the only group setup to organize and provide a voice for workers to have a say in the direction of the company and the welfare of its employees.

    Finally, I will admit I viewed this site for years but never contributed. I was always on the fence about the Alliance, but looking back, I realize, it was the only way to get a good source of information, especially when you work from home. So, please accept my donation as a small re-payment for all those years of keeping me informed. And keep fighting the good fight! -anonymous-

  • Comment 03/14/14:

    My PBC 3 rating was *far* more devastating than being RA'd. I could have stomached being let go with a good rating, accompanied by a reasonable description of shift in business priorities. But I will never forgive the bozo who told me I was "distracted" and not a significant contributor after a year in which I contributed more than in several years prior. What a pathetically cowardly way to accomplish what real leadership would with honesty and genuine good business conduct character. -the-king-of-distraction-
  • Comment 03/14/14:

    "Your commissions due would not be included in your severance package, but IBM must pay them!" Thanks for the info. I hate IBM (I've Been Mislead)! I made hundreds of thousands last year for this company as a IBMer marketeer and then they RA me which is bad enough and now have me to grovel for my hard earned commissions? I'm taking a deep breath and then I am going after IBM for my hard earned work (my commission they (IBM)promised). This company is run by BLUE penny pinching rich devils! IBM is pure evil. PLEASE anyone on the fence, join the union before it is too late. -market_this_IBM-
  • Comment 03/14/14:

    Well I guess it's official, no sign of the promised 6% for "top performers"—PBC 1. Don't really see the point of PBC at this point. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 03/14/14:

    I 'work' for IBM to get a paycheck, nothing more, anymore. Resume has been sent out for months and if one day someone shows interest in a 'seasoned' IBMer, I'll become an exIBMer, gladly. To other IBMers, do NOT stay at IBM for the future; stay only for the present (paycheck). -Employee#12345-
  • Comment 03/14/14:

    "People who have received such undeserved 3 appraisals, unsupported by management, need to organize and report this to the media."

    Oh, please. The corporate media doesn't care. Why would you think they care? They've slept through the dismantling of unions and middle-class jobs for decades, and you think they're going to sit up and change habits for some white-collar IT workers who feel they were given unfair assessments? No one else but you, and perhaps some of your fellow IBMers, cares. And judging by the lack of employees joining this union, not many of your fellows care either. -irRational-

    Alliance reply: It is true that the MSM does not seem too concerned enough to highlight the troubles of IBM workers in the US. However, Alliance@IBM's profile continues to become more prominent, globally and many media outlets, other than "main stream" are paying attention.

    There is also an increase in IBMers joining Alliance, lately. It's not a huge amount and it isn't enough to call for a vote; but the activity suggests hope, that IBMers are realizing that the only way to have their voice heard, and the best way to fight back, is to organize in a large group of IBM workers that will not be ignored any longer.

    BTW...Thank you for continuing to send comments to this board. We appreciate your long term support of our efforts to advocate and organize for IBM US workers, -irRational-, in a most rational way.

  • Comment 03/14/14:

    Took the package last summer voluntarily after 37 years. Body was pretty much broken and the mind not far behind. However, after a 9 months of retirement I find the anger diminished considerably and the sky is now clear. No one should believe for a minute that management at the first or second level enjoys doing IBM's bidding. They need jobs like anyone else and will do as told like any other abused, terrified minion. In private conversations any manager will tell you how disgusted and sick it makes them. They don't get paid to destroy lives.

    No, I am not a retired manager, only a lowly CE from NY/NJ. You guys need to stop fearing organizing. I know people that are even afraid to go to this website for fear of reprisals. Stop stooping. Stand up , pay your dues and fight a bit. Sign your name too it is much more effective than something as clever as 'anon'.

    IBM need to maintain a critical mass of employees in order to fulfill contracts and in many geographies will soon learn the people they counted on do not want to work given the prevailing conditions. It will be at this point that upper management may realize their arrogance and in some small way perform an act of contrition. As an afterthought, when you do retire, consider taking the lump sum because as things seem to be going, IBM may not be able to meet their pension commitments unless someone with a vision and guts takes the helm. Burning, slashing, and terrorizing won't cut it forever. Good luck to you all. -Chris s/n 823964-

  • Comment 03/16/14:

    "Morale is at an all-time low at. Btv. Nigel, no raises, don't like your job, go flip burgers McDonald's. This from our site executive. -Joe-" I recall Caddingan saying we could go stock shelves with milk at the nearest grocery store if we weren't happy in Essex. That sneering comment did no go over well with the crowd. A mob mentality was much closer than he could have ever imagined it -VT Woodchuck-
  • Comment 03/16/14:

    To: Chris s/n 823964, I could not agree with you more. I have been retired for several years. I did not have any problems. I have read the after the fact comments on this site as they pertain to unfair treatment. All have known these facts for a long time, and yet not many sign up. In the past I had concerns about unions, however now as I watch the practices of many large business's I must and have changed my perspective to organizing and unionizing. -ZioGiorgio-
If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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