Project Chrome, a massive layoff that IBM says is not a massive layoff, is under way. According to tech writer Robert X. Cringely, reporting in Forbes, the company’s workforce will be reduced 26 percent as part of this initiative. With potentially more than 100,000 people at risk, this could be the largest single layoff by any U.S. corporation since 1993, when IBM cut 60,000 people from its roster. Cringely writes that notices have started going out, and reports that most of the 26 percent will be gone by the end of February. ...
IBM immediately denied Cringely’s report, stating that a planned $600 million “workforce rebalancing” is going to involve layoffs (or what the company calls “resource actions”) of just thousands of people. But Cringely responded that he never said that the workforce reductions would be all called layoffs—instead, multiple tactics are being used, including pushing employees out through low ratings (more on that in a moment). And some managers are indeed admitting to employees that their jobs have been eliminated as part of Project Chrome, leading employees to coin a new catchphrase: “Getting Chromed.” ...
But then there’s that performance rating scheme—also known as a stealth layoff—that involves giving previously highly rated employees the lowest rating (a 3) before showing them the door. A 3 can lead to immediate dismissal, particularly for employees who signed on to what IBM calls the “Transition to Retirement” program, in which employees commit to a specific retirement date and accept cuts in hours and pay in return for being protected from dismissal unless they get a poor performance rating.
For a regular full-time employee, a rating of 3 can put him or her into what is called a performance improvement plan, and if the rating doesn’t improve in a set period of time, the employee can be fired for cause. PIPs are not uncommon in the business world; it’s the number being given and the dramatically short length of time to improve that is concerning employees. Giving out 3s works to the company’s benefit because it can lead to reduced severance benefits.
This isn’t the first time IBM employees have received aberrant poor performance reviews shortly before a layoff. A former employee who was cut in a resource action, or RA, in 2010 confirmed this, telling me that after years of top ratings, he received a 3 just before he was let go, even though he’d just had what he perceived as his best year ever. ...
Of course, the appearance of the situation, in the eyes of employees and the public, is not being helped by the fact amid IBM’s actions comes the board’s announcement on Friday of a big raise for CEO Ginni Rometty.
Selected reader comments follow:
Being at will employees, IBM can do what they want, they quit disclosing how many workers are let go per age category within severance packages so the age discrimination would not be detected. IBM figures let them sue us as IBM's pockets are bigger than any of the worker bees. The customers will continue to suffer if they don't wake up and shop elsewhere.
A massive company wide program to attempt to reduce head count through a variety of methods, while attempting to bypass or reduce the benefits the people being let go, were due, is despicable. I have to wonder if some of these coordinate actions aren't skirting the law regarding mass layoffs/etc. that may affect local communities.
It seems not so long ago that IBM was embroiled in some legal issues about properly paying out overtime... which they did, then issued 15% cuts in compensation...IBM Responds To Overtime Lawsuits With 15% Salary Cuts.
I hope that all of the people being affected are able to find new jobs. As for IBM itself...wow. Just...wow.
There are way too many layers of non-essential management to get any decisions made in a timely manner. IBM is a dinosaur and always will be. Day late dollar short.
I’ve been an employee for 8 years, 43 years old, 16 years industry experience. I work at a client in NYC. Have been on that project for 4+ years, renewed multiple times, and was contracted through June. That project limits billed utilization to 40 hours per week (even though I work 50-70 hours per week) which is less than the requirement for my band, making it impossible to meet the IBM yearly utilization goal. However, I have had consistent 2, 2+ ratings except for one year where I got a 3 because I had to go out on medical leave for 2 months (emergency surgery) on top of being benched for 2 months at the beginning of that same year.
Fellow IBMers, there is life after IBM, take the money and use all of the benefits and before long if you are flexible, you will see that grass is indeed greener elsewhere.
I and six high-performing employees, all women in their 40s and 50s, were "RA'd" in 2013. At the time, we were among the top technical leaders in software group social media marketing, training others on the latest techniques in social, mobile, and analytics, so the propaganda about IBM needing to upgrade skills is complete BS.
I was also forced to hire brand new college hires right before the firing of my best experienced people. Do you think we are recommending IBM technology in our new companies?
Virtually all corporations play these games to suck the life out of the young, fresh ones. And when they are tired and burned out (5-7 years?) they get laid off and replaced by a fresh batch of gullibles...at lower pay.
Bring back trade unions.
Might be good business in the short term, but in the long term it's a terrible way to run a society.
Of the large group laid off, most were over 50, with a smattering of 20 year olds so that the average cleared them of ageism claims. After being told I was a 3, none of the executives I had worked with for years would return my calls. They also blacklist you so you can't find another job in the company. I wish I had joined any of the class action suits that came up over the 11 years instead of being loyal.
Working 50 -70 hours a week, getting "A" ratings on every project review, surpassing financial targets, having clients who love you - it all means nothing to this company. Glad I'm out.
Wish I jumped ship years earlier though. I hope that all the new folks can find jobs. I was out of work for a year and will be paying off that debt for years to come. This is not your father's IBM, that company died years ago. This is just another outsourcing company with tricky salesmen, the best lawyers money can buy, and contracts that can't be broken.
Whatever you do, don't get down on yourselves for being laid off. The work you did was probably excellent, IBM just didn't deserve you. Best of luck from someone who has been there!
Second, employee performance is influenced by the match between their capabilities, the needs of the job and the ability of their managers to make that match. All too often, poor performance means bad management. Third, if IBM wishes to dismiss the lower 20 percent of its employees, it should start with the HR Department and then be rid of its management. Fourth, this example of corporate incompetence probably means that its stock market value will increase.
To IBM Management: You are the problem. You directly caused this. You will be held responsible. Shame.
To the IBM workers: You are the heroes. The sooner you emotionally divorce IBM, the sooner you will recover and find someone who values you.
It is not that IBM can't afford to provide instant coffee or support employee training. It is that IBM management is consumed by so much greed.
IBM's reductions at every turn reflect how little it values its people. Ironically IBM's divesting in its people is now hurting its clients, business outlook and making it likely that a start-up will knock it out of the game.
At a time when Big Blue is cutting its cloth according to the new era of cloud, mobility, social, analytics and security by chopping thousands of job, the CEO got a bumper pay deal.
An SEC filing showed Ginni Rometty and her generals each pocketed millions for 2014 despite the company reporting top-line declines for 11 consecutive quarters and a sliding market cap.
The filing showed Rometty took home a bonus of $3.6m (she refused one in 2013, citing disappointment at the company's output) on top of on top of $1.6m in wages and a $5m incentive target: a total cash wad of $10.2m. ...
Not wanting her team to feel left out, chief beancounter Martin Shroeter, software and systems bigwig Steve Mills and senior veep John Kelly also received salaries averaging $723,000 each, plus an average cash bonus of $747,000 and average bonuses of $976,000.
Calendar Q4 topped off a relatively awful year for IBM. Sales slipped 12 per cent in the quarter to $24.1bn and were down 5.7 per cent for the 12 months. Net profit was down 11.3 per cent in the quarter to $5.5bn and down 27.1 per cent to £12bn for the year. The share price is down 14 per cent on last year. ,,,
The bumper pay deal enjoyed by Rometty and others in the exec team have understandably gone down very badly with staff, some of whom are heading for the exit. Workers have taken to the Alliance@IBM blog, an employee organisation, to vent their anger.
“If there is anyone left who doubts the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of this company just look at the huge bonuses the execs are giving themselves and compare it to the way they are treating everyone else in the organisation,” said one.
Selected reader comments follow:
Skill is not the word I would apply to what I have seen of IBM lately. Past feats of engineering are replaced with slap dash shoddiness. IBM is a name that once represented something meaningful. Unfortunately too many suckers, I mean stockholders, and the disconnected people of the C-suite think it still does. It is just a label that you affix to something to justify the higher price.
As for Ginni and her pals, why would they give a shit either? They're driving the company into the ground and getting the payouts from doing so. Do you really think they're going to care that there's going to be no more IBM at the end of the decade?
There are many ways to spin a work force reduction. Here’s how one IBMer source (I have dozens) explained the tricks to me this morning:
“If you’re following the Endicott Alliance discussion board (an organization of IBM workers) you know that they are only ‘officially’ laying off several thousand (maybe 12K I’m guessing), but others are being pushed out by being given poor performance ratings. This includes people on their ‘bridge to retirement’ program that took that option, thinking it kept them ‘safe’ from resource actions (layoffs/firings). There is a loophole that says they can be dismissed for ‘performance’ reasons, which is exactly why many of my long-time, devoted, hard working peers are suddenly getting the worst rating, a 3. It’s so they can be dismissed without any separation package and no hit to the RA, or workforce rebalancing, fund…
It used to be something like 10 percent of employees ‘had’ to be labeled 3′s, but recently the required number of 3′s was way, way upped according to some managers. So that’s how they are doing it…
Some managers have teams of hard working people that put in tons of overtime and do everything they are asked, and by requirement some must be given 1′s, some 2+, some 2, and unfortunately some 3′s…
They also got rid of some employees by ‘stuffing’ them into the Lenovo x86 acquisition, shipping tons of people over there that never even worked on x86 stuff. Lenovo has discovered this and has given some of them a way better package (year salary and benefits), and taking it up quietly with IBM.” ...
Another source told me the plan was to give the people notice before January 28th so they would be off the books by the end of February — one month. That implies a lot of firings, offshore staff reductions, contractors released or strongly motivated early retirements. None of those are layoffs. There will probably be lots of normal layoffs, too, with the required notice. I’m told that senior managers throughout IBM have been pleading for the last few months with higher-up executives not to go through with this because of the risk of consequences such as IBM “breaking” accounts or failing to meet contract obligations. IBM’s customers are going to be the biggest casualty to this week’s staff reductions. That is the message IBM is likely trying to avoid.
Selected reader comments follow:
IBM first split personnel management from task management a few years ago and Palmisano exaggerated that split. Regardless of the quality of the real job being done by a ‘resource’, the PBC rating applied by the PDM – ‘personnel development manager’ – at the annual review has been managed from the top to enforce the percentage of headcount for whom salary increases / promotions could apply.
The move from a broad distribution of review dates based on the anniversary date of staff employment (The old A&C – ‘Appraisal and Counselling’ – system) to an annual orchestrated corporate HR action – the PBC review – gave the company a major tool in the accounting calendar with which to ‘manage cost’.
It also, incidentally, provided a serious distraction during the critical year end period while ‘resources’ were forced to focus on soliciting their own peer review feedback and providing feedback on others.
Re-numbering the ratings from 1,2,3,4 to 1,2+, 2,3 was a childish attempt to disguise the resource engineering that was going on. In the meantime, ‘task management’ went out of the window. Good technical leaders found themselves ‘offered’ additional PBC Objectives to act as PDMs for increasingly large groups of resources, often in unrelated areas of the organisation. If the technical leaders declined this offer, they’d find their own ratings slipping from 2+ to 2 (2 to 3 in ‘old money’).
These same technical leaders found themselves increasingly swamped by the enormity of the problems caused by ‘three tier’ – onshore/nearshore/offshore – delivery, with tier 1 working frantically onshore to clean up the undisciplined mess often delivered by tier 3 offshore. Those who, in the interests of the customer, found themselves working on such un-costed and consequently unbillable activity would find their overall ratings suppressed still further as a result.
I’m old enough to remember the once great corporate ethic of ‘Respect for the Individual’. Akers may have had flaws, but the extent of self-destruction on Palmisano’s watch was eye-watering. A tough act to follow and an even tougher one to recover from. Good luck, Ginni.
The broader issue for IBM, HP and CSC or any other US based services company is that their cost structure is too high and they are continually losing ground to the Indian pure plays. There is no good answer available to compete and these companies are headed for the path US manufacturing was led down – specialized or custom work staying in the US and everything that smells like a commodity is offshore. The same is happening in Outsourcing services.
I don’t necessarily blame IBM for it efforts to compete but it treats US workers like children and isn’t honest about their futures or lack thereof. The same thing is happening at IBM’s US competitors – HP of note. Between Mark Hurd and Meg Whitman – over 100K people have lost their jobs. Since I now work for HP – I can say that HP is about 3- 4 years behind IBM and sadly will take the same path.
IBM is a schizophrenic world: those on the gravy train, middle/upper management and sales, who think that this is forever the best of all possible IBMs…and the people who invent, produce and fix, the worker bees, who have a *much* more jaundiced view. Namely that the profiteers there are running the business into the ground, destroying its ability to produce product and serve the customers, looking to make a bundle and get out before the whole thing falls down around their ears.
In a way, *any* blog on IBM is a cheap shot, liking firing at the broadside of the barn from three feet: a bull’s eye every time
IBM's not being shy about why it's making new investments in Egypt: its canned statement about the new facility features the CEO of the Egyptian Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) bragging about his nation's “... low cost, skilled talent pool … accent-free multi-lingual capabilities, as well as its strong technical competencies.”
IBM says it plans to hire 800 people in Egypt, as part of an effort to “ transform the way IBM digitally engages with clients and business partners across 70 countries in the region.” That transformation will see “A specialized IT sales force will provide services to IBM clients in Arabic, English, French and Portuguese”.
While all that's going on in the land of the Pharaohs, former IBM staff are complaining that the company is pursuing them for tiny sums after it fires them.
Edited posts to a site maintained by the Union covering IBM members offer up tales such as a staffer being sent a bill for US$21. Figuring out why his former employer felt it was owed such a sum took several hours of IBM time, a rich irony given the company's drive to cut costs. Another post tells of a request to a recently-fired staffer for a $534 payment, to correct an error IBM made.
Selected reader comments follow:
Rometty was given the financial boost despite the fact IBM revenues and profits declined in 2014.
"Like rubbing salt in a wound the news today is that CEO Rometty will be getting a $3 million dollar bonus," Alliance@IBM said in a statement issued after the Rometty financial package details were disclosed in a regulatory filing.
The quarterly earnings calls are curiously synthetic, almost antiseptic affairs, run by the CFO and focused strictly on the numbers: on the revenue number, on the cash flow number, on the share buyback number, and on the earnings number. In particular, the per share earnings number.
The CEO never graces the call, and no actual business operators discuss their business. No success stories are told, no customers highlighted. It is all about margins and currencies and so-called one-time charges and so-called one-time gains, and tax rates, and how all those things added up to the earnings per share that quarter.
Pros: Great people to work with and, being a large company, you can find a number of great opportunities to grow. There are also employers who will look at experience with IBM favorably when evaluating you for employment.
Advice to Senior Management: Try to actually live 1-3-9. You have great employees all over the world and too many good ones are unmotivated and leaving for better opportunities. You have great customers who suffer from poor products and poor execution and in both cases IBM just doesn't care. Financial engineering and earnings per share is all that matters. Now we see the company chasing the CAMMS business where it is already behind the curve and where margins are eventually going to be razor thin. I was beaten down and just couldn't take it anymore. By caring just a little about who does the work and caring about the customer, people like me would go to the ends of the earth for your company.
Pros: Relationships with coworkers, and clients. They are flexible with Dr visits and working from home when needed.
Advice to Senior Management: Change the rating system to a more modern one, give pay raises, listen to those in the trenches, don't use lay offs as a motivator, make your managers accountable for their actions.
Pros: Lots of the work can be done remotely with plenty of tools to allow for success. Benefits are better than average.
Advice to Senior Management: Build up infrastructure with focus on improving end-to-end customer support and engagement. Foster an environment to retain talent across the organization rather than rebalance/replace within siloed groups/divisions on a regular basis. Focus on building long-term value thru customer and resource retention rather than short-term gains.
Pros: The company has a lot of talented people — the Software Group consists largely of acquired companies, and the people bring with them a passion for the products they work on. My complaints about IBM have nothing to do with the quality of its employees.
Work schedule is fairly flexible and benefits are decent. Office space in Littleton, MA was reasonably nice, though all cubes.
Cons: IBM seems to have a "resource action" (massive layoff) every year, regardless of whether or not the company is profitable. Additionally, their review process has "quotas" for each rating, meaning that even the very solid performers can go for years without getting a raise, and good people are "set up" with poor reviews only to be cut in the next round of layoffs. Though that never happened to me, I saw it happen repeatedly to co-workers: good, talented people.
Things aren't any better for the people left behind after all of these cuts — people who leave (whether via attrition or layoffs) are not replaced, and projects are under-resourced and people overworked. And you have to watch as good people are given their walking papers, wondering when it'll be you.
IBM also talks about "work-life integration" as opposed to "work-life balance," implying flexibility in work schedules, when what it really means is having to do phone meetings at 6:00 AM or 9:00 PM, if working with people in radically different time zones, which seems to be the rule rather than the exception as IBM offshores more and more of its US jobs. Overall, it creates a toxic environment that crushes the spirit out of people who have a lot to give.
Advice to Senior Management: Reward and retain your talented people. That includes the good solid performers that make up most of the software group, not just the 1% at the top.
Cons: Leadership is solely focused on Earnings Per Share, and not on customers or employees. There are undisclosed yearly layoffs ("workforce rebalancing") of around 10% per year, and stacked (forced-distribution) ranking, which is used to justify cuts where the earnings are not performing as desired, and to shift the workforce to cheaper labor by off-shoring jobs and hiring new grads. This is resulting in plummeting employee morale, engagement, and loyalty.
The drive to increase speed and cost savings removes any pride in the quality of work you do, or the feeling of empowerment to be able to do a good job.
Leadership responds to any negative feedback by blaming employees with a "beatings will continue until morale improves" philosophy. If you want a good sense of what employees are really thinking, go to the IBM Alliance web site, which is the only place to get any sense of the yearly bloodshed.
There is a general consensus that IBM engages in age-discrimination by "resource actioning" a disproportionate number of employees over 50. However, the company has changed it's reporting process so that it is impossible to prove this in court (after having been successfully sued in the past for this practice).
Advice to Senior Management: Stop focusing on arbitrary EPS targets. Focus on customers and quality, and stop treating your employees like numbers on a spreadsheet. Your employees are smart — they can figure out what is really going on, no matter how much money you pour into propaganda videos.
Pros: I've worked here for over 15 years, and my co-workers are top-notch. I've had about 10 managers. I would say 4 were great, 4 very good, and none 'bad'.
Cons: Cost-cutting measures to cut people with experience, and replace with low-cost non-experienced contractors to save a dime, has cost IBM millions. It slows our response to clients in so many ways, and our quotes need to be checked 18 times for accuracy. Changes to our processes and people happen so often, never really sure what the 'right' way is, or who to ask. Many of our key internal tools are ancient, and IBM will not invest any money to update or improve them. Our business laptops are old and slow.
Advice to Senior Management: Mindless cost-cutting to meet a magic yearly cost number is very short-sighted. Although you believe you can measure the cost savings, your clueless to all the money being lost by the impact of the cuts.
Pros: Your are in the same positions as 80% of your colleagues.
Cons: The upper and middle management is useless and incompetent. They have built a nepotism culture around themselves to hide their incompetence and the results they never have achieved. Projects/accounts are not managed by the best for the job but of those who have been the best to profile themselves in the crony layers of management. The result is that customers are delivered outdated solutions supported by underpaid and under-skilled IBM'ers (graduates, Indians, Filipinos etc), adding nothing to customers' value creation.
IBM Denmark has not been able to build a business around the major acquisitions that were made 10 years ago. In reality these acquisitions have only been used as cash cows, milking the customers that came to IBM. Customers have since fled from IBM because of the extremely poor quality of deliveries from IBM to extra ordinary high prices.
Most of the employees in IBM Denmark don't agree with the managerial decisions and the culture that have been build up inside IBM in the last decade.
It is clear to most that the decline of IBM Denmark will continue and the management-related initiatives have made matters worse for IBM and its customers. As an employee or customer it is time to leave a company that once could and would live up to its own values.
Advice to Senior Management: At least 50% of the management must go. Otherwise the fall and decline of IBM will continue. Sorry.
Pros: My teammates who are typically smart and hardworking and frequently considered to be industry experts. Option to work out of home office was nice.
Cons: Miserable morale and loss of respect for employees. Shifting people out of the business when their skills and knowledge of how to get things done will be lost forever. Recent restructuring created many new senior exec jobs just before the Resource Action which eliminated many lower-level employees. Employees were given low performance ratings to ensure they do not get their bonus on the way out the door, however, senior execs will all get bonuses this year.
Advice to Senior Management: Very poor actions and employee relations demonstrated in Jan 2015: massive restructuring. Employees find out through instant messaging who their new manager/org will be, followed by unprecedented low PBC ratings, resource actions and then announcements of executive raises and bonuses. How many of us will recommend to our children, families, neighbors? I was not RA'd but I will not work in such a company any longer. Absolutely the work environment I have ever worked in.
Pros: With over 30 years experience here, about the only thing that still falls into the realm of PRO is decent flexibility for remote workers.
Cons: In the last decade, internal education classes have gone from best of breed to non-existent. Benefits have been cut across the board. The PBC ranking has gone from a reasonable performance-based system to just a curved ranking system to build the next layoff candidate list. Very few raises, little opportunity for internal advancement. And finally, a petty cost management system that's reached the point where employees must not only supply their own office supplies, but their own monitors and keyboards too. IBM provides one laptop and charger, which are now on a 4-year replacement cycle.
Advice to Senior Management: Bring back real education; current Think40 options are just advertising pitches. Bring back at least some recognition of employee's worth, and be more open in communicating with them. It's a week after the most recent RA cycle has begun, and our team has yet to hear if we are effected or not. And fix the PBC system. With the current ranking method in place, there is no incentive to assist team members with issues — it only helps them compete against you when positions are stacked at the end of the year.
Pros: Some really sharp and innovative people. They acquire some really great companies. Scope to move around within IBM. Great to have it on your CV.
Cons: Layer upon later of soul-crushing pointless managers. They destroy some really great acquisitions. Lots of people who have made a career out of sending emails full of the latest buzzwords and having meetings about having meetings.
Advice to Senior Management: Get rid of all the bureaucracy and encourage the innovation and agility that you pay lip service to. Stop culling employees — it creates an awful culture.
Pros: There are no pros to working at a company that devalues employees, bullies you into working 80 hours a week. Only good ones left are so burnt out they don't have the energy to update their resumes.
Advice to Senior Management: Board of directors needs to eliminate every level of management and above
Pros: Very good base pay for technical sales coming out of school. Work from home.
Cons: Used to have odd bonus structure in which you didn't know whether you would get a bonus or how much you would get. Now it's still unclear, but at least it's directly tied to sales.
Lack of growth—very hard to get promotions unless you get lucky and are put onto large accounts that are making the company lots of money.
Horrible processes that require employees to track every task they do with clients. This task input takes a lot of time and is time wasted.
IBM is hiring a ton of new people out of college to get rid of the older people, then they are laying off the older resources and also laying off the new resources, stretching the workforce thin.
Almost impossible to move around in the company if you are technical.
Pros: Great benefits. If you are young you can make it for a little while; just be sure your division is mentioned in annual report to shareholders.
Cons: Doesn't care about employees; layoffs every year (sometimes twice a year); slow at being innovative; cares about IBM bottom line NEVER employee; rarely get pay increases.
Advice to Senior Management:Get back to putting "trust and personal responsibility in ALL relationships". You can start by caring for YOUR employees. Employees spend more time worried if they will have a job instead of doing their job. Employees run a business, so care for them before your bottom line. Don't be a bunch of greedy pigs; eventually you will get slaughtered.
Pros: IBM has health benefits and vacation days, and many of the people I work with are top notch.
Cons: The vacation days will be hard to take due to demands of the job, and for every vacation day you do take, plan to work 8 hours unpaid overtime to make up your "utilization". The people who are not top notch are incompetent at their work, and they make work for the top notch employees who are frustrated. Once hired do not expect more than a 1% raise and not every year.
Advice to Senior Management: The C-level execs should resign and allow the employees to run the company.
Pros: Work from home, great benefits, lots of travel. If you are a go-getter you will learn a lot! Met some great and some not-so-great people.
Cons: The most messed up treatment of employees. Disparate management styles (or lack there of). It's all about productivity and making contacts. NOT about merit or skills. You spend most of your time kissing up to the few people that actually have the work and hope they share with you. In some cases you will see people with the same skills as you working 125% of the time while you sit home with nothing to do. I was praised in my first year, got a raise, got a good rating and made some good contacts, but some how I got let go. Then they tell you "no worries" you can find a job internally! BULL!
Look, if you are a seasoned consultant or a newbie looking to learn — go for it but expect no longevity unless you get lucky enough to meet the right person or have the specific skill that Ginnie has decided to go after this week. I went through 3 managers, 4 departments and changed my direction and business focus 2 times.
Advice to Senior Management: 1) Instead of kissing up to the stakeholders, try a little resource management. Senior managers are managing to the market and line managers are totally clueless! 2) Stop the ridiculous internal charging. If you really want to do this right create functional teams that can work together to — hey- deliver a good product!
Pros: Excellent salary for a first job out of college, great benefits for a young single person, 3 weeks paid-time off to start. I am lucky in that most of my team is on site and so I have many people with ample experience to help me. Some really interesting stuff is happening — if you can get on the right team. Depending on the manager, generally able to work from home frequently and flexible hours. Seems to be lots of opportunity to move around in the company.
Cons: Culture is seriously lacking and morale is generally mediocre. The population skews older, with young people struggling to meet each other. Location is outside of Boston, so for those relocating getting started on a social life is hard. Tons of "blue tape" to get anything done. Rating system that determines bonuses seems broken and criteria seems to vary from manager to manager. A definite sense of being resigned, or even cynicism, from a lot of employees, makes you question where things are going and if you should stick around.
Advice to Senior Management: I have no advice to them.
Pros: A lot of flexibility, good people, and a good helping of interesting work, work/life balance is good.
Cons: Lacking any focus or direction at all levels. Graduate program, which I am currently on, is frankly appalling, and provides little or no useful support to someone starting out on their career. Over burdened with nonsensical processes and let down by an incredibly arbitrary review system.
Advice to Senior Management: Start recognizing the value of people to your organization and get your head round the fact if you don't then those quarterly results that seem so important are going to end up in the toilet.
The leader of my group that made the decision to let me go let two women and a black man go last year (in total). I have an MBA and tons of experience and have always always been successful and well regarded in other companies. I had far better signings numbers than the male partners that were kept. In fact one had zero for signings and the other had 500k. I had 3.2m.
I took all the CAMS training and am conversant in IBM's assets yet I am also not allowed to be considered for the new business units, again in spite of strong pbc results and email accolades from over 7 senior people. A company that cannot make the best use of the talent they have and allow age and gender bias is not an ethical company. -Anonymous-
During the tenure of Mr. Gerstner this IBM principle was progressively cancelled, substituted by the word "execution". Many high-level managers felt authorized to consider their colleagues as servants to be dismissed without personal consideration for any "business reason"; if not they were to be fired for missing execution.
Today managerial tools like teamwork, performance appraisal, proper rewarding, internal communication, are considered useless and even time consuming. Workforce is a commodity all around the world. Manager/employee communication is a mere loss of time. Selfishness and lack of strategic business views are the main qualities of present top managers. They do not want even to consider that employee dedication, professional growth, teamwork, respect, pride in the company are the real ingredients for long term business success. My best wishes to all RA's around the world and good luck. -Pier Luigi Salvini-
My family has been happier than ever since I left this grave. Should IBM value good employees, it should raise their salaries instead of drip-feeding them year by year with retentions. Ahh, our mighty Ginni just got a *proper* recognition including a nice pay raise and millions in bonus. I *hope* Ginni can sleep well receiving such perks by shedding the blood of the hundreds of thousands *resources* working hard to survive.
While typing this, I kinda realized the logic of *performance reward* IBM follows - whoever manages to sink the ship the fastest gets rewarded the most. No wonder why Ginni and her close acquaintances are getting bloated wallets. Good job! IBM management will no doubt achieve target - sinking the once legendary IBM ship to the very bottom of the deep *blue* sea. Sigh!!! -Resurrected_From_Hell-
I know I am in a better space than a lot of the people on the site as this is not the IBM I joined in 1979. So I am ready to go with head held high anyway. I just want to wish everyone affected by this the best of luck and remind them not to define themselves by this RA process. They are far better than this.
In my time I have worked with some incredibly talented and inspirational people at IBM, probably some of the people who have already commented on this site !! One thing I remember well was the guy that gave me my first managers role in 1989. He refused to use the term "resource" and used to fine us $1 if we used it in meetings. He always said "they have names, or collectively they are our people and we will use one of those descriptions from now on".
So I will say to our people (still in fear of the fine), move on when the time is right for you to do so, and to leave this life lesson in the rear view mirror, for you are so much better than this. For the people who remain, good luck, but I would consider joining the Alliance in some form to protect yourselves. You will need an effective tool in your arsenal sometime soon.
I have never felt the need to join one, and now its too late, but the last few years has taught me that this is a ruthless world and exec team. The timing of the pay raise, $3.6M bonus and a bucket full of shares after missing the targets and you walk with 6 months pay or less speaks volumes! The bodies are not even cold so to speak. I found out about this site from a colleague a few months ago and have been watching the last few weeks with interest as the thing unraveled. I will make a donation to the site. Thanks and Goodbye -Readytomoveon-
Also does anyone know if our medical insurance will cover us through the end of the year if we get let go after our PIP? (I have medical conditions which I need it for and am unsure how to proceed if I get let go.) I feel like my management is completely lacking of any direction and are only retaining the people who chose to be yes men instead of the actual talent and looking to replace us with cheaper labor. I look around and the only ones left are the ones that never challenge the direction because something can be done a better way or always do what they are told. -Anonymous-
Alliance reply: IBM has been playing this game for years. The WARN notifications are local and IBM keeps the number of cuts at a given time under the threshold limit per resource action. We used to rely on the RA packs that IBM gave to terminated workers that list the age/title/number cut at a given business unit. They no longer do that. We need sources inside IBM that know the cuts to let us know. Help break the secrecy.
Alliance reply: First of all thank you for joining the Alliance. As far as media reports, Google Alliance@IBM or IBM job cuts and you will see lots of coverage.
Six months after she got rid of 4 people all in their 50’s and 60’s in her dept she left. I heard she is now a pastor; what a joke.
IBM bought us from another company and our severance was grandfathered in for 2 years. After the 2 years was up we were RA’d which means we only got 5 weeks’ severance and 1 person got 1 week severance. It doesn’t matter what is on your PBC they are just getting rid of old timers; Age discrimination “YES”.
I’m seeing the membership going up, but it should be going through the roof. One thing I did was file the petition with Trade/TRA and I got my 2 years of college paid for free.
I did make sure I kept notes and gave Trade in Washington DC all the dirty things IBM had did. BTW a couple of months after I left I had a lawyer call and talk to me about IBM and China I told them anything I knew, but that was very little. Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell everything you know after you are RA’D. People in numbers can move mountains and please spread the word to join the Alliance IBM. -Gone in 2013-
If you don't get a package, you'll get no transitional medical coverage, but I believe you'll still have access to the COBRA rate for 18 months. You and anyone else on a PIP should press your manager for details on what happens if you fail. Your manager is supposed to document your specific goals and what happens at the end of the PIP. I've been led to believe that people on a PIP will get the package if they fail, but I wouldn't count on that unless you get it in writing from your manager. -Survivor-
There isn't anymore PBC review process by an independent 3rd party, or the HR. Everything is manage by first and second line managers. -HRP-
Well what about companies that don’t have a union and gives the “Good Ole Boys” an excuse to hire and cover their friends that aren’t qualified for the job and don’t do any work?
Before IBM bought us, our company did not have a union and I saw innocent people fired for no reason except they didn’t like them.
The year I was let go we had one of the "good ole boys" being protected from upper management, moved into our dept, and after we were let go they moved this person again.
This employee made well over 100K while other employees made about 38K and were busting their rear-ends while this guy sat there or took walks.
The "good ole boy" at one time, was our manager, who couldn’t do the job (per his own words) so they moved him to another dept. so he didn’t have to do anything.
Hopefully this story will even get more people to join the union; membership should be going through the roof. Anyone who was not affected by the RA’s this time: Don’t think it’s over. Your time will be next and for the areas or cities not affected it will be coming and you need to make your voices heard. Enough is enough! -Gone in 2013-
With Ginni getting 3.6M in BONUS and a 16% raise they can't write off $534 even if it was their mistake! You wonder why the company is in the mess they are in. They are paying someone to send these letters and waste a lot of time for $530.00!
They also kept 20 days of unused vacation which they did not pay. Has anyone gotten these types of notifications after leaving the company? Also, by the way what was the highest pay raise you ever received? Most of my raises were 3 to 4%. Once in the mid 1980s I got a 10% in the good old days! Signed -Happy to be Gone-
Heard directly from an exec who was told she should not have children if she wanted her career to continue. Oh, there are so many stories.
As for me, I am a disabled American with a mentally ill child. This goes to show that IBM management cares nothing about their fellow humans. They care only about themselves and money. Oh, I met and exceeded all my performance commitments in 2014 and was rated 3. Will not sign off on that. I will sleep better at night NOT being an IBMer. -Anonymous-
IBM sent me a bill in August after I was gone for about 5 months for about $21.00 that appeared to be a monthly bill, after several back and forth calls over several days asking for the details I finally paid it. They said is could have been anything over the 18 years and that made no sense. Once again their mistake in accounting as something was not done correct. Never got a specific answer, but they spent hours trying to track down the details of about $21.00.
Interesting to see the job openings on ibm.com usually during layoffs the jobs are frozen and you can not transfer to another position. IBM wants more H1B workers because there is no talent in the US — makes no sense. -bobcat-
This is the public jobs site: https://jobs3.netmedia1.com/cp/faces/job_search and if that doesn't work go to ibm.com and search for jobs. -Maxwell Smart-
Some folks left, but some folks may have had family, obligations, etc, that did not allow them to just pick up and move to another state at the drop of a hat following another job. But there comes a point when IBM has pushed all they can, and the best performers (and, by association, usually the highest-paid) wouldn't quit and leave on their own (often because of a clause in the contract that says you can't go back to work for who you contracted to for 6 months) - so they found another loophole - give the 3's, make up reasons why, or saddle them with completely unrealistic and unattainable goals, so you can fire them and withhold all or part of the severance package.
Oh, and give some of them the package, and also fire a few younger ones or put them on PIP, so you can argue that wasn't really the case. Would be interesting to find out in a couple months, how many of the older/higher-paid people put on a PIP were"unable" to meet the requirements for continued employment vs how many of the younger/lower-paid ones WERE "able" to improve? -IBM = Idiots Become Managers-
I was hired in as a B9, 58 at the time of my RA and had 13 years longevity. Do the math - I know it was age discrimination. I know what IBMers are going through I was broken and devastated. Please reach out to me — if I can help you in any way! There are certain things I found out by living the nightmare of IBM HR and being involved in an RA. I would have filed a complaint but thought IBM had all law actions covered by giving me a 3. I know right now you are feeling many emotions but - There is life after IBM -- Believe me! -Gina M-
I also received my retirement gift of Maui Jim sunglasses, $1500 for career retraining to be used within a year and Ginny's congratulations letter. Not a bad package overall considering they do not have to give you anything, but it still sucks after 18 years often with zero pay raises and looking for a new job at 55.
I even had to take a cut in base pay from a base salary with no bonus to base salary with a bonus plan, if you do that a few times in your career, switching back and forth you make less base pay after years of service than when you started since you have to give up 10% of your base pay each time you switch to a bonus plan. All I have seen in 18 years was cuts in benefits constantly, with no upside. -bobcat-
Positions are all located in Greater NY Area (northern NJ, NYC, ) For more information, call Roz Mallin at 212-993-8000 x216. Send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org -Anonymous-
Best of luck to you all — at least the economy is doing better. Lots of opportunity here in Seattle. -exBeemer2012-
Alliance reply: Anyone with information on the use of landed resources in IBM USA please send to email@example.com. We need to push back hard on this. IBM US workers should not be fired and replaced with landed resources.
Notice the title of the slide deck and the targeted questions all specifying the "U.S. Workforce." I guess when you poll the members of your own lobbyist group (and likely other elite C-Suite level folks from other companies that may not be members) on a supposed issue impacting their companies, using carefully crafted questions and then massage those results to gain sympathetic responses from the politicians you're presenting to, one can certainly see how the tweaks of the laws regarding H1B visas (allowing more, extending durations, relaxing acceptance criteria, etc.) are being pushed to occur/are occurring.
For reference, another article on Business Roundtable: Why Obama, execs relished each other's company -- http://www.cnbc.com/id/102239702 "To begin with, the Roundtable is the white-glove business lobby for the biggest of the big." -@N0NYm0U$-
It's about money without consideration for impact to employee's confidence, self-esteem, and health. It is really stressful to be put through the 3-check PIP, and IBM is just PURE SCUM for doing this to its employees. Just give them a regular RA, but don't try to tell us that our performance is under par. -Anonymous-
I think IBM is counting on individuals not challenging this, and I get the "at will" no contract stuff. But collectively, I think you all may be able to make a little noise and perhaps even get this decision reversed. There may yet be some decent person in the exec chain that can point this out. I doubt Ginni even knows about it. This is an HR/Finance ploy to make a number and get a bonus. -Anonymous-
I've been talking to people and becoming aware that there is a group out there in this 'limbo' state that hasn't received their PBC ratings yet. It sounds like this poster is one of them, and was just let go without even that formality. Are there others of you that haven't received PBC ratings yet for 2014? They were supposed to be in Jan 27. Nothing like living every day and trying to work under this kind of stress. Maybe this is yet another Project Chrome tactic to stagger these firings out so they are less visible to the media and clients. -WaitingForACallFromMyManager-
The "Workforce Centers" may be also called "American Job Centers."
Be sure to ask your counselor if your job loss is already covered (or might be petitioned to cover) training and assistance provided by the Trade Adjustment Act (TAA). The TAA has been providing assistance to US workers after a trade-related layoff since 2002.
Overview of the TAA program (up to two years of job training tuition, income, and supplies): www.doleta.gov/tradeact/docs/program_brochure2014.pdf
No need to wait. Contact or visit a center as soon as you receive your RA notification. -Anonymous-
You damn well see this trend and I am right in the sweet spot. Turning 55 in June and been at IBM for 18 years ago last November. I knew I was in the cross hairs and as soon as I got the unfounded PBC 3 was certain of it. When I got the urgent meeting notice with FLM I figured that the PIP thing was not the option and the "don't let the door hit you in the ass" was for sure. I figured I was on a list to save money because in June when turning 55 I was eligible for FHA. After a lot of frustration and disappointment I started going thru the package and saw something about a "Bridge to Retirement" option. It took 3 calls to the employee service center to finally get an onshore knowledgeable guy who provided me with the one little piece of good news.
I can take the Bridge option (which is basically like an unpaid leave of absence but still accrues time with IBM) and it will get me from Feb 27th(my last day) thru my birthday in June until the end of that month and thereby qualifying me to be eligible for my FHA account(about 33K BTW). He did day something about needing to fill out the Bridge To Retirement Form (one of many in the package) and it needed to be evaluated and approved. Hopefully not another disappointment coming because of some concocted HR loophole. Just an FYI for the large amount of us in my age group being discriminated against by being kicked out. Good luck to all of us "Sacrificial Lambs" -Sacrificial Lamb-
Sometime in November, likely mid to late in the month, the online tool will be loaded with the rates for 2016. If you use the online tool in Net Benefits late in November, you should be able to compare if your annuity payment is higher for a BCD in 2015 (i.e. Dec 1, 2015) OR higher if you wait and have your BCD January 1, 2016, for example. The rates are reset each year, and you will lock in for life at whatever rate was used for the year you commence benefits (your BCD). Even if you call Nov 30 and tell them you are retiring THAT day, they have to honor the date you select, and will make payments retroactive to your BCD. I don't want to 'eat' another drop in the rate of return so I don't plan to lock in on my date until I see the 2016 rates. Do your homework in advance so you know what decisions regarding retiree benefits you need to make i.e. medical, % of FHA you want to spend on premiums, etc.
If you are using the online tool, you should also ensure you are lowering the future credit rate displayed to a more likely number...it defaults to 6%. I set it to 1%. This is the interest being paid on the balance of your account each year it sits there. The historic return has been laughable...closer to 1% for years now.
It is critical to set this to a value based on current interest rates (near 0) to get a realistic picture of the lump sum and thus annuity payments if your planned BCD is several years out. Remember though, you will not know an exact payout until they have set the annuity rates in late November for the next year. The assumptions PDF generated when you run a scenario from Net Benefits contains a lot of detail you should read. You should also call and speak to someone and get your questions answered. You will be speaking to someone from Fidelity, NOT someone from HR or IBM. I have found they provide very straight-forward. answers. -ReadYourPlanInfo-
Alliance is doing a good job. I think that the Alliance staff wishes to continue helping IBMers, members or not, through their RA or firing. However, there's much more to organizing than just joining, paying dues and reading these comment sections. Based on the thermometer number, there is a desire to help Alliance@IBM grow. That thermometer needs to rise even faster. Growth includes getting the word out, and yes, even going public with your membership. Alliance has never forced anyone to go public and they never will; but they have mentioned it as a strategy that could really work well, if enough members, went public inside IBM.
The NLRB recently ruled that employees can use the employer's email system to organize on *non-work* times. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/12/business/ruling-lets-work-email-be-used-to-organize-unions.html?ref=business&smid=tw-nytimesbusiness&_r=1
And "protected concerted activity" information is invaluable for staying on course, while organizing. Members should read this link: http://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/protected-concerted-activity
As members, the best use of that is, be public inside IBM, and then begin contacting other IBMers (non-management) on your lunch break or coffee break or any *non-work* times. This could expand the membership quickly. More actions could be taken to show IBM that IBM employees are fighting back with numbers and determination. I suggest that members contact Alliance staff for a list of organizing steps and strategies that must be used, and what NOT to do, for legal reasons. There will be push back, resistance, and union busting tactics from IBM to shut down the organizing movement.
Alliance@IBM is CWA Local 1701. CWA will be available for advice and council when the situation requires. There are federal and state labor laws in our favor; but they only go so far. Just be sure that if you are in doubt about any action you want to take, contact the Alliance first and make sure it's legal, BEFORE you do it. If we do this as a group and coordinate several groups all over the US, we CAN be effective and we CAN win. Let's do this! -A_long_term_member-
This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.