The severance package changes were contained in a January 2016 update. Previously when IBM offered early retirement the severance was a maximum of 6 months pay. Now severance is one month.
Here's the key excerpt from the IBM document obtained by ZDNet that outlines terms of the IBM Separation Allowance Plan:
The separation allowance payment available under the Individual Separation Allowance Plan, regardless of the circumstance under which ISAP is offered, is one month of pay.
For employees covered by IBM's Growth Driven Profit-sharing program or on any type of sales or services incentive plan or any special program which is offered in lieu of the IBM Growth Driven Profit-sharing program, the one month of pay made under ISAP is paid in a lump sum, using the employee's base pay amount (also known as reference salary).
(full or part time).
Any separation allowance payment under any of IBM's plans is in lieu of any other form of separation pay to which the employee is, may, or might have become entitled. An individual separation allowance is not an automatic entitlement and will not accrue or be paid for reasons other than those listed above. No separation allowances under any of IBM's plans will accrue if an employee has outstanding indebtedness to IBM or debts for which IBM may be responsible.
However, if an employee makes arrangements satisfactory to IBM to repay any such outstanding debts, a separation allowance may be paid. Indebtedness to IBM could include, but is not limited to, a debit commission balance, an IBM US Mobility Plan equity loan, an unpaid balance on an installment purchase of an IBM product, credit card debt, excess tax loan, an outstanding travel expense account or failure to return IBM-owned property.
In the event of rehire by IBM or any of its subsidiaries as a regular employee within 30 days after separation of employment with a payment under the Plan, IBM reserves the right to require repayment of the full ISAP payment.
Earlier this month, Conrad warned GTS could be sold off completely. He also announced that Alliance@IBM would be ceasing its activities after its member numbers collapsed as Big Blue shed employees.
Separately, Global Equities Research’s Trip Chowdhry issued a note to analysts suggesting that IBM could lay off a quarter of its 380,000-strong workforce this year, after suffering its 15th consecutive quarter of falling revenue.
Selected reader comments follow:
They don't call it redundancy in the US because that word infers that the jobs of those released were either not needed or duplicated by other employees. Neither of which is ever true. No, these employees are being shed because the expectations--demands--of stockholders cannot be met without dumping something. Common employees are the easiest thing to dump. IBM has gone -far- beyond shedding fat and has gotten deep into muscle and is sawing away at the very bones of the company. Has been for 20 years.
"I'm going to the bank, to deposit my $4.5-million bonus!"
For IBM shareholders, Ginni Rometty's four-year reign as chief executive officer hasn't been anything to go to Disneyland about. But her company has become a leader in one corporate category: board members willing to shovel incentive pay at a CEO turning in a mediocre performance.
Despite few signs of a turnaround in Big Blue's financial performance, the board awarded Rometty a bonus even higher than last year's $3.6 million, according to figures the company released Thursday. She'll be receiving $13.3 million in restricted shares, payable in 2019. She'll also be getting a stock option of 1.5 million shares. These will vest starting three years from now, and will be in the money as long as IBM shares have appreciated by at least 5% from their average price on the award date, which was Tuesday. ...
That stock price performance is not just bad. It's approaching Carly Fiorina bad. Fiorina took Hewlett-Packard's stock price down some 49% during her more than five years as CEO; since her firing in 2005 she hasn't had another corporate job and has been reduced to running for president. But Rometty is still in place at IBM, with no exit in sight. ...
Every proxy season brings a pile of cases like Rometty's--CEOs being overrewarded for underwhelming performance, based on metrics designed by their corporate boards to be either murky or unambitious, and thus easy to meet. Rometty's pay package, which was disclosed a few months ahead of the IBM proxy release, isn't even likely to be the most outsized in terms of performance. ...
There's no mystery about why a board of directors could consider Rometty's performance to be grounds for a raise: it's cultural. Ten of the 14 directors (other than Rometty herself) are current or former corporate CEOs themselves, as are three of the four members of the board's compensation committee. They're sterling representatives of America's CEO culture, which turns a blind eye to performance that warrants a pay cut, not to mention a firing, seeing it instead as "progress" toward a distant goal.
The directors each receive "retainers" of more than $250,000 to sit on the board. In the real world, that would be real money, payable for doing more than merely gripping their board seats with their prehensile behinds. (Thanks to George Orwell for the image.) ...
Put it all together, and it shows once again that the CEO economy is a different beast from the one the rest of us live in. You can stick your shareholders with a loss of more than one-third and still do just fine. If anyone needs a simple illustration of the roots of income inequality in our society, there's no need to look any further than that.
Selected comments concerning this article from the Watching IBM Facebook group follow:
Alliance@IBM - the effort to unionize IBMers - is closing down. But a new Facebook page titled "Watching IBM" organized by long-time Big Blue workers Lee Conrad vows to "fulfill the information gathering and dissemination that the Alliance did." ...
"Watching IBM will try to fulfill the information gathering and dissemination that the Alliance did but without the organizing aspect. If there comes a time where organizing does take place or people want information I will certainly help out."
Conrad is tenacious, to say the least. He has hardly been quiet since the Alliance shutdown was announced earlier this month. For example, he broke the news about IBM slicing severance packages to one month from a max of six months.
Despite years of frustration in trying to organize workers, he persists in being a voice for those who don't like what has happened at IBM.
It's clear Conrad is not going to be quiet. And if the initial reaction to the page is any indicator, he's going to have a lot of company in venting, disclosing information, discussing and venting about Big Blue.
Her base salary for 2015 remained unchanged at $1.6m, but the bonus swelled by $1m to $4.6m. Oh, and the long term incentives package (due to vest in 2019) was $13.3m, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. ...
The share stood at a proud $185 when Rometty took office, peaked at nearly $215 in November '14, but is currently a little under $124.
Clearly the board has bought into her vision of IBM's future, and it may well come good for IBM, but it hasn't yet.
Selected reader comments follow:
[I just finished laughing in dismay at a Notes dialog box I'd never met before. An ugly and incomplete attempt at mimicking the Windows dialog it could have used for free, with a text field that spilled narrowly over the edge of the frame, this being "fixed" by adding scroll bars to the whole dialog (rather than just sizing it usefully in the first place, or better yet making the dialog resizeable), and a menu-launching button bolted to the text caret, a blot moving across the screen with every keystroke and dwarfing the text I was writing. Modal dialog, of course. ]
And therein lies the problem. GDF was one of IBM's growth ideas after they tried and failed to own a big share of "productivity" software. Of course, just as the productivity adventure was crushed under IBM's relentless bureaucracy, so the benefits of outsourcing and offshoring turned out to be a mirage for both clients and IBM's investors. Cue panic at Armonk. Everybody runs round like headless chickens looking for the next bandwagon to pile onto. And then two (separate) words spring to mind: Security! Cloud!
In the security space, I'm unconvinced there's any credible proposition from IBM. And in cloud they're arriving at the party five years late, and the technology has bypassed them, and the pricing reached commodity levels.
Ultimately, IBM is like HP, General Motors or the old Motorola: A self serving, heavily siloed, lard arsed bureaucracy that is slowly withering for lack of entrepreneurship. Within all four companies they did enough R&D and product development to have saved themselves. But the cancer of bureaucracy is virtually impossible to remove once it gets hold, risk is forbidden, consensus trumps adventure, and the board play at corporate finance and M&A because that's easier than real work. And so we see a slow drift to irrelevance.
I work in business strategy, and all the time I see a battle between the forces of light (good ideas, passion, risk taking, entrepreneurship) and those of the dark side (inertia, complacency, risk aversion, sloth, bureaucracy). This battle goes on every day in any large business, but at IBM, the dark side has won.
It could yet be turned round, but it won't, because the management are entrenched and overly comfortable. They will mostly do very well out of the slow decline - why take a risk, or take on more hard work? And because of the way Wall Street works, even if the entire board were (quite reasonably) sacked without notice and without compensation, unfortunately their replacements would be exactly the same sort of C-suite leeches, with the same selfish values, the same lack of closeness to customers and markets, the same cluelessness, and the same contempt for shareholder value.
The fun of recording your time in 4 different systems — one to predict your hours for the next 4 weeks, one to record individual tasks units over the course of the day, one to record your actual hours and another that duplicates the second but with a different format (both with pre-defined task types based on a pre-defined role that you can change.) All of this data supposedly being analysed but just don't ask if you can see the analysis or ask how it's being used...
Dubbed Project Chrome internally at IBM, the process will see 26% of the company's workforce laid off in one fell swoop, meaning that 111,800 people could lose their jobs before the end of January based on IBM's global workforce of 430,000.
News of the job cuts come from veteran Silicon Valley reporter Robert X. Cringely, who recently published a book entitled The Decline and Fall of IBM. ...
Currently the record for the largest single corporate lay-off is also held by IBM, having fired more than 60,000 of its workforce in 1993, but this would be dwarfed if Cringely's predictions come true. ...
In light of all these financial issues and job culling, it was announced that Rometty would be pocketing a $4.5 million bonus plus millions in company stock for her performance in 2015.
In the USA mainframe and storage talent will see deep cuts. This is a bit short-sighted and typical for IBM. They just announced the new Z13 mainframe and hope it will stimulate sales. Yet they will be cutting the very teams needed to help move customers from their old systems to the new Z13. ...
Project Chrome appears to be a pure accounting resource action — driven by the executive suite and designed to make IBM’s financials look better for the next few quarters. Global Technology Services, the outsourcing part of IBM, is continuing to lose customers. That rate of loss — one Lufthansa-size customer every six weeks — seems to be holding. The size of Project Chrome cuts suggest IBM is trying to get three or four quarters ahead of the expected business losses. At this point IBM’s business losses have become a self-fulfilling process with deep cuts followed by increasingly bad service, increasingly madder customers, and more lost business.
When reached, IBM sent the following response: “We do not comment on rumors, even ridiculous or baseless ones. If anyone had checked information readily available from our public earnings statements, or had simply asked us, they would know that IBM has already announced the company has just taken a $600 million charge for workforce rebalancing. This equates to several thousand people, a mere fraction of what’s been reported. Last year, IBM hired 45,000 people, and the company currently has about 15,000 job openings around the world for new skills in growth areas such as cloud, analytics, security, and social and mobile technologies. This is evidence that IBM continues to remix its skills to match where we see the best opportunities in the marketplace.” ...
If you are an investor or Wall Street analyst it’s time to take a closer look at IBM’s messaging. Stop believing everything you hear from IBM. Big Blue is a master at controlling the discussion. They state or announce something, treating it as fact whether it exists or not. They build a story around it. IBM uses this approach to control competitors, to manage customer expectations, and to conduct business on IBM’s terms. ...
So while IBM is supposedly transforming, they are also losing business and customers every quarter. What are they actually doing to fix this? Nothing. In saying the company is in a transition and is going to go through the biggest reorganization in its history, will this really fix a very obvious customer relationship problem? No, it won’t.
Selected reader comments follow:
There’s no doubt that there’s plenty of fat to be cut here, but I do doubt that IBM will be effective in making those cuts. My suspicion is that those who make it through this action will find themselves even more lacking in the necessary resources to successfully execute. Given how much resources have already been slashed, that sounds like a terrible move to me.
IBM has a very healthy working environment, excellent work-life balance.
IBM had grew a lot in the number of brands over the years through acquiring of exceptional companies and excellent products. We had a re-org and this re-org is a simple consolidation of brands to make us more effective, efficient and more streamline. Think of it as tidying up the house.
And I don’t know where you got the other information as I have heard nothing about it. No one here is concerned of getting chopped. You made it sound like IBM is chopping all the good people and leaving all the useless one on the boat. That is not the case at all. If someone get chopped, it’s probably because they are not good enough to stay.
Definitely do not assume that I am a IBM Fan-boy either. Much more the other direction. I am ex-IBM from Global Services South, where IBM honesty, integrity and accountability did not apply when dealing with the customer or the IBM employees on the contract. Most noticeably from our upper managers and directors. The truth changed daily with these management people until the client filed breach of service against IBM and got out of the billion $ plus contract, moving to a professional service provider.
I still keep a copy of an old IBM Mission Statement in my calendar. It reminds me often of what an exceptional company should be, and what Global Services was not.
Many interesting comments in this post, but we must not use too wide of a paintbrush when describing IBM and the people within. Even I have to admit that there are still islands of high integrity and competency within IBM that need to be recognized.
People are in the process of being FIRED right now. They’re being told their performance ratings have dropped because of some subjective reasons. Those folks are given a choice to voluntarily separate from the company or try to improve their performance. The standards to improve are set up for the employee to fail so the employee takes the voluntary separation package.
For those that are eligible to retire within the year they can separate with a package and be put on a retirement bridge. They are then considered retired. So, IBM will mostly spin a low number of Layoffs when in fact they are forcing a lot of people out through some very underhanded tactics. There is vary large population of employees that are going through this now.
The announcement on the 28th, if it occurs, will only be about those folks being laid off… not about those folks being forced out to take retirement or voluntary separation because of “performance”. reasons. How do i know this? Because i’m of those people who has been targeted and will separate (“retire”) next week “voluntarily” IBM was once a great company, great to work for. Today, i wouldn’t recommend anyone work there.
Obviously like any leadership team if they do not produce results, for sure after 11 straight quarters in a role..you would think they would ask the CEO Ginny Rometty and her senior leadership to step down. Obviously what they are doing ins’t working and they need fresh leadership. Instead great employees and visionaries that make IBM great are being fired and the guts of the company are being ripped apart…what a mess
Selected reader comments follow:
Selected comments from LinkedIn follow:
Sadly, however, the rest of the case is basically either untrue or the product of a hall of mirrors. IBM shares may sustain current valuations because the current shareholder base is far more interested in income as opposed to growth. IBM may, or may not, achieve the rather modest objectives it set for itself during the course of its earnings release depending on macro factors, the company's ability to execute, and competitive pressures. I don't purport to have the tools to handicap the most likely results for current quarter or the one after.
What I can state without much fear of being proven wrong is that the company is suffering significant and long-term market share losses in the key business units in which it operates. These market share losses are self-evidently the product of past wrong decisions and poor execution coupled with an inability to try to lead the market. IBM, despite its significant R&D budget and significant innovations such as Watson, has basically become a follower and not a leader in the tech space. And followers, in my experience, are rarely good investments. ...
While it is possible that the downside for IBM shares is limited given the likely massive turnover in the shareholder base and the modest expectations of those new shareholders, I feel that making commitments to IBM shares at this point would be an error. The company continues to hemorrhage market share both in its services sector and in the software sector as well. The company appears to have little in the way of proprietary and defensible technology. (Just to be perfectly fair, I think Watson is potentially earth shaking at some point and the acquisition of the Weather Channel potentially enhances that technology. And some of the companies that IBM has bought and continues to buy in the cloud do have interesting and unique solutions. But it is impossible to buy IBM because of the opportunities of Watson - it just starts from such a small base.) It would appear to be executing sluggishly and to be losing its past luster. Choosing IBM is no longer either the safe solution or the obvious solution. I do not believe that risk/rewards favor investors at the current time.
Selected reader comments follow:
This company is broken on a very fundamental level and only a complete rout of upper management could (potentially) solve it. But we all know that won't happen.
The stock is equally broken. It couldn't hold 180, 160, 140, and now 120 is violated intraday. The next stop is a test of 100. Look at a 10 year chart.
Valuation wise, that sounds about right. $14 and change at a multiple of 7 - I'm being gracious. But I think 90 or lower could definitely happen, especially when Buffet trims his position. And he will.
In the current episode, we talk about evasion and deception detection. For a background on today's topic, please check out "Spotting Lies For Fun And Profit". We take apart an IBM Corp. quarterly conference call and ask if we are being led towards the truth or away from it...
IBM still has all the same problems it had in 2015, but they seem to be getting worse. Revenue generation is still a serious issue as none of its major segments are posting any sort of growth. There are green shoots in the strategic imperatives, but they are nowhere near enough to make up for the melting ice cube that is IBM at this point. SG&A cuts and a favorable tax rate are helping keep IBM afloat for now but those things are both temporary. There is only so much either of those categories can be cut so at some point, IBM will need to actually execute. It has shown no ability to stop shrinking and terrible guidance for 2016 suggests more is on the way. Analysts are also still way too bullish on IBM right now for some reason I cannot understand so more EPS cuts are surely on the way.
“IBM says this is all part of the transition process, and it may well be,” said A. M. Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. “But as far as evidence that the transition is really taking hold, we haven’t seen that yet.” ...
This year, analysts say, will probably be another one of challenge and transition for IBM. The current executive team, led by Ms. Rometty, still has more time, they say. “IBM’s management is convinced they have the right strategy,” said Steven Milunovich, an analyst at UBS. “And they are going to get another year or so to prove it.”
What investors might consider here is that Credit Suisse has so far been more accurate than any Wall Street analyst. That can change on a dime of course, but the firm sticks with the notion that IBM is a value trap rather than a great value stock.
"We continue to make significant progress in our transformation to higher value," offered IBM chairwoman and chief executive Ginni Rometty. ...
Wall Street was not so enthused, as IBM shares were down 1.48 per cent in after-hours trading. And the drops in IBM Software and Global Business Services could be particularly alarming for IBM, say analysts with AB Bernstein. "Software and Services are the most profitable segments of IBM," the analyst house noted. "Continued weakness in either or both of these segments would be incrementally worrisome."
Selected reader comments follow:
However, their exec team went full throttle on the "short term thinking" approach, shafting many of the better people who gave their customers what they want/need, and instead continuously getting the sales channel to ramp up their bullshit factor based sales...which without the right people involved any more, has led to repeated massive failures.
So no, IBM doesn't have the shiny, glorious future you're attempting to paint. What it has is a bunch of sharks at the top who have picked every last one of the "low hanging fruit"... and have no real clue what to do next, since they've only ever done easy things before, and now they've painted themselves into a really challenging situation. Basically, they're fucked.
The IBM of old continuously produced ideas, including fundamental science, engineered them into products and produced products. They held the IPR on these and this is exactly what allowed them to:
This cycle was broken by their previous CEO who started trimming all parts of IBM which showed failures from time to time just because beancounters do not like failures on the balance sheet. Ginny, despite her engineering background, is continuing exactly on the same trajectory — cut R&D some more where it has failed, cut a few more branches here and there where there is a failure at present. And another one withers...and another one...and another. Until a death of a thousand cuts.
So any ideas that IBM will become great are delusional. It is slowly, over time, narrowing itself into a set of services industries +/- some support for them as product. That is a race to the bottom competing against Logicalis, Accenture, Atos, HP, etc - you name it. When you have four of these competing for a contract any ideas that the winner of the contract will command a premium comparable to a high tech system for which you hold the unique IPR is utterly delusional and exists only in beancounters wet dreams. It is not founded in reality.
IBM's fundamental problem is that while it has recognised that a big transformation is needed, it is attempting to do this by moving into markets where there are already leaders far ahead of IBM. It no longer has the people to do this, so it has to acquire others. Skills are brought in-house, and as soon as they can, those skilled people leave the company and development gets shipped off somewhere cheap or the product is canned.
Meanwhile, existing customers are no longer getting the service they once did: IBM customers always knew they spent more than the going rate but did so because they knew they would get quality and service from people who enjoyed their job and would go the extra mile to keep customers happy. No longer the case.
Most of all, IBM is steadfastly refusing to transform itself (as opposed to the crap it sells). It's an incredibly vertically organised dinosaur, where any attempts to communicate up the chain involves browning your nose whilst simultaneously trampling on those beneath you. As a result, any real innovation from within the company is stifled. Those at the top don't see a need for it, as strategic technology decisions are based on marketing bullshit which is seen to be "trending" on whatever social network their kids are into that week.
Watson is probably the only interesting technology which has emerged from IBM in recent years and is genuinely unique and innovative. However, if it were that good, wouldn't it be able to come up with a way to sort out the company? Or maybe it did and it advised sacking Ginny and her pals in Armonk and replace marketing with a spambot.
The only people who benefit from the share buybacks in particular are people sitting on huge piles of stock options, like the senior execs. Oh...never mind.
The web site will remain up but will not be updated. The job cuts report section has been closed, but we encourage employees to send me information when a mass job cut does take place and I will post news here. I am also putting together a web site that will continue watching IBM. To all Alliance members and supporters we thank you for your support. Remember: the Alliance made history.
"I’m a long-time IBMer. I originally applied just out of college, was interviewed, and not selected. I was crushed, and vowed to build my resume and apply again later. I did just that. When I came into IBM, it was a flourishing company. Java was in is beginnings, and IBM was building great products. I was a top achiever, received world-class training and I was blown away by how smart, motivated, and dedicated the people around me were.
As a group, we despised the competition and took our jobs and beating the competition very personally. We passionately worked, both during business hours and on our own time, to make our products better than everyone else’s. IBM invested heavily in our training, and we in turn invested our time and passion heavily into IBM. IBM treated us well, and we loved our company.
I was part of a group that was considered the Green Berets of IBM. If customers got into trouble using our products, IBM deployed us free of charge to make it right, at any cost. Many, many times customers told me that this was the main reason they remained loyal to IBM. I was often given job offers by them, but I loved my company too much. This was the return on investment for IBM’s extensive investment in us and our training.
Customers realized our high degree of skill and paid top dollar for our services and we guided them through many successful projects. The beauty of it was that we were not only given, but encouraged to spend half of our time writing white papers, books, articles (and paid bonuses) to help our customers; and also given time to work with the development teams to continue to improve our products and stay ahead of the technology curve, using that knowledge we had from being in the trenches with our customers. When there was a new product release coming, we were given deep training in advance so we’d be ready to help customers on day one of the release.
Then things began to change. The bean counters clearly began to control the company. It was no longer about making great products and investing in employees. Someone realized that our elite group was commanding high rates. The time we were given to write those great papers and books for customers was taken away. Our training was taken away. We were told to bill out fifty hours per week, on top of travel and administrative tasks like time sheets and expense reports.
Everyone became demoralized and burned out from continuous travel. Many left, and the ones that remained lost their passion. Our skills quickly depleted, and our customers noticed and began to wonder where the Green Berets went and why they were paying top dollar for consultants that were no better than the bargain basement, ineffective ones in other IBM divisions and partners.
In the years since, we’ve all watched as the company removed all focus on building competitive products. The focus turned completely to financial and accounting. Our products became vastly inferior, we fell behind the technology curve, we lost our vision, we failed to see emerging trends, and we watched as the top executive tier began focusing entirely on their own pay and bonus structure rather than its products and employees.
Many times a new “company vision” was announced and it was always about the shareholders, not the employees and more importantly, not about the customers or products. This was all in contrast to the great men who built this company by putting those very things first.
Now we watch as our peers with families, hopes and dreams, after investing so much into IBM over the years, are fired by the thousands here in the US, abusing the intent of the visa laws, to make way for on-shore and offshore replacements that are even more poorly skilled and probably do not even know what “IBM” stands for.
We watch and can only shrug as our customers become frustrated and angry. We feel bad, because we know how it used to be, back when we were proud, and were anxious to get in front of our happy customers. Now we dread having to face them.
We watch as our friends and coworkers, after so much loyalty, are shoved out the door, and those of us who remain go year after year without pay raises, while our executive tier shamelessly enjoy huge pay increases and disgustingly large bonuses for their “efforts” while the company continues to fail, and its failure is being hidden from the public with financial shell games.
As a board, how can you justify rewarding years of failure. Do you have any idea what this is doing to the morale of the other 99.9% of the company?
I am someone who counts in IBM. I am a crucial part of IBM’s technical team. I have been responsible and had a very large part in some of IBM’s most successful products, even recently when there are few of those. I am about as high in stature as you can get within IBM, and I don’t want to say more without providing too much to identify myself. I have had a career full of PBC 1 ratings. The reason for that is that like so many others around me, in that top technical tier, I no longer care and in fact I now cheer for the company’s failures, rather than reveling in its successes (of which there are no longer any)
Because of the disgusting actions of our executive leadership, and the gross mistreatment of those who do the actual work, the vast majority of those who count actually now despise our company and its leadership.
You may be enjoying the demise of the valiant union effort by the IBM Alliance and Lee Conrad, thanks to you blocking their attempts to communicate and organize the employees. You may consider that a victory. You have your cheerleaders in Warren Buffet and the folks at Motley Fool, but let it be known to yourselves and the public that almost to a man and woman, you have lost, because you don’t have what it takes to succeed – dedicated, motivated, smart employees. To leave a CEO in place that is so obviously incompetent and anti-employee is a big mistake.
Today there is yet another “major announcement,” another shell game of moving people and divisions around, but it doesn’t matter. We know our products are behind the curve, extremely buggy, and unreliable, because the people that work on them are either incompetent or just don’t care. In that sense, you have lost, and you are doomed.
As a top technical professional, it’s always been a big part of my job to help design and improve our products.
That is what I have been justifiably measured by, along with my peers. In today’s Dilbert-esque IBM, even as technical professionals we are not measured on anything but sell, sell, sell. I’m not a seller. I have poor social and negotiation skills. But I can code my way around just about anything, and I understand today’s technical landscape and what tomorrow’s will look like.
I get to spend no time on those things these days. It’s all about selling our inferior, bandaged-up-for-cloud products to unwitting customers, and it’s downright dishonest and something I’m not proud of.
Like so many others, I’m just biding my time each day, polishing my resume, and hoping that I’ll be offered one of those nice packages to get out. You must understand, that’s what the majority of the people I work with are doing. It’s an open joke in the workplace.
Your only hope is to make changes at the top immediately, apologize to your customers and employees, and begin today to put the focus back on building great products, with great people. The company may be too far gone for even that, but at least you can give it the old college try, and maybe we can all go out with some dignity."
Pros: IBM offer flexible working arrangements - part time, job sharing, work from home and flexible work hours.
Cons: Working part time can limit the role you take on and make career progression more difficult but that is the case in all organisations. People who are part time are expected to do the same work as a full time person and their performance is judged against their full time peers. This means that you get part time pay but often are expected to work 40+ hours. As IBM is going through many reorganisations job security is a real concern for all employees.
Pros: IBM offers great benefits to its employees — affordable healthcare, purchasing discounts, sick leave, 401K and stock purchase plans.
Cons: Beware of success. If you perform a job well at the Smyrna Call Center, you will be consigned to that role forever unless you do so serious internal politicking.
You have managers who've never done the roles they manage and therefore lack any ability to relate to the sales reps or understand what it takes to meet/exceed your quota. I personally encountered some of the most dysfunctional, petty first line managers in my entire sales career. At least two desperately needed therapy (world class narcissists) and had no business managing people.
Also, the Smyrna location is a haven for positions awarded through entitlement, not skill. In the words of another manager who left, "If you are not a manager here, you are not a citizen." I was not a citizen. I left after five years and never looked back.
Advice to Management: MBWA. Manage by walking around. Get out of your cubicle. Find out what it REALLY takes to fill a pipeline and close a deal. Do and say what is right for the business and customer, not just what is politically correct for your position and year-end bonus. Don't just say what the BUE (Business Unit Executive) wants to hear. Stop being petty and expand your business paradigm.
Cons: Location at the end of the world, without a car you are in a difficult situation. There is company transport which costs you 140 euros a month. Old buses that stop on the highway. Commissions are not paid at all, or with errors. When you claim it they tell you the process is closed. Mid management useless; interested in promotions and how the team "looks from the outside". They ask for a lot of overtime, however no compensation. Use it as a beginner then move on.
Advice to Management: Work on the processes.
Pros: IBM sits in front of massive revenue streams. They pay on time although their ethics (especially on sales commissions) are deplorable.
Cons: Intellectual capital is the only true asset a technology company owns. They are running talent out the door as quickly as possible. There is value in the gigantic revenue they control and huge inertia for their customers to drop them, and if (God help you) you work here, you will see first hand how the leadership team is shoveling that cash into their pockets as quickly as they can.
Advice to Management: You run the worst large technology company I've seen in 20 + years in the business. Write a self congratulatory blog about that!
Pros: It looks good on a resume and people immediately respond to the name recognition of IBM. So it has that going for it, which is good I guess.
Cons: Like most people at IBM, we were acquired. We had high hopes, but they ended when we realized IBM had no interest in our business and certainly no intentions of investing in it to make it work. So we languished on an island for two years — losing good people the whole time — all the while being treated with disinterest. Unless they wanted to complain about decreasing revenue. Then they'd take interest. All in all just a horrible place to work with confusing chains of management and little to no value.
Advice to Management: Get it together.
Pros: Able to gain a great breadth of experience across multiple geographies and organizations all within one company. If you manage your own career well, then you will excel at IBM.
Cons: Once you are above a first-line manager level you can anticipate back-to-back meetings all day; simultaneous need to be available on instant messenger (Sametime) for answers, questions ,and respond to comments; a full email inbox with a need for immediate response, and an expectation of availability outside business hours. It's an incredible place to work, but you need to manage up, down, and side to side at all times to be successful.
Pros: Decent compensation. Pay for travel and lodging. Access to new technologies.
Cons: Questionable employment practices in their services group, typical big corporate environment with little regard for employee personal growth. Big disconnect between HR, managers, resource placement personnel. Management focused only on billing. Bureaucratic delays. Employee penalized or terminated even if they fail to assign employee to a project; not a stable work environment if looking for a career in their Services Division.
Advice to Management: If you hire then it's your responsibility to utilize them and place on client projects. If not, then don't use it as means to deny benefits and use it as a measure of performance to negatively impact careers. The word has gotten around of these unethical practices and people are reluctant to join such an organization
Pros: Name recognition for resume. Wealth of opportunities. Very competitive pay for a job straight out of college. Talented coworkers. Work from home opportunities. Travel opportunities.
Cons: Getting placed on projects is more about who you know than anything else, and when you're a new college hire you don't know anyone. Have fun being on the bench for 3+ months. The process for finding a project is outdated and overall very awful.
Software development jobs are being outsourced. If you hoped to gain experience in this area during your time at IBM, run away as fast as you can.
IBM recently got rid of alternate travel, which is a well known perk that virtually every other firm in the consulting industry offers. The reasoning was dubious at best and signifies a disconnect between upper management and the consultants with their boots on the ground.
Not sure how IBM expects to compete with the Accentures and Deloittes of the world by offering less perks.
Advice to Management: For the love of god please hire less college grads; there are scores and scores of them sitting on the bench. Paying them to do nothing or creating BS internal roles for them in order to not take a hit to utilization does not generate value for shareholders, and makes it much harder than other firms to find projects. This also leads to the high turnover that has caused so many to be hired in the first place. I've worked at IBM for a year now and have yet to be placed on a project that was in an area I'm interested in. I'm currently in the process of looking for a new job. Bring back alternate travel. If you're making consultants travel all the time at least allow them this one perk.
Pros: Recognized name, at least among the older generations. Polished surface with an impressive history. The first few days are usually good, then you realize where you've ended up.
Cons: IBM is an awful company to work for, and here's why:
Advice to Management: It's too late, so sit tight and chill. The bright people have left and the pretty boat is sinking.
Pros: IBM was great when I first started in 2005. It went down hill 3 years later. Good health care benefits. The only thing that made me stick around was I had a great manager.
Cons: Constantly outsourcing. Have to hand hold India staff. No accountability for offshore staff and their inability. No work/life balance. Upper management constantly trying to work exempt staff 60 hours a week. Pay raises and/or bonuses are years apart if you get one. IBM focused on doing the least amount of work possible for the contract. They don't supply the software/tools to do the job. Only way to get tools is if it was freeware.
There was no career path. I was stuck doing the same thing for years and losing my skill set. Getting cut from IBM was the best thing that ever happened with IBM. I attended 2 training classes in the 10 years I was there. And that was in the fist 3 years before it fell apart.
Advice to Management: Do the job you were contracted to do and stop with excuses about the customer. Staff onshore accordingly for the work you contracted to do. If you do a good job on the contract in the first place you can set your contract prices higher. Not low ball to keep the contract. Invest in your employees and train them.
Pros: IBM has over 400k staff worldwide so you have great opportunities to work for them wherever you happen to live. The career paths offered run the full spectrum of degrees and skills needed. You have the opportunity to work with some of the top people in any technical field, right up there with Apple and Google, though IBM is enterprise-only; they don't do consumer-level business. IBM is attempting to re-invent itself currently via CAMSS strategy which features Watson and the Internet of Things, and it will likely succeed.
Cons: The company's benefits have whittled down over time but they're still pretty decent though with several caveats. For instance, they'll fund your 401k at 6% but you have to wait a full year, then wait till the end of the next year for it to hit. They offer 15 days vacation but it's use-or-lose annually. They'll recap your company laptop but only after 4 years. Their pay levels are not industry leading. Their stock has dropped 35% since I joined a few years ago. IBM is re-inventing itself currently via CAMSS strategy, so it's enduring transformation pains.
Advice to Management: Value the employee. Many leading companies value their employees as their most valuable asset. IBM has yet to embrace that population-wide. It happens in pockets but it's not prevalent.
Pros: I thoroughly enjoyed the SSR work! IBM had such a fantastic reputation. Having IBM on your resume still looks good.
Cons: I would not want to be an SSR at IBM today. High stress, low reward. You are expected to actively participate in the sales and leads process, even as a non-customer facing SSR. The pay raise, IF you can get one, does not keep up with the annual increase in the cost of benefits. It is all about making the executives wealthier at an enormous cost to you and your family.
Advice to Management: Employees do not come to work to make you wealthy. If it is not a win-win situation, don't play the game. Your employees do not have to work for you. When I was told, yet again, that I would not be getting a pay raise I went and found my own. I received a 20% pay raise with a company whose health benefits were not only better than big blue's, but half the cost,
Pros: Their job descriptions are great. If you like to have your job description to say amazing things, this is the place for you (unless you're actually interested in the content of the actual role).
Cons: Dinosaur culture. Almost everyone you will meet working at IBM started their careers at IBM and there is a reason for that. The employees or senior management don't really have exposure to the real world and they just don't know how bad the place is. Things like the lack of coffee or proper drinking water for employees do not bother these people because they haven't seen any better.
The place is a dump. Culture is awful and from the actual work you do (which most of the times is completely meaningless, because of the antiquated management and reporting systems in place) to the treatment you get at the cafeteria (where you are a paid customer but the guy at the grill is out smoking while the cafeteria is open and the cash register person is nowhere to be found because you're in the middle of some kind of forest and there is nowhere else to go) everything is awful...but because nobody at the company has seen any better, nothing ever changes.
If you come here with prior work experience, nobody will care about or even understand what you did before. Management isn't interested in the real world outside, and the results they produce show it.
Advice to Management: Stop lying to people in your job descriptions. Put this company out of its misery already, break it up and sell it before it becomes completely useless.
Pros: Worked on different corporate account and learned a lot throughout the years. Work/life balance was great. Worked with great team leads. You get 3 weeks paid time off the first day of employment.
Cons: No raises. Stopped giving out annual bonus. No career growth. Management expects you to further your education at your expense. Health benefits with high deductibles. (Used to be good; now they're okay)/ Always worried you're going to get laid off come January. (No stability).
Advice to Management: I don't blame first-line management for this company cutting back on benefits etc.. This company used to be a great company to work for; not anymore.
Pros: Flexible work schedule but expect to work much more than 40 hours a week. If a new hire, they will treat you better for awhile until the favorites are chosen and the next batch come in.
Cons: Below average pay for above average work load. No pay raises for several years in a row. Raise have been below CPI since Gerstner left. Lower-level management is very political and petty. Upper-level management completely clueless. They think being a "me too" company will lead to profits.
Advice to Management: They need to take of advantage of the internal innovation instead of try to follow what their paid consultants are telling them is the hottest trend in the industry.
Pros: Ability to telecommute. Connecting with people locally, nationally and globally.
Cons: Employee pay was cut by 10% more than once. In office, workers were denied office supplies. Quarterly layoffs due to replacing experienced stateside employees with offshore, inexperienced, undependable, straight-out-of-high-school kids. Ten layers of overpaid management, whose jobs are never in jeopardy, consistently get bonuses because they "make their numbers" by firing people instead of being innovative with cost saving products or processes. CEO and completely unnecessary upper management are totally out of touch — they view employees, who actually contribute by doing the work, as expenses instead of the valuable assets they are.
Advice to Management: You get what you pay for! Clients will continue to dump IBM because the only concern is YOUR bottom line instead of the quality of service provided to customers.
Pros: IBM has a great people and I really enjoy the IBM learning and sharing culture.
Cons: Pretty high turnaround, more work landing at your desk not reflected on the paycheck. Very minimal to none salary increase just for top performers. I think morale of all employees is going significantly down the hill.
Advice to Management: Try to retain the more experienced employees by evaluating their work other than verbally also financially.
Pros: You will meet a lot of intelligent, talented, skilled people. Some name brand recognition for those who would not know any better.
Cons: You will be a number, a resource to be used up. Very little career development will be available to give you flexibility to leverage your industry outside the ibm ecosystem. Poor morale.
Advice to Management: Fix morale. Try to find out what is going on from people other than your management reports who will tell you what you want to hear. And forget the company survey route. As far as technical direction for the company as a whole - it seems that they are lost.
Pros: Company name recognition, excellent pay, opportunity for advancement as long as you are not on the resource list.
Cons: NO job security; sales quotas not attainable any longer because they are not even close to being realistic; products and services are in decline and not even competitive; R&D is almost nonexistent, and even when you do an excellent job you could still be resourced for no cause.
Advice to Management: Management, along with some of the top executives who do a very poor job keep their management roles and many times get promoted to a better position within the company even though they missed their sales numbers by a long shot. Why do you in management protect and promote incompetence by fellow IBMers? Management is protected from the resource actions for some reason and just play a revolving musical chair strategy that keeps them employed.
The sales teams are NOT as lucky as management is and when the numbers are not where they should be are singled out and resourced almost immediately.
Why is this the new normal at IBM? Clean up your own departments and groups before singling out the sales teams who are trying to sell some of the inferior products and service offerings they are required to sell.
Does the total disaster Power and the pseudo Cloud offerings come to mind? This company is now run very poorly and it is only a matter of time until the investors and the board finally realize that severe changes are required for the survival of the company. Then you in management can leave with all of your stock options and golden parachutes thinking you did a great job. Nothing could be further from the truth.
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