Sunrise or Sunset at IBM?

By Lee Conrad

IBM has gone through many changes over the past decades. People who worked for IBM before the 1990’s would not recognize it today. Gone are the family and worker friendly perks and practices. Benefit cuts, pay cuts, and job cuts are the norm and have increased the view that IBM as a great employer has diminished substantially.

As of July 1st, 2015, the number of US IBM employees is 71,000. In the mid 1980’s it was 230,000. Certainly companies can not remain static. IBM has reinvented itself many times and continues to do so, but the changes at IBM for workers, retirees and their communities have been devastating.

For many years IBM has been run by executives whose sole goal has been to increase the stock price at the expense of all else. They failed to realize or simply did not care that IBM is not just a logo or a building, it is also the workers. It is and was their sweat and toil that made it successful. So the question is, will IBM executives once again respect and value its greatest resource, the employees? Or will it continue chasing earnings per share and jeopardize the legacy of a once great company? Time will tell, and this website will attempt to keep a watchful eye on IBM and its treatment of IBM workers and retirees as it reinvents itself once again.

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7 Responses to Sunrise or Sunset at IBM?

  1. netmouse says:

    Read Sold Out, explains the history of the American Workforce with H-1B and all those visas, offshoring and more, IBM has several mentions. “http://www.amazon.com/Sold-Out-Billionaires-Bipartisan-Crapweasels/dp/1442390786

    http://www.amazon.com/Sold-Out-Billionaires-Bipartisan-Crapweasels/dp/1442390786

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  2. Chalie says:

    What training did people do after layoff that was reimbursable by IBM without problems for $2500?

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  3. Going cheap is expensive says:

    IMO there will be no IBM in 2020.

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  4. Read the Tea Leaves says:

    “So the question is, will IBM executives once again respect and value its greatest resource, the employees?” Answer is no, as evidenced by their recent, continuing behavior. Many of the senior execs have cashed out thousands of share of stock, showing that they have no confidence in the company and their roadmap. More deceitful comments to the analyst, such as the 70,000 new jobs created. That was just from acquisitions, not new hires, and they are just more soylent green or this coming or a future RA (firing action). Watson is the emperor with no clothes, and the other marquee products are crashing and burning in customer production environments due to neglect in investment in them and shoddy work done by “cheap” offshore and onshore replacement labor. You reap what you sow, Ginny. Even your pal Warren Buffet is hedging his bet and regretting his IBM stock purchases.

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  5. Sam Kay says:

    Pretty much sums up the role IBM undertook in the early 90’s when they didn’t want to be No. 1 but a strong No. 2. The employee changed too and looked at their job as a stepping stone to other better jobs as they were developing in the IT industry. The 1st firings broke the old school IBM thinking and after that it was constant change and reinvent. You survived by changing and not bucking the trend but you now still have to watch your back. Good luck in the future. LIG

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  6. Kevin says:

    The world has changed, people have changed and will continue to do so. If we ever had 230K in the US alone the bulk of those are in other places around the world today.
    I agree we have cut and cut, removed benefits, frozen pay, attacked retirement and medical, but that is the same at every other major employer over the past 30+ years. The people are to blame as much as the company, the people who used IBM as a stepping stone, for that resume notch, for the value IBM gave them and they in return stabbed IBM and moved on.
    Customers are to blame as they ceased to value quality in favor of the price. First went the highest quality support organization in the world, customers who wrote the bills didn’t care, then went the highest quality field services organization, again customers didn’t value the SE’s and CE’s and said so with the almighty dollar. When they found out what was gone they complained, but that is like complaining about the destination once the flight is in the air, too late dude, too late.
    Now we strive to remain just like every other major corporation, no better, just get the stock price right if at all possible.
    We live in a social media world, a world of hype, of words, of latest unproven feature. Microsoft proved you can release alpha and beta level software as long as it was slick and people would flock to it. Stability and support proved to have no real value if it added cost. IBM cannot fight the dollar, IBM had to change to the model that appears to bring in the greatest ROI.
    I don’t agree with it, don’t approve, just know that it is and to survive IBM has had to adapt.
    I too have had to adapt, my many decades and roles, my existence there today is proof of that adaptability.
    Who knows, maybe I’ve outlived the RA or any possible benefit of the RA. Why am I still here? Mathematically I’ve passed the peak threshold of income and retirement plan. There is no up, only the stagnation of a respectable income that hasn’t increased in a decade and dwindling medical benefits. Maybe I’m too lazy to move on, maybe I hold out hope for a real role that makes a difference and would be enjoyable. Time will tell.

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    • The_Unwashed says:

      Not sure I totally agree with you to be honest. IBM has had the chance to adapt in different ways than it has, it just hasn’t chosen to do so. I can understand sticking with the EPS plan when they through they could get away with, but now? Everyone realizes they are just sawing the branch they are sitting on surely?

      Even when this hack and slash mentality driven by accountants and greed isn’t working to boost the stock they drive it harder by cutting the money in the separation plan. With the record they have of doing some rather bad things to their employees I am honestly surprised anyone applies. Look at what they did to the pensions in the UK. Unlawful.

      To your adaptability I think others would term it as luck. You can be as adaptable/flexible/agile as you like but if you get hit at the wrong time you are screwed. IBM makes it very very difficult for people to move internally and provides very little training especially in the older core areas of the business. This makes moving to a new part of IBM hard and moving to something outside harder.

      I do however agree with you on some other points! This isn’t meant to be an attack on you at all. I think your focus on the customer and skipping employees is correct.

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