At IBM, we believe that in order to build a great brand, we must first be a great company. And the key to being a great company is hiring, supporting and retaining great employees.
Across the world there are more than 430,000 IBMers. These employees represent our brand, they embody our values, and they drive our success. They are IBM. And that is why the work of developing their full potential is never complete. Within the human resources function at IBM, we are constantly crafting new strategies to meet our employees’ needs. During the last two years, we have been challenging ourselves to rethink how we select, recruit, train, and develop IBMers in a range of critical job roles, especially client-facing and manager roles. This focus continues to intensify.
Since 2012, our focus has been on fostering the link between IBMer engagement and client experience. This focus has included a broad range of tactical activities across geographies and business groups. In 2013, we introduced THINK40, a self-initiated learning program of at least 40 hours of professional development that every IBMer undergoes each year. IBMers completed more than 25 million learning hours in 2013, a 154 percent year-over-year increase from 2012.
Also in 2013, we launched Think Academy, a new method of sharing and learning that the entire company does together, designed to fulfill our goal of being essential to our clients and the world. This online, easy-to-digest approach to learning allows employees to gain insight in areas critical to the business where new knowledge is being rapidly created. This allows employees to become experts in and advocates of rapidly changing areas such as cloud, Big Data and analytics, mobile, and social computing. Courses—called Think Friday sessions—begin on the first Friday of each month, but employees can choose when and how they access content. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty begins each Think Friday session by framing a given topic, its importance, and key concepts to explore. She also regularly interviews clients to gain insight into how a topic affects them and what they are learning about it. Think Academy curates and houses each new topic in an interactive learning environment. Employees can earn THINK40 credit for each Think Academy course they complete.
We also invested heavily in developing new, more social approaches to finding and cultivating expertise, to understanding employee sentiment, and to fostering collaboration with one another.
learning hours completed by IBMers in 2013, up 154% from 2012
Social technologies continue to change how we work together with other IBMers, and how we work with our clients. Today, new hires are given the option to begin building relationships as soon as they accept a job offer, thanks to our social platform called Soon 2 B Blue that connects soon-to-be-IBMers with IBMers already in place. Our learning programs are infused with rich social interaction and collaboration opportunities that continue long after a formal training program is complete. IBMers have the option to thank one another—publicly or privately—in the digital BlueThx environment, built by volunteers at IBM for IBMers. And increasingly, HR teams are using their own internal blogs and Lotus® Connections online platforms to introduce new programs, solicit feedback to existing programs, and fine-tune the IBMer experience.
Also in 2013, we continued to focus on using analytics to drive action by training HR professionals worldwide on the use of data and analytics. Our workforce analytics team takes on an increasing number of projects to determine what distinguishes performance, what makes managers effective, and how to best retain key performers.