Supporting IBMers

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To achieve something new, you must do things differently. IBM is reinventing itself by working in new ways, with IBMers acquiring new skills, adopting new habits and applying new practices. Our annual Employee Engagement survey shows scores up significantly in 2015, with IBMers recognizing their role in helping IBM to transform and emerge as a cognitive solutions and cloud platform company.

Empowering employees to transform processes

Checkpoint — In 2015, we set out to shape a whole new approach to performance management, built by IBMers, for IBMers, on the foundation of our Purpose, Values and Practices. By engaging IBMers as co-creators and employing IBM Design Thinking for an agile, iterative approach, we created an experience together. We received tens of thousands of ideas, comments and input from IBMers around the world and, in just a few months, we arrived at Checkpoint.

With Checkpoint, we create short-term goals and document progress against those goals on a regular basis as we embrace more agile ways of working. Quarterly, or more frequent, feedback sessions allow us to review progress and realign or update goals as necessary, as priorities evolve.

As IBM continues to change, Checkpoint will help us to create a culture of feedback and open communication that empowers each of us to find better ways of working, live our Practices and be our best every day.

Blue Matching — One of the defining characteristics of IBMers is our willingness to adapt to the realities of an ever-changing world. We continuously rethink how we work — always eager to try something completely new and different with the goal of improved performance. A new program, introduced in 2015, makes it easier for IBMers to discover and navigate the opportunities at IBM to build a career.

Using analytics, Blue Matching surfaces jobs that fit the employee’s experience, role, performance and location. IBMers played an integral role in Blue Matching development through their participation and feedback in beta tests, focus groups and community collaboration discussions.

Creating a culture of feedback

ACE app — More than 85,000 IBMers are giving and receiving feedback quickly and easily with our new ACE app. ACE stands for Appreciation, Coaching and Evaluation, and all three forms of feedback have the potential to enhance experiences and behaviors that drive performance and business results.

Available for both desktop and mobile devices, ACE fosters new ways of working as we continue to build a culture of open, honest and continuous feedback at IBM. For example, after meetings, IBMers are using ACE to ask for input on how they ran the meeting to increase efficiency and derive more value. By soliciting feedback, they are letting their colleagues know that they are confident, care about the views of others and appreciate their support as they strive to improve.

Maintaining a focus on education

IBM Design Thinking and becoming Agile — Design is not new to IBM. Our company became an icon of business and technology design in the 1950s. What is new is our design-centered strategy to build products and services based on user needs at rapid speed — and to infuse our entire company with IBM Design Thinking. Agile represents a new way of working, and in 2015 we trained over 60,000 IBMers at all levels of the company in this philosophy. We have hired more than 1,000 professional designers, embedding them at client sites and in 23 IBM Studios around the world. Today, they are working on more than 100 projects to shape the future of IBM’s products and services and to reimagine how IBMers work and innovate.

Think Academy — IBM recognizes that its most valuable assets are its people. In 2015, we invested approximately $500 million in IBMer education programs and IBMers dedicated approximately 25 million hours to personal professional development. At a time of such rapid and disruptive transformation in our business and our industry, Think Academy helps IBMers to stay one step ahead of change and be ready to share knowledge and expertise in a way that drives value for the company and our clients.

Think Academy, the world’s largest online open course for the enterprise, was first introduced in 2013. Now 29 course topics strong, it helps IBMers learn about topics critical to clients as well as share stories about courses and how they are applying what they learn.


  • Think Academy won a Ragan Communications “Best Employee Advocacy Program” award for excelling in building employee engagement, trust and an authentic passion for the company to create the organization’s biggest advocates.