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New program focuses on the total experience

Since the 1990s, the cornerstone of our new employee orientation has been Your IBM, a two-day “face-to-face” class that presented a wealth of information on the company’s history, culture, values, organization and processes. Feedback from new employees on this class was among the highest of any corporate-wide learning offering in IBM, and it won industry recognition on a number of occasions.

However, in order to keep pace with the dynamic needs and challenges of our globally integrated business model—and the critical importance of ensuring that new IBMers are as successful as possible as quickly as possible—the company solicited input from employees and business leaders around the globe on how to make the orientation experience even more effective.

While new IBMers of all types are impressed with the amount of information they receive during orientation, in many instances they feel overwhelmed by all the input they receive during their first days with the company. They also expressed the need for ongoing support beyond orientation as they grow in their new roles—and develop a deeper understanding and a broader list of questions they need answered following orientation.

Although the Your IBM program offered eLearning and “touchpoint” calls following the two-day orientation class, a majority of new employees globally did not take advantage of these offerings, and respondents stressed the need for the company to reevaluate its approach to post-orientation learning.

To address this valuable feedback, in third quarter 2008 IBM created a global, cross-functional design and development team charged with developing a totally revamped employee orientation experience. The result of their efforts is Your IBM+, a comprehensive program of learning activities for new employees, delivered in multiple formats to ensure maximum coverage of all types of new employees in all geographies, business units and professions.

Your IBM+ supports new employees on an ongoing basis—from before their first official day with IBM through their critical first two years with the company. Moving beyond traditional learning design and delivery, the program incorporates virtual instructor-led training sessions and conferences and work-based learning to ensure that new employees get what they need, when they need it, while not being taken out of the office or out of the field.

Also part of the new orientation program is The New IBMer Zone, a Web site designed to help new employees easily find vital information, connect with helpful coworkers and begin to build a sense of their IBM community—through blogs, Wikis and on-line communities.

The initial release of Your IBM+ was deployed in first quarter 2009 in Growth Markets and in second quarter 2009 in Major Markets.

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