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IBM Employees

Investing in
the IBMer

The nature of work is changing, as globalization, innovation and the rise of the knowledge worker in a services economy redefine the relationship between employee and employer. Like all companies, IBM faces these challenges around the world. And as we have done throughout our history, we are pioneering progressive approaches to these new realities.


The nature of our business—in particular, the goal of building a smarter planet—demands the best expertise and talent in the world. And that means creating a culture of innovation—not only in products and services, but also in how we run the company and our relationships with employees, communities and society at large.

A culture of innovation, in turn, requires a commitment to diversity—where IBM has led again and again over nearly a century. It requires deep investment in learning and expertise. It requires competitive compensation—and IBM was one of the few technology companies last year to invest additional resources in employee compensation. And it requires innovation in benefits and wellness—ranging in 2009 from cash rebates for healthy living to 100percent coverage for primary care, with no coinsurance or deductible.

Finally, investing in our employees in today’s economy means helping them prepare not only for their current jobs, but for the careers they will build as global professionals and global citizens—whether or not they remain at our company. We look at IBMers in this holistic way because we believe a forward-thinking enterprise should not just provide employment, but also enhance its people’s long-term skills and employability.


Key Performance Indicator

Employee Satisfaction

Up to 40 percent of IBMers are randomly invited to participate in our annual Global Pulse Survey. The annual averages shown here are responses to, “Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job?”

Additional corporate responsibility performance metrics are available on our Performance Data Summary page.

09 69%
08 67%
07 66%
06 65%
05 65%
04 67%


Health and Wellness

Throughout its history, IBM has recognized the importance of fostering good health and encouraging preventive care among IBMers. Healthy employees are happier, more productive, and spend less on medical care, a trio of benefits that are compelling to our employees, our company, and the world. That is why IBM takes an aggressive and comprehensive approach to investing in employee health and wellness, promotes workplace safety, and encourages a healthy integration of life and work.

This year IBM took an extraordinary step, one it hopes other employers will emulate. As of January, IBMers in the U.S. enrolled in most IBM self-insured health plans were provided with 100 percent coverage for primary healthcare. There is no longer a co-pay or deductible for in-network primary care with an internist, family practitioner, pediatrician, general practitioner or primary osteopath.

IBM also continues to invest in its Healthy Living Rebate program, which provides cash incentives to IBMers willing to take concrete steps to improve their own health and that of their families. More than 80,000 IBMers participated in the program in 2009, earning up to $300 for eating well, exercising regularly, or addressing preventive care needs. This year IBM added the Personal Vitality Rebate, which encourages IBMers to think about good health and well-being in broader terms—not simply by checking one’s weight or watching cholesterol, but also paying attention to good sleep and hydration habits, preparing mind and body for challenging situations, and using simple recovery techniques to balance exertion and prevent fatigue.

IBM was recognized in 2009 by the National Business Group on Health with its Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles Platinum Award, largely for its efforts to combat childhood obesity through the unique Children’s Health Rebate program*. As such, IBM was the only private enterprise invited to participate in the Health Affairs Briefing on childhood obesity at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

IBM makes these investments not only because we value the health of our employees, but also because it makes good business sense. IBM and IBMers have received a significant return on the investment the company made over the past several years in wellness and preventive care support. Between 2004 and 2006, for example, IBM invested $81 million in wellness programs—and witnessed an estimated $190 million return in health-related costs, with dramatic increases in healthy behavior, such as physical activity and healthy eating.

“Great employers understand that success in the marketplace requires healthy, productive and resilient employees. Successful enterprises, especially those driven by knowledge workers and dependent on continuous innovation, flexibility and nimbleness in a complex, global economy, have a total health management approach to human capital that is proactive, creative and comprehensive. No corporation today will be successful if it doesn’t recognize that high performance requires healthy employees and families because of the direct costs of healthcare and deleterious effects of poor health and disability on productivity.”
Helen Darling President, National Business Group on Health,
Washington, D.C.

Learning and Development

Keeping the skills of 400,000 IBMers current is increasingly difficult as globalization continues to accelerate the speed of change in markets around the world. IBM takes this challenge very seriously.

Three years ago we launched the Global Citizen’s Portfolio, a series of programs for IBMers looking to deepen their partnerships with the company in an effort to support their education, skills, and development. The portfolio includes programs such as the Corporate Service Corps, personal learning accounts, and the Transition to Teaching program, each of which serves a specific need in the development of IBMers.

Through the Personal Learning Accounts program, qualifying employees can contribute up to $1,000 per year to an account earmarked for education. IBM will match 50 percent of the contributions when qualifying educational expenses are reimbursed. IBMers can use the money for a variety of purposes: learning a second language, taking an accounting class, or volunteering as an emergency medical technician.

IBM also endeavors to tap into its most powerful source of learning: IBMers themselves. The company has a deep portfolio of mentoring programs, and offers a comprehensive site for those IBMers looking to: assess their mentoring potential, learn how to be an effective mentor, or volunteer to be a partner. More than 5,000 IBMers are registered mentors and mentees. From cross-geography to cross-discipline, IBM is always looking for new ways to facilitate the transfer of knowledge. Recently, a new focus on cross-generational and reverse mentoring is building momentum, a testament to the need for older IBMers to impart their knowledge to younger IBMers, and vice versa.

Career Transitions

Perhaps the most difficult transition for an IBMer to make is leaving IBM. Since 2005, IBM has provided support to employees and retirees who have developed high-demand skills during their time in the private sector and are now considering an encore career that gives back to their community or country. The Transition to Teaching program offers up to $15,000 in tuition reimbursement and a customized certification program for IBMers interested in a second career in education. It provides a path for those leaving the company, and helps address the growing need for math and science teachers. Recently, the program was expanded to include IBMers looking to move into the nonprofit or government sectors.


IBMers are registered mentors and mentees.

Key Performance Indicator

Learning Hours per Employee
2005 - 55
2006 - 55
2007 - 58
2008 - 61
2009 - 64


IBMers are an extraordinarily diverse group. And part of what it means to work at IBM is to find ways to not only embrace that diversity, but use it to the benefit of the business; to better understand markets and unleash innovative creativity.

As such, it is crucial that IBM provide the means to foster that diversity. That’s why last year we launched Diversity 3.0, a comprehensive program to define and support what diversity means in the 21st century. The program consists of six distinct steps, each of which has yielded tangible results throughout the company.

  1. Leverage our Diversity Competence to Drive Cultural Adaptability—This goal has resulted in a number of beneficial programs and resources, including a Cultural Adaptability Council, podcasts and a webcast on being a Global IBMer, and Integrated Diversity and Cultural Awareness training modules.
  2. Extend from Constituency to IBM Communities—By expanding our definition of diversity beyond traditional groups, we have accelerated knowledge sharing across the enterprise. This effort has resulted in several new communities, including a Parent Community, Global Women in Technology, Work/Life Zone Teams, and a cross-generational wiki.
  3. Go “Glocal”—Enabling our various geographies and business units to tailor programs for their unique needs has resulted in a number of Business Unit Diversity Plans, a diversity toolkit, and an inventory of best practices.
  4. Integrate Programs for Maximum Value—In 2009, IBM aligned and integrated its diversity initiatives with our core human resources processes. This allows us to launch programs more effectively and sustainably.
  5. Refine Employee/Senior Management Partnership—The Global Diversity Council was formed in response to this goal, constituting a series of cascading councils with representatives from all major communities and geographies.
  6. Engage Employees in Defining 21st Century Diversity—To engage IBMers as widely as possible, IBM launched a communications plan around Diversity 3.0, including articles on IBM’s intranet and in-country rollout sessions.

In 2010, IBM will once again be challenging the accepted definition of diversity in the workplace. This year we will be adding Diversity of Thought into our ongoing discussion on diversity. Diversity of Thought refers to variances in world-view and the way in which different individuals process circumstances. It is made up of each individual’s understanding of themselves, their culture, family history, and the methods they use to process information. Appreciating this diversity of thought is critical to avoiding conflict, overcoming challenges, and collaborating.

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