back to article IBM staff grumble redeployment orders are stealth layoffs

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told employees last year that he had no plans for further layoffs. But according to current IBM employees, managers continue to face pressure to reduce headcount and are trying to do without Resource Actions – what Big Blue calls formal layoffs. Instead, they're trying to encourage employees to leave on …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing really new.

    IBM was the most toxic company I've ever had the misfortune to work for. These tactics are the same as before, just stopping short of a wider RA program.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Same here. I would rather starve in the street than work for those bastards ever again. And that is NOT hyperbole. I've been homeless.

    2. ForIBMers

      Yes, a very toxic company, but the media focuses more on Salesforce's layoffs because Arvind is smarter than Ginni.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd have to disagree. I rather enjoyed doing contract work at IBM, but I wasn't an IBM employee. I'd given up on the lie that is a so-called "permanent" job over a decade earlier, after my second or third layoff.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Class of July 2022 (Watson Health)

    I was in the Watson Health redeployment/RA. I should have sued them. Others did. The next class should.

  3. Yes Me Silver badge
    Unhappy

    What's new?

    Employees believe directive to seek new internal positions is just a way to get rid of them

    In what way is this news? It's been standard operating procedure at IBM for twenty years to my personal knowledge.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's new?

      Sir, I just got laid off from IBM. They simply didn't lay off directly but told us to leave with some severance pay which was really pennies and suggested us to go. If we don't, they said the company night liquidate the position.

      So that's how they work. Great ethics, we never fire, etc is just bullshit.

      I was not in bench even for a few days. Didn't even get a chance to look for a projects for myself. There were no projects and they said there won't be. And they just opened vacancies of same job, supporting the same country where we were fired in a small cheap Asian country.

      So that knowingly fired us and they could give us a project but they gave it to Philippines and started hiring there. Go to LinkedIn and check yourself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's new?

        Contact a good labor lawyer to discuss your situation.

        1. Steelted

          Re: What's new?

          I believe he is Indian. There is no Labor Law to discuss about.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's new?

      No, this is a new low. A completely new approach to avoid the publicity of widespread RAs. RAs have always been known as a layoff, with a specific end date and severance details provided. The source in this article has been in redeployment status for 8 months and has not been provided any information on what to expect next. They just want to drive people out, with no severance, so they can say we didn't axe them. If you are 40+ lawyer up.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's new?

        This approach has been tried at least once before in 2014/2015 and I'm sure it wasn't the first time.

        Management will justify this as somehow "different" because a group was called something else previously or similar semantics but it's the same...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What's new?

          This is far from new.

          In the early 2000's in my region there are two major cities located about a three hour drive from each other.

          For the people they wanted to dump in each city they told them they would have to relocate to the other city to keep their job.

          The problem is that this is a smaller IT market and everyone was talking to each other and found out.

      2. GruntyMcPugh

        Re: What's new?

        It's not new, there used to be 'The Bench' (and I was on it twice, although the second time it was called 'The Skills Centre' and we got to go on a course to make us redeployable.) and if you didn't get a new position internally within 90 days it was curtains. I guess as long as 'The Bench' is drip fed from a variety of sources, IBM can argue it isn't an RA, because end dates vary, depts vary, and it's not like they are junking an entire team in one go.

  4. Cornucopia

    Retrenched from IBM Global Services in '04 in Melbourne, age 55 with 37 years service and rated 1 in last appraisal. Age based cleanout to cut the payroll, IBM does it serially, I don't care what you call it, it's callous hypocrisy, destroys people's lives and it's ILLEGAL!

    1. Mayday
      Thumb Down

      Did some contracting for them back then. Have to say I'm glad that it actually was just contracting.

      Certainly feel for the loyal types who pay for their loyalty by getting shiitcanned like this.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SOP

    A large US retail big box company has had a similar policy for years.

    An employee (or maybe 100 employees) are told "You must reapply for your own job, or perhaps apply for another available vacancy. If you don't get either job.....severance!!"

    This is a company which has C-level staff who regularly roll out the badge of pride that "Our company has never had layoffs".

    In my case, they did me a favour.......I resigned and immediately found a better paid job in a much healthier company.....something I should have done much earlier in my "career" in retail!!

    Fantastic and unbelievable......ten years in post with regular positive appraisals....."reapply for your own job"!!!......with every expectation that you won't get the job!!!

  6. bregister

    IBM at least seem to be consistent over the years.

    The rest of them (b*ds) just seem to be following the herd https://news.stanford.edu/2022/12/05/explains-recent-tech-layoffs-worried/,

    but then the era of thoughtless investing (gambling) did have to end eventually.

    If you are looking for good people in IT, now is the time to look for them.

  7. Trollslayer
    Mushroom

    This isn't new

    Reduce salary, get moved to a somewhere another etc..

    Remember, this isn't done by the old days IBM but not the snake.

  8. fg_swe Bronze badge

    Stop Being An Idealist

    1.) Forget the BS they told you about "lifelong job security". No commercial company can do that. Not even Google. It's a br4inf4ck to stop you from looking for an external career move.

    2.) "creative destruction" is a very real thing, like it or not. Microsoft, Google, and Amazon ate the business of HP, IBM, DEC, Unisys, Fujitsu. These "old" IT companies have a calcified brain and cannot quickly adapt to new challenges. Even worse, they cannot use their own great ideas, because they would threaten existing business. For example, HP's BIRNBAUM was thinking about Cloud Computing back in the 90s. Amazon made it happen in the 2000s and HP is now on crutches.

    2.2) Because the business of the old companies evaporates, their employees can no longer be paid at a proper rate. Macro-economically speaking, they must transfer from the old companies to the new ones.

    3.) Never stay too long at one company, so that you know how to sell yourself and get interviews. Not applying for 20 years will deteriorate your self-selling skills.

    1. fg_swe Bronze badge

      Re: Stop Being An Idealist

      Having said that, there are plenty of opportunities and strong companies out there. Apple is doing great both technology-wise and economically. Unlike IBM, they understand that mechanical design, GUI appearance and usability matters. Then there are hundreds of small companies who need seasoned IT experts.

      Pump out dozens of applications and while you wait for the response, learn something new. A new language, HTML, a new framework, a new type of database. Learn about the V Model, there will be enormous work in auto, aerospace, rail and medical - as soon as they actually do the work according to the book. Learn effective presentation, if you haven't yet. Write a blog about something technologically relevant...

    2. fg_swe Bronze badge

      SmartPhone

      The idea of a smartphone was also envisioned by HP Labs in the 90s. But then the large-than-life Bill Hewlett and David Packard died. There was no replacement for their engineering, production, research and operations experience. The MBAs could only slash the brain and optimize the economic side. "Optimization" meaning they would kill HP technologies and sell MS, SAP, Oracle, Intel products instead.

      So the MBAs could not imagine the great value of a smartphone. They had fired all the engineers who could build it.

      Steve Jobs could imagine and had the engineers on board. He made it happen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Engineers and Others

        @fg_swe

        Quotes: "old companies", "new companies"

        But one of your examples was HP. This was once a company dedicated to engineering.....and also dedicated to training and re-training of staff. With the result that the "old" HP became the "new" HP.

        Of course you are quite correct about the influence of Bill Hewlett and David Packard.

        .....but the real problem was not that they died.......the real problem was that they were not replaced by like-minded people. They were replaced by bean counters!!

        If you want a more recent example of engineers being replaced by bean counters -- just take a look at Boeing!!!!!

  9. DaemonProcess

    the new standard

    Happened to me once.

    The only thing more evil than being laid off is being told you are not being laid off but there isn't a job for you any more. Basically forcing the employee to find themselves a new job without being paid redundancy severance.

    Ironically I had just saved the company over a million pounds in the previous 4 months.

    So I went contracting and doubled my salary for the next 15 years. Ironically my contracting roles tended to last longer than all my permanent roles... a lack of staff appraisal system is probably the reason.

    Techies are bad a selling themselves, always better to have a recruiter sell you.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Redefining the term Resource Action

    This time they are calling it a "Resource Redeployment" As long as you a applying internally, you are "ok" , with no expiration date. They are decimating the US support structure across all products, suspect it will move to world wide teams later this year ... No surprise there

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You'd think IBM would have learned their lesson from all the lawsuits they've lost for age discrimination in the past, but nope! Management has all the brain power of a sack of rocks, and can't learn bupkiss.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IBM is still way ahead in profits through the use of this strategy. They hand out settlement checks like candy on halloween. Most people leave the company and find another job, others take the 3 month severance, if they are still around at the end, and very few actually sue. Those who do quietly settle out of court. IBM is winning the war. But many individuals who sue are winning an individual and life changing battle.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        IBM? Profits? Do they still have any?

  12. claude j greengrass

    Back in the day when there was IBM and everyone else

    IBM was known (internally) as I've Been Moved

  13. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

    Seems like a dream come true.

    "We will continue to pay you, but you aren't allowed to work."

    "Throw in work from home so you don't have to see me and you have a deal!"

  14. Datanotdadda
    Unhappy

    I Be Movin’

    Succinct article! Nothing new! Buy the sky sell the sky. I worked at multiple sites made some great relationships there. If you think the talent is deteriorating in the states WTF is going on off shore and where are TPS reports?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dinobabies are watching

    IBM used to make top quality typewriters, desks, chairs, printers, cheese cutters, rifles, rockets and even a few computers. Whatever a business needed was what IBM made. Now, they race from hilltop to hilltop hoping to get hit by lightning by buying technologies they think businesses need. They create nothing despite closing down a tradition of being a patent leader. As they consume these acquired businesses and spit out that which made them functional, they leave legions of competent workers on the street to be hired by someone else, like potential clients. So 2 things 1) They create nothing new. 2) They have generated a large population that are now employed elsewhere and will NEVER buy something from IBM. Seriously – Who isn’t or doesn’t know someone pissed off for all time by IBM? No tech demo will ever get past a round 1 bake-off. Not while the dinobabies or whatever follows are watching.

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