The staff benefits at IBM make a long list, but more important is the dynamic and fair-minded attitude recently injected into the firm. IBM is an American company, established in Britain half a century ago and now one of the world’s leading firms, providing computer hardware, software, and customised programmes for clients. There are 125 offices and 21,000 staff in the UK, bringing in sales of £6 billion.
In the past two years, management has tried to make the firm more dynamic, increasing the service side. It now accounts for half of UK sales, reducing revenue from America as a percentage of IBM’s total sales.
The attitude at work is relaxed, with business casual dress for the staff, three-quarters of whom are under 45; there is a culture of openness, and 76% of employees told us they feel they are treated as equal, regardless of position.
The firm scores highly on equal opportunities, with a women’s forum and gay/lesbian network. Women with five years’ service can return part-time for five years after having a child and for seven years after two children, without their job being downgraded. Adoptive parents have four weeks of job-protected leave per child (up to a maximum of 13 weeks) and discretionary paid leave of 10 days, to which new fathers are also entitled. Mothers returning to work have a 25% pay increase for two years and up to 10 days’ discretionary paid leave for arranging childcare. Staff can work their own hours, or from home. Up to a year’s leave can be taken for personal reasons.
Financial rewards are good. Payments on top of salary depend on company and individual performance, with a target of 10% — but some staff can raise their salaries by another quarter. There is a medical insurance plan that employees can extend to the family, and subsidised canteens and athletics clubs.
Training is excellent, with classroom and web-based learning, a multilingual resource centre, up to 10 days’ training a year and grants of up to £7,000 for non-vocational training. There are awards of up to £25,000 for achievement, extra holidays for long service and family dinners to reinforce the company goals.
Staff are dedicated, with 92% saying they give extra to get the job done, and 83% believe IBM is a great place to work. One employee said: “There is a genuine high-performance culture, diversity is encouraged and we are all well rewarded when we meet the business objectives. People recognise IBM as a changing organisation.”
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