In a technology industry characterised by rapid change, disruption and innovation, IBM has remained a prominent player by embracing a service-centric business approach focused on newer technology including cloud platforms and cognitive solutions. With this shift, the organisation has made a targeted effort to attract and retain quality talent who are well-versed in this new technology, and for whom work-life harmony is a significant pull factor when choosing an employer. Recognising this, IBM has introduced a comprehensive work-life strategy focused on cultivating a positive work-life culture and providing flexibility.
Industry: Information & Communications
Employment size: Above 370,000 worldwide
Employment profile: Professionals, technical, sales, marketing and administrative staff. There is an even spread of employees across various life-stages, with a sizeable group of millennials.
Featured work-life programmes:
the Executive Summary.
Flexible Work Arrangements
- Compressed work schedule
- Job sharing
- Part-Time Work Reduced Work Schedule (Part-time work)
- Individualized Work Schedule (Staggered time)
- Leave of Absence (unpaid leave for an extended period for variety of circumstances, such as dependent care, continuing education, amongst others)
Employee Support Schemes
- Online Work Life Toolkit
- CareGeneral™ interactive care management tool (an online app that helps employees to manage the care of elderly family members)
Having established its presence in the local market over 60 years ago, IBM Singapore has remained a key player and leader in the technology industry. In order to stay ahead in this rapidly changing field, the organisation has moved beyond formalising flexible working arrangements to cultivate a robust work-life friendly culture to attract and retain high-performing talent, including millennials.
In addition to implementing flexible working arrangements (FWAs), IBM has also instituted various processes and policies to enable employees to effectively utilise these arrangements. This includes a communication strategy to keep employees updated on changes and additions to current work-life initiatives. The Management also takes the lead in identifying key issues that need to be addressed with each FWA, including streamlining job descriptions to keep them to critical activities. Employees are provided with connectivity tools to ensure efficient communication and responsiveness to the team and clients, even while they work remotely.
At IBM, managers play an important role in cultivating a strong work-life culture. They are encouraged and trained to take a positive approach to work-life harmony. New managers undergo an orientation programme which includes a segment on understanding the work-life initiatives available, and how to effectively use FWAs to address team members’ work-life challenges while still meeting business goals. HR serves as a strategic business partner to these managers and provides advice on refining proposed work-life solutions.
IBM capitalises on its IT expertise to build a thriving online community, centred on work-life. In addition to blogs, articles and forums, an online Work Life Toolkit has been designed to provide IBM’s work-life philosophy, guidelines and various work-life resources and tools available. Online polling, survey and media analytic tools are also made available to garner employee opinions on pertinent topics, such as work-life issues. Notably, IBM has also developed CareGeneral™, an interactive care management tool to help employees manage the care of elderly family members.
IBM’s sustainable and relevant work-life strategy has produced results for the business. By differentiating itself through its work-life friendly culture, it has established itself as an Employer of Choice. This has resulted in higher employee retention, enhanced productivity, lower absenteeism and improved employee morale. The organisation has also received external recognition of its work life success.
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