I read with disdain about IBM’s dubious plan to reduce the pay of some of its workers by 10 percent in order for them to improve their skills.
Patrick Thibodeau of Computerworld reported the finding on September 15, 2014. He asked IBM spokeswoman Trink Guarino about the initiative:
“IBM is implementing a skills development program for a small number of U.S. employees. Under this program, these employees will spend one day a week developing skills in key growth areas such as cloud, analytics, mobile and social.”
That’s just about the point at which I went into a silent fit of apoplectic rage.
Here’s my view on the matter.
Put another way, an employee has the contractual right to the necessary learning, development and training for them to perform per the responsibilities and actions as outlined in their contract of employment or role description. (whichever makes the most sense)
For an employee seeking new responsibilities — and thus a new role or promotion — in the organization, the fiduciary responsibility between the organization and the employee no longer exists. In fact, an employee must earn the right to receive such investment.
Simply put: current role requirements is a company responsibility and next role possibilities is earned. (although when earned, the company is making the investment as well)
It seemed to me in this example that IBM is applying the sharpest of their nails on the chalkboard of stupidity, eliciting shrieking sounds that have sent animals of all makes into fits of confusing bewilderment.
If the company requires these 100 or so employees to ramp up their ‘current role’ skills on such aspects as “cloud, analytics, mobile and social,” perhaps they’ve forgotten it’s actually their responsibility in which to do so. If it’s a requirement for their existing role, it’s IBM’s fiduciary responsibility to the employee to provide such development.
So, it seems they are in fact doing this … however, how does the organization look itself in the mirror of employee engagement and think that docking the pay of these poor 100 employees by 10 percent is also on the menu of a fiduciary responsibility?
I’m left speechless, flabbergasted and irate.
My heart goes out to these 100 people, but so too it goes out to the entire organization.
I hope it is reversed for the sake of company-wide employee engagement, not to mention their brand and potential customer backlash.
Docking employee pay to improve their skills is dubious if not dumb.