Diversity and Talent Management Practices at IBM

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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB089
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 1995-2005
Organization : IBM
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : US
Industry : IT

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Introduction Contd...

In the early 2000s, a skilled workforce was one of the key differentiators for a successful IT company. IBM gave importance to not only recruiting and retaining the best talent but also to managing them in such a way that wastage of skills was reduced. In 2004, IBM developed Human Capital Management Services software to implement a talent management model within the organization. According to analysts, IBM's focus on talent management enabled the company to utilize its workforce properly and also to assess its future talent needs. They felt that the best practices in talent management could be further used to formulate and implement succession planning and leadership development strategies.

Background Note

The history of IBM dates back to the early 1900s. In 1911, the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) was founded in New York, US, by merging the International Time Recording Company6, Computing Scale Company7, and the Tabulating Machine Company8. In 1914, Thomas J. Watson Sr. (Watson Sr.), who had earlier operated an agency for selling cash registers, joined CTR as a general manager.

In 1924, CTR was renamed as International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and Watson Sr. took over control of the company as its President. Since its inception, the top management of IBM had been giving importance to employee-friendly practices. Watson Sr. concentrated on developing 'self-respect' and 'self-confidence' among IBM's sales force. He said, "I want the IBM salesmen to be looked up to. Admired. I want their wives and children to be proud of them."9 To promote teamwork, Watson Sr. formed sports teams among its employees. He tried to inculcate a sense of pride and loyalty in them toward the company. He valued his employees as he believed that the people were the biggest assets of the company.

Excerpts >>

6] International Time Recording Company was founded by George W. Fairchild in 1900, as a selling agency.

7] Computing Scale Company was founded in 1901.

8] The Tabulating Machine Company was formed by Herman Hollerith, a US Census Bureau statistician, in 1896. It produced punch card tabulating machines.

9] "IBM, Tom Watson and the Vision," www.aspects.net.


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