3.3 WMI Structure and Goals
Let’s have a closer look at WMI structure and its
The IBM’s journey to
high performance culture started with defining the global goals to be achieved. There are according to Boudreau, J.W. (2008)
Capturing and maintaining
Implementing a workforce
management organizational structure that established the supply chain roles
within the business units, country and geography.
There were some critical steps to achieve these goals:
1. Establishing and implementing a common language to describe IBM’s talent
resources —the IBM Expertise Taxonomy.
We have to
separate here two crucial steps – to create a common
language and to establish Expertise Taxonomy. The IBM’s HR experts noticed that
even though they communicated mostly with the colleagues form the same department
of different countries the language for describing the work, professions and
jobs were different. To be precise the difference was in what was meant by the
same job or professional names. For example, ‘software architect’ skills set
are different in different countries and even within projects. As the common
language was missing, IBM had to develop its own unique ‘language’ with the
framework involving job descriptions and competencies at the same time.
IBM used some kind of universal job description system including a vast amount
of positions, job activities and performance goals before the WMI. However, the
old system had several serious limitations like the same job title could have
different descriptions in different business departments or projects. The
additional problem occurred when one country or region was demanding workforce
like IT architect and other region had surplus of theoretically the same
specialist but in reality it was people with completely different
When it comes to expertise
taxonomy the following definition was given by IBM: “the expertise Taxonomy is
the hierarchical framework that IBM uses as a standardized, enterprise-wide
language and structure” (Boudreau, J, 2008)
structure is heavily based on common language job roles definition (means
skills, expertise and requirements applied to job) and logical hierarchy. The
system was created to provide deep insight on what every IBMer does. Thus,
taxonomy would provide ‘consistent and comparable role definition, job role
skill sets and incentive plan templates across all lines of business’. (Boudreau, J, 2008)
structure will include the following jobs hierarchy of five levels:
Primary Job Category
category represents a wide scope of work and is comparable with externally
recognized standard job categories. (Example – IT specialist)
1. Secondary Job Category
On the next level are placed
specific type of work the worker should manage or perform, more precise than on
the first level. (Example for IT specialist – technical services)
2. Job Role
goes deeper into the work responsibilities and includes tasks that must be
performed be an employee. (Example – client infrastructure specialist)
Job Role Skill Set
Role Category can be defines be job role skill set which provides additional
information about products, platforms or solutions. (For client infrastructure
specialist it can be ‘asset reuse’)
Finally, here are dedicated capabilities
and ability to perform certain tasks as well as detailed information, ability
to apply particular knowledge and experience while performing activity.
(Example – implement asset management service)
an optimum workforce management strategy linked to the business Strategy, using
the common language of the Taxonomy.
Capacity planning and
proactively identify excesses and shortages—linked directly to business
strategy. Stuff can be trained if necessity skills are missing or a person can
be found in some other region.
The purpose of the WMI is to
determine who at IBM has the skills needed for the open position independently
of his/her location in the world to be able fill the gap. Both methods –
selection of talent or a training of existing talent can be chosen.
“Assessments in hand,
employees will be told where they stand. We’ll tell you where we see your skill
sets, which skills you have that will become obsolete and what jobs we
anticipate will become available down the road,”. “Well direct you to
training programs that will prepare you for the future.” (Grossman, 2007)
“In three years, 22 percent of
our workforce will have obsolete skills. Of the 22 percent, 85 percent have
fundamental competencies that we can build on to get them ready for skills
we’ll need years from now.” (Grossman, 2007)
an inventory of all talent resources in a central data store/repository.
A common problem in globally
operating companies is that people do not have any connections to the
colleagues from the subsidiaries of the company abroad and managers are
extremely busy means the opportunities of international promotion are not
available to everyone. Employees only bridged this gap if they knew someone in another location
who could provide them with the required information. At the same very time managers needed the ability to
see the talent resident in their workforce, regardless of location, and to
deploy that talent to the worksite.
allows all the applications for a job at IBM be uploaded into the taxonomy
system. The idea is that a potential worker would submit an application in a
similar way all around the globe and this information would be available across
The IWM helped to match work need and development opportunities while
IBMers uses the system to describe their capabilities and skills. Based on the
system management can predict the future skills set will be demanded and an
employer gets an information about which qualifications will be obsolete soon.
the capability to operationally match resource supply against demand
important goal of Taxonomy was to automate the match between assets and skills
at all levels and use it for workforce planning. To project supplier, demand
and avoid a gap in the future projects, the system will combine the updating
database of IBM with the one from contractors. Consequently, Taxonomy will
evaluate the anticipated projects, determinate the job profiles needed and
build up a workforce plan, simultaneously, matching the job profiles with
applicants profiles in the system.
will also provide a way to integrate learning and development opportunities.
The trainings, external education and other developing elements would be
analyzed and coded to the system in order to lighten the process of fitting the
future demanded skills for an individual worker. Using Taxonomy IMBers will not
only see which skills will be increasing in demand but also enhance these
skills. For managers this approach will allow to implement ‘just in time’
principle into HR strategy, where real business needs can be satisfied with
immediate response in terms of prepared workforce.
both for managers and for workers as well. Thus, employee can now have a broad
look at which open positions available at the country and compare the own
skills represented in the program with demanded for a new position or also see
what might be available abroad at the moment or which training can be taking to
equity the skill in question. The WMI gives certain freedom for employees in
terms of managing their career.
the initiative opens new markets for searching stuff even if there are certain
difficulties with a worker with certain skill set in the region. Thus, global
migration become an important element of IBM career.