IBM is known for hiring some of the world’s most agile minds in technology. For many looking to make their mark in the software or computer science industry, a position at this tech giant is a coveted opportunity. If you’re chosen to join the ranks of IBM, you can rest assured that you’ll be entering a work environment that offers a competitive salary and benefits. However, one of IBM’s key distinctions is their world-famous onboarding process. This is an organization that goes above and beyond to make sure that new-hires are fully engaged and ready to perform to the company’s high standards.
IBM has truly mastered the art of employee onboarding. Read on to learn more about what to expect as a new employee at IBM.
As a global powerhouse in software, technology, and cloud computing, IBM has a large HR team solely dedicated to employee onboarding and the employee experience throughout the career lifecycle. A few years ago, the company did a revamp of their employee onboarding process to improve employee retention and job satisfaction. Besides focusing on the usual HR and rudimentary compliance topics; new hires go through an intensive 30-day process to introduce them to the IBM culture and get them ready for long-term employment with the organization. This is followed by a two-year program to support employee learning and career development in greater breadth and depth.
After accepting an offer with IBM, new hires gain access to the Soon 2B Blue online community, a pre-hire community that introduces you to IBM’s history, corporate culture, and need-to-know info about your new workplace. Go through the online modules and pay careful attention as this will be important knowledge as you go through orientation, onboarding, and continue on your new career path.
On your first day of training with IBM, you will receive your temporary employee badge which will give you access to the office building. While IBM has office locations around the world, its main hub is the headquarters in Armonk, NY. You’ll also likely receive your company laptop and other devices you’ll need on day one. Dress code standards will vary from role to role. If you’re working in a technology or programming role, you’ll likely not be subjected to a strict dress code. However, if you work in a sales or people-facing role, it’s likely that business attire will be expected. At the very least, on your first day, you’ll want to wear a nice shirt since you’ll likely have your photo taken for your building access badge.
According to a recent Quora post from an IBM employee, the first week will go quickly and will likely be focused on your technical induction. You’ll have your communication channels set up promptly to ensure you can keep in touch with your mentors and peers. It’s recommended that you prioritize using this time to start to develop relationships with your colleagues. Join them for lunch, have coffee, and get to know who they are as people and encourage them to do the same. Team relationships are an essential part of IBM culture and will be important for you as you continue with the company.
As you get more familiar with the skills and requirements of your role, you’ll be assigned business priorities by your managers. These will be your responsibility and what you’ll be expected to keep in mind as you go through your day-to-day duties on the job. The best way to communicate your development and your challenges in this arena to your managers is by using IBM’s proprietary online performance management tool called “Checkpoint.” This will allow you to set goals and track your progress, both to yourself and to your higher-ups.
Within your first month at IBM, you’ll be invited to participate in something called “Succeeding@IBM,” which we briefly discussed in our recent article on IBM’s hiring process.
Succeeding@IBM is a unique, two-year onboarding process designed to help you succeed as an IBMer. This special learning program is laden with tools and resources to cover important aspects of your career that cannot be covered in traditional week-long or even 30-day onboarding processes. A strategically phased orientation process such as this is focused on building relationships and avoiding the “information overload” that can accompany traditional short-term employee onboarding programs.
The Succeding@IBM program is customized to suit the needs of the individual. Whether you’re a recent graduate starting in an entry-level role, or a seasoned professional tracked into upper management, your experience will be different depending on the progression of your career.
Generally speaking, Succeeding@IBM has the following resources for all participants:
- Discover IBM: customized learning paths to offer insight on IBM’s history, values, people, and businesses
- Share and Connect: a platform for new employees to communicate with IBM veterans, build support networks, and find career and technical expertise
- Grow My Career: find out how to pursue different learning paths and develop skills from the moment you enter the company
- Find Support: online resources to connect new hires with mentors, career coaches, websites, FAQs and other sources to get them through their first years at IBM
This intensive, long-form onboarding program is motivated by the knowledge that new employees need ongoing support for more than just 30 days to succeed in a new role. The most intense support is provided for the first 100 days of the program, but employees will have enhanced learning experiences and opportunities for support for a full two years.
The Bottom Line
IBM’s onboarding and training processes strive to enhance the new employee experience for thousands of recruits a year while improving the odds of employee retention. With specialized learning paths and ongoing support for entry level, mid-career, and senior employees, it’s apparent that they go to great lengths to help employees at every stage of their career get off on the right foot and continuously succeed in their role.