IBM’s Script For Offshoring Jobs

IBM’s Script for Offshoring Jobs

Internal IBM documents reported in The Wall Street Journal in January 2004 suggested that IBM was planning to move high-cost programming jobs offshore to countries such as Brazil, India, and China, where labor costs were lower (Bulkeley, 2004). Rather than pay $56 per hour in the United States, the documents indicated that a comparable programming job would cost only S 12.50 per hour in China.

The documents also revealed that IBM was aware that this “offshoring” process was a sensitive issue and provided managers with a draft “script” for presenting information to affected staff. One memo instructed managers to ensure that any written communication to employees should first be “sanitized” by communications and human resource staff (“Do not be transparent regarding the purpose/intent”), and also directed that managers should not use terms such as “onshore” and “offshore.”

Part of the “suggested script” for informing staff that their jobs were being moved offshore was to say, “This is not a resource action” (an IBM euphemism for being laid off), and that the company would try to find them jobs elsewhere. This script also proposed that the news should be conveyed to staff by saying, “This action is a statement about the rate and pace of change in this demanding industry. It is in no way a comment on the excellent work you have done over the years.” And, “For people whose jobs are affected by this consolidation, I understand this is difficult news.” ​

IBM’s Script for Offshoring Jobs

Internal IBM documents reported in The Wall Street

Journal in January 2004

suggested that IBM was

planning

to move high

cost programming

jo

bs

offshore to

countries such as Brazil, India, and

China, where labor costs were lower (Bulkeley,

2004)

.

Rather than pay $56 per hour in the United

States, the documents

indicated that a comparable

programming

j

ob would cost only S 12.50 per hour

in

China.

The documents also revealed that IBM was

aware that this “offshoring” process

was a sensitive

issue and provided managers with a draft “script”

f

or

presenting

information

to affected

staff

.

One memo instructed managers to ensure that

any

written communication to employees should

first be “sanitized” by

communications and human

resource staff (“Do not be transparent regarding

the

purpose/intent”), and

also directed that

managers should not use terms such as

“onshore”

and “offshore.”

Part of the “suggested script” for

informing staff that their jobs were being moved

offshore was to say, “This is not a resource action”

(an

IB

M euphemism for being

laid of

f), and that the

company would try to

f

ind them jobs elsewhere.

This script

also proposed that the news should

be conveyed to staff by saying, “This action is

a

statement about the rate and pace of change in this

demanding industry

.

It is in

no way a commen

t on

the excellent work you have done over the years.”

And,

“For people whose jobs are affected by this

consolidation, I understand this is

difficult news.”

IBM’s Script for Offshoring Jobs

Internal IBM documents reported in The Wall Street Journal in January 2004

suggested that IBM was planning to move high-cost programming jobs offshore to

countries such as Brazil, India, and China, where labor costs were lower (Bulkeley,

2004). Rather than pay $56 per hour in the United States, the documents

indicated that a comparable programming job would cost only S 12.50 per hour in

China.

The documents also revealed that IBM was aware that this “offshoring” process

was a sensitive issue and provided managers with a draft “script” for presenting

information to affected staff. One memo instructed managers to ensure that any

written communication to employees should first be “sanitized” by

communications and human resource staff (“Do not be transparent regarding the

purpose/intent”), and also directed that managers should not use terms such as

“onshore” and “offshore.”

Part of the “suggested script” for informing staff that their jobs were being moved

offshore was to say, “This is not a resource action” (an IBM euphemism for being

laid off), and that the company would try to find them jobs elsewhere. This script

also proposed that the news should be conveyed to staff by saying, “This action is

a statement about the rate and pace of change in this demanding industry. It is in

no way a comment on the excellent work you have done over the years.” And,

“For people whose jobs are affected by this consolidation, I understand this is

difficult news.”