The Woodlands Health Care

The Woodlands Health Care



The Woodlands Health Care

IBM’s Workforce Solutions (WFS) effort, begun in 1991, provides an example of brokering in practice. In this reorganization, IBM integrated a number of The Woodlands Health Care activities into a shared service organization called Workforce Solutions. According to George Krawiec, general manager of WFS, the HR headcount was reduced by more than 40 percent, from 2,200 in 1991 to 1,200 in 1993. HR costs were decreased by $100 million, a savings of more than 30 percent. WFS brokered services included the following.

  • HR research and consulting
  • Leadership development
  • Compensation and benefits administration
  • Occupational health services
  • Work force diversity programs
  • Equal opportunity compliance and records
  • Recruiting and employment
  • Resource programs and operations
  • Information technology
  • Executive programs

Each of these The Woodlands Health Care services was brokered both inside IBM to business units and outside IBM to the general market of potential users. By the mid-1990s, however, WFS had backed off from this aggressive brokering strategy. The company had found that some of the outsourced The Woodlands Health Care services were elements of IBM’s distinctive competence and that buying and selling these services as commodities lessened IBM’s uniqueness.

Service Center. A second delivery option for The Woodlands Health Care services is the creation of service centers for sharing HR-related work transactions. These service centers standardize routine transactions at a single location, allowing more efficiency throughout the corporation. Benefits processing, for example, similar across different business units, can be delivered more efficiently through standardized processes, with service centers handling common employee calls and concerns.

The Woodlands Health Care services deal with routine standardized administrative processes, questions, and activities related to meeting employee requirements. Transaction-based activities might include the following.

  • Benefit-related activities: benefit changes, flex benefits, medical claims, beneficiary changes, and employee questions about policy and reimbursement.
  • Compensation/pay activities: stock-option paperwork, tax withholding, pension transactions (401 K), payroll (including voluntary deductions, W-2 filings, and W-4 mailings), processing time cards, vacation records and policy, environmental data (for example, policies specific to particular countries), and diversity statistics.
  • Development and learning activities: education assistance and training registration.
  • Corporate citizenship activities: matching gifts and united way and other charity campaigns.
  • Records activities: relocation and address changes, title changes, travel reimbursement, food service, and recreation.

Staffing activities: application requests, company information, employment verification, job posting, and applicant flow, visa.

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