"The price of justice is eternal publicity." Arnold Bennett
|Intel's Ranking and Spanking|
"There is a growing assertion that globalization and technological change make inevitable low wages and inequalities....The counter argument that has not gained much popular support is that inequalities result from human agency; they are not the inevitable consequence of 'progress."
S.M. Miller and Charles Collins "Growing Economic Fairness" Social Policy, Summer 1996
Target: The weed-out list
More than 90% of FACEI members terminated or forced to leave were targeted for one or more of the following reasons:
Truly poor performers have left the company or were terminated in past years during the inception of this downsizing technique of meeting termination quotas and the relentless "Pursuit of Excellence" coined as "raising the bar". However, after several years of enforcing this strategy, first line managers are finding they do not have incompetent people (by Intel’s definition) left in their organization who can meet their target quotas. They have already removed the poor performers by meeting prior quotas of earlier years.
Therefore, managers are forced to target the most vulnerable from those that are left. These competent, contributing individuals are, unfortunately, targeted for termination. Managers justify this corruption by attempting to build a case of inadequacy against the targeted employee. These cases are unfounded and unreasonable. Some of those targeted are employees who are too "expensive" compared to the replacement employee who is a new college graduate (NCG). Also, employees who choose to balance work, family, and recreation into their lives. Intel looks upon these employees as lacking ambition or dedication expected for the success of their business. Why has Intel dismissed the family values which were so valuable in earlier generations of their management?
Those individuals falling into the above categories include employees with experience commensurate with their age. The employee forty years of age or over has attained a higher level of pay, compensation and classification based on years of service. According to the sample survey done by FACEI, over 90% of the employees targeted for termination are over the age of forty. Individuals who are in a particular job classification for a long period of time (three years or more) are suddenly "pressured" to do a better/faster job. Management perceives these employee as slower than their peers when their performance is equal to a peer employed in the same capacity for a shorter length of time. This exhibits another archaic philosophy of the current management within Intel. A competent, dedicated employee providing loyal service for many years should be rewarded for their excellent service and contribution to the company. Ultimately, the individual faces a forced "slower" performance evaluation and eventual termination. This unfortunate situation typically applies to individuals over the age of forty.
Other candidates for this targeting practice are those who develop a disability of some kind (i.e., employees or spouses with a known medical condition that prevents them from working 150%, or over eight hours per day). Also targeted are employees with high morals and innovative ideas who question or oppose the integrity and fairness of Intel’s existing policies and practices. Also persecuted are employees whose race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or social outlook might differ from that of their manager. These employees are targeted simply because from their manager's point of view they "don't fit in".
Years ago, before these tactics, Intel was a "World Class Employer" who benefited and experienced tremendous growth and success as a result of its hard working and dedicated employees. With their current environment of intimidation, fear, and exhaustion they no longer have a reputation of being a company one can be proud to work for. The growing number of employees in EAP exemplifies this cloud of fear and tension in the working environment.
Intel should question why they are not among the ranks of the top one hundred "best places to work" any longer. Perhaps they should walk-the-talk and begin the transition back to the Intel value of being "a great place to work". They should consider that university graduates will make an informed decision about their future employer, weighing the following factor in their decision.
Set the goal: 5% Improvement required, who gets the axe is immaterial
In the early 1990’s, a new policy was established by Intel to target and terminate 5% of their population base. This task was accomplished by instituting a new policy to the existing performance evaluation categories (Ranking and Rating). This new classification to the evaluation process was called "successful, does not meet" - commonly referred to as "successful, slower than". This evaluation tactic was enforced with total disregard for an employee’s successful performance or ability to meet their tasks, objectives and goals. It allowed management a mechanism to make a competent employee’s performance irrelevant by introducing the "slower than" element to their evaluation.
They used the relative performance criteria as a mechanism to target people while circumventing any potential claims of wrongdoing. Essentially, this gave management a protective tool to selectively target an employee. This tool introduces a subjective evaluation of an individual's performance based strictly on perception rather than merit, results, or other measurable factors. A manager could simply claim an individual’s performance was trending "slower than peers" and not provide any legitimate, measurable areas of inadequacy or specifics for improvements. Furthermore, an employee being "targeted" under these circumstances may not be allowed the knowledge of who they are being trended and compared against. This provides the manager with protection against scrutiny because an individual cannot evaluate or gage their performance.
This plan was designed to be implemented over a period of time to minimize publicity, to drive people harder, and instill in them the fear of loosing their jobs. In other words - to "control" them. The following abusive policy was gradually implemented:
Two consecutive "slow" performance reviews and "you're out",
or two "slow" performances in three reviews and "you're out".
At many relative Ranking and Rating sessions some middle managers consistently raise their concerns about the unfairness of enforcing these quotas and mandating the termination of employees at any cost. This especially affects many departments and projects where the head count is severely below plan.
Set the new goal later:
5% isnt enough, lets make it 10% that need improvement
In February 1994, Human Resource representative, Donna Hasbrouck, presented the required 10% downsizing plan with the following people present at the meeting Joseph Crauskoph, Rank Manager and about six other supervisors, including a FACEI member.
Donna Hasbrouck explained, "During Rank and Rating, once a year, you have to come up with 10% of your employees as slower than and need improvement." The mid-term review was also introduced at the meeting. The purpose was to find "high trackers" and to identify new "slows" and place them on IR. At mid-term the employee who was on an Improvement Required (IR) is the next likely candidate to be terminated. Now they have allowed a mechanism in the evaluation process to target individuals semi-annually.
Oh, Oh! Were not meeting our quota, make it 10% to 15%
In February 1995, Donna Hasbrouck was the same Human Resource Representative who presented "The goal for your next review is to identify 15% of your employees as improvement needed (IR). But 10% is a must." The following witnesses were present at the presentation:
- J.C. Cornet, Vice President of MT
- Joseph Crauskoph (Rank Manager)
- And at least 8 other employees including a FACEI member.
Now we are in trouble and have to reduce the quota back to 5%
The FACE Intel group was formed in March of 1996. On May 22, 1996, FACE Intel group members attended Intel's annual shareholders meeting. Ken Hamidi, who represented the group, with microphone in hand, officially announced existence of the group and blamed Intel's R&R for their acts of discrimination and downsizing.
Intel nervously began to investigate what FACE Intel was all about. After they learned about the seriousness of the group's intentions of informing and educating employees and the public about Intel's inhumane HR policies and practices, one of their immediate reactions was to reduce the R&R quota back to 5%. However, the subjective and predatory nature of Intel's R&R did not change.
Summary of setting the quota of termination
This discriminatory quota system that is part of an unjust ranking and rating policy of Intel is used as a cleanup tool to target and terminate employees with a significant number of years of service, stock options and bonuses. It is no coincidence that these victims happened to be over, or close to, the age of forty. Granting this mandated termination power to managers, specifically the abusive types, will bring about discriminations of all kinds, and will maliciously victimize highly valuable employees. Perhaps Intel could establish fair management practices that evaluate an employee’s performance objectively based on performance, merit and fair conditions of employment. Intel’s constructive discharge policies and practices were developed, and many families were victimized.
The information in this document was gathered by interviewing witnesses that are willing to testify in court, documents verifying this data and studies of previous civil labor lawsuits filed against Intel. The suits are representative of all cases in the different states where Intel has had major sites over the last ten years, including the cases of FACEI members.
Set unreachable demands
Making middle managers do the dirty work
When an employee gets targeted for termination, Intel’s management makes the supervisors use the Corrective Action Plan (CAP) as a means to meet the termination quota. We believe this is abusive and unethical. In the CAP, the performance expectations are generally so steep that they are virtually unattainable - more so for targeted employees. These unreachable demands in the CAP are designed to manipulate the psyche of employees to force them to leave or, unknowing to them, they are being set up for failure as part of the constructive discharge. We have witnesses to prove our point.
We believe for many FACEI members the CAP was used as a tool to facilitate terminations rather than a tool to remedy performance issues. Our finding is that if it appears to the manager that the employee has a chance of successfully completing the CAP, the manager will make the tasks more difficult by pulling in the deadline or by using subjective criteria to indicate the employee did not meet the CAP requirements. We believe this is harassment, and such practice will continue until the employee gives up and terminates employment or simply fails to complete the extreme demands of the CAP and gets terminated.
This kind of unjust treatment has resulted in a considerable number of employees undergoing psychiatric care and in many cases nervous breakdowns. FACEI’s sample survey indicated that a large number of female employees who were unjustly targeted for termination developed nervous breakdowns and left the company on their own. These victims elected to resign instead of subjecting themselves to extreme conditions and humiliation. We have witnesses who will testify in court and to the media.
Use Disciplinary Action ruthlessly:
Progressive disciplinary process - the sequence of events.
Managers hold a private ranking and rating session mandating that the group will come out of the room with no less than 10% of "Improvement Required" employees. Because these sessions are held at a minimum (once every six months), it is almost impossible for managers to identify 10% of incompetent employees. Inevitably, competent employees get targeted and victimized. A CAP (Disciplinary Action) is used as a means of selecting employees for termination between review cycles. In between reviews, the 90-day CAP can be used at a manager’s discretion to meet the quota. The reasons for a CAP can be based on very subjective observations of the manager which may have little or no relevancy to the employee’s job or performance.
Prejudice, bigotry, and hatred can very well play a role in determining an employees destiny. And it has in many cases - particularly for ethnic groups. Civil cases and FACEI’s sample survey will support our view. For a few unfortunate individuals under an IR or CAP, they are "embarrassed" and made to feel guilty that 95% of employees are successful or higher. They are viewed as failures and tagged as unworthy to share in Intel's success. Furthermore, the manager keeps the CAP under tight lid and informs the employee to keep the process confidential as well. We believe this creates a false dependency by the employee to his or her immediate manager. The employee becomes vulnerable and refrains from seeking help from other managers or peers. This situation becomes so unbearable that the employee takes the easy route of accepting the CAP verbatim or accepts the 90-day separation agreement that is forced on him. To the world the employee's termination appears as voluntary - depriving them of their unemployment benefits.
As a subset of the "Relentless Pursuit of Excellence" and in driving "Continuous Improvement", the bar is raised continuously over time. Example the 5% IR needed was introduced around 1991 and was raised to 10% in 1994.
Interpretation: What equals to success now will fall subjectively short down the road. An employee is at the mercy of a bar that is subjectively raised - a good excuse for a clean-up operation. We believe this is how discrimination of age, ethnicity, disability, race, and cruel and unjust treatment of employees becomes so pervasive because of the need to trim costs and increase profitability.
Entice them with 90-days carrot: Make them quit. Itll be a lot cleaner
The Corrective Action Plan (CAP) was designed to afford an employee the opportunity to correct any deficiencies. However, it is written with unreasonable performance expectations typical of the intent of terminating the employee. When the employee realizes that the CAP cannot be satisfactorily completed, he or she elects the 90-day pay out and voluntarily terminates their employment. In reality this is a trap to force termination.
In one member’s experience, when the employee elected to take the 90-day pay out, the supervisor remarked "It'll be a lot cleaner". What is the message here? The supervisor knew that the employee would not be able to complete the CAP requirements, so he was spared the effort of managing the 90-day CAP period. We believe this was a deliberate action to force the employee to quit.
Use Reassignment and Demotion: They will quit
As part of the disciplinary action process, the supervisor has the discretionary power to use (or abuse) reassignment or demotion alternatives to putting the employee on CAP. We know in many cases where this power was used inconsistently, quite possibly in violation of Intel’s own policies and practices. In one department, an employee was reassigned with a lower grade to fit the skills appropriately whereas in another department at the same site, another employee with similar issues was put on CAP in lieu of reassignment. The review, his own job experience and remarks by his supervisor clearly showed that he was a misfit. Talented but in the wrong position. Why was this employee not given an opportunity in a position more suitable for his skills knowing that there were several openings that matched his background? The reason is simple. He was being "targeted for termination".
In other instances, reassignment and demotions are used to humiliate and degrade the employee knowing that the financial or family issues will eventually cause the employee to quit.
Intel's Procedure for Targeting and Terminating Employees
Written By A Then-Current Intel Employee
1. Choose the employee to be targeted. The reason for the targeting is not important. It can be for performance reasons, but it can also be for any other reason including classic discrimination. In short, targeting can be for any reason at all, objective or subjective. However, it is very important to avoid any appearance of legal discrimination.
2. Study the strengths and weaknesses of the employee. Destroy his/her present position, where he/she is rated as "meets the requirements", in a periodic institutionalized reorganization. Draft the unwilling employee into a new position that prays on his/her weaknesses and prohibits his/her strengths from being used or known.
3. In the new position, for which the targeted employee is unqualified, give him/her no training and no direction. If he/she asks for training, deny that training on the grounds of expense or schedule requirements. If he/she asks for direction, give him/her verbal misdirection and deny later that it ever occurred.
4. Cause as much stress as possible for the targeted employee. Give him/her unrealistic tasks with impossible schedules. Shun the targeted employee in the hallway and in meetings. Emphasize their weaknesses, fault their work on a continuous basis, and ignore their strengths. Lie about what occurs in verbal one-on-one meetings. In the weekly report, take credit for the good things that the targeted employee has done during the week and blame them by name (in writing), for what went wrong.
5. The above procedure will predictably cause a poor ranking and rating and a poor review resulting in a justifiable corrective action procedure. Note that it is very important that the targeted employee not be allowed to transfer into a different position where he/she can take advantage of his/her strengths. It is imperative that the targeted employee be kept locked in the position for which he/she is unqualified.
6. Require the targeted employee to spend a lot of time defending past happenings and present decisions. Heap on the paperwork. Assign irrelevant tasks with short deadlines - anything to keep them from doing the job for which they were hired. Requiring longer and longer hours under an ever-increasing degree of stress and paperwork will break most people. For the ones who don't break, the workload is impossible to accomplish so the desired outcome is inevitable.
7. When the targeted employee gives up and takes the predestined buyout, feign compassion and give no hint that this whole procedure was planned at a point in time when the employee was doing a good job and oblivious to any targeting procedure. It is very important that by the time the employee realizes that he/she has been targeted for termination, it is entirely too late for him/her to do anything about it. With tongue-in-cheek, wish the victim good luck in his/her new endeavor while escorting them out the door.
In February 1995, Donna Hasbrouck was the same Human Resource Representative who presented, "The goal for your next review is to identify 15% of your employees as improvement needed (IR). But 10% is a must." The following witnesses were present at the presentation.
J.C. Cornet, Vice President of MT
Joseph Crauskoph (Rank Manager)
At least 8 other employees including a FACEI member