In Transition, All is OK at Intel

You’ve read the headlines in 2006: Intel is reorganizing. And later in the year: Intel is laying people off.

In the eye of the storm is Dorenda Kettmann, Intel’s director, global staffing, who I met with yesterday in Silicon Valley. Kettmann is upbeat but realistic about Intel’s staffing.?

“I think it’s OK,” she says, of Intel’s employee morale, and seemingly of the entire situation at Intel in general. Employees simply want to know, she says, “what are we doing, why are we doing it, and what do we have to look forward to,” and want some sense of security about their jobs. Relieved of worry about whether they’ll have a job, they can focus on doing well at the one they’ve got.

Kettmann’s department is splitting up, with the most strategic work separated from the more tactical/operations work. That tactical/operations work will be combined with other Intel operations — all part of the reorganizing. Intel is still finalizing what will be in each department, and how the two sections will work together.

On top of that, Intel’s moving from a PeopleSoft recruiting system (part of its larger PeopleSoft HRMS) to a Taleo system, with the “go-live” date scheduled for November 15.?

Meanwhile, Intel is of course still fighting off other area employers for top candidates, especially engineers. It is trying to hire a greater percentage of recent college graduates in proportion to all new hires; Kettmann says these “RCGs” are easier to integrate, and quit less. It has figured out which colleges are producing the best employees once here, a list which corresponds fairly closely to “best-college” lists put out by U.S. News and other publications.

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To keep up on what’s happening in recruiting, Intel’s recruiters use McKinsey research, Harvard business publications, the Corporate Leadership Council, ERE, and Best Practices, LLC. The Corporate Leadership Council has recently been concerned with the area of “employee value propositions,” which essentially means, “why should someone work at Intel?”?

Although it is one of the world’s most admired companies situated in a fascinating part of the country?– where streets are named Java Drive and Innovation Way — the “why work at Intel?” question is likely to occupy a good deal of her team’s time in the coming year, Kettmann says.

This is not the first reorg for Kettmann; in fact, it’s almost par for the course at Intel. She has spent more than three decades at the company, working on everything from mergers and acquisitions to compensation plans to performance management. She’s about ready to take a sabbatical, one that typically lasts eight weeks but can be expanded by using vacation time.

Intel employees can do whatever they want with their sabbaticals, from writing a book to doing volunteer work to simply relaxing. Kettmann is likely to choose the latter.?

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