Thread regarding Intel Corp. layoffs

Rehabilitation

OK, so I can agree that getting rid of some dead weight in a huge company like Intel is sometimes necessary, but the problem with ACT is that it didn't get rid of dead weight. I am a front line manager, so let me give you a little insight into what happened from manager perspective:

In the last Focal, managers were forced to find people who'd get SSL 4. So they did. These people were not necessarily the worst people in the teams. Often, they were simply people who did not perform well in the last year only. Often, managers just picked someone and gave them a higher raise to compensate for the lower SSL. In some cases, team members even agreed to get a lower SSL because they preferred a higher raise. All of this happened, because nobody knew that SSL 4 would imply getting an ISP. So a lot of people got ISPs who didn't deserve it. And a lot of people who deserved ISPs didn't get one.

Same with VSPs. Those were given mostly to people who didn't get EE ratings for 3+ years. Well, most team managers nowadays have development plans for their teams, because of restricted raise/rating/promotion possibilities. If you have a team of 10 people, you can give two EEs per year - perhaps three if you are lucky. So managers know exactly whom to give which rating in which year to get them promoted. They are not only giving performance-based ratings but also strategic ratings. In my team, I gave an EE rating to one team member, because he had an EE two years ago, so I had to give him an EE this year to promote him (he was overdue, really). Otherwise, the old EE would have been lost (you need two EEs in three years to promote people). So I did not give an EE to another team member who really would have deserved it, but instead I used my promo budget to give him a higher raise (which made him happy) and marked him as a definite candidate for EE next year. But now he got a VSP because of that and left. He wasn't dead weight. He was essential for my team, for our next product and for our key customers. But the VSP made him feel unwanted, no matter how much I begged him to stay. If I had been given a choice, I would have picked another guy to remove from the team.

Why are the managers not given a choice? Because Intel doesn't trust the front line managers to make managerial decisions. There's all this talk about how we are leaders. But we're only asked to be leaders after the fact, to clean up the mistakes made by upper management. Now we're asked to act like leaders and bring the teams back on their feet after ACT. But we were not allowed to be leaders during ACT by actually picking the real low performers. We are not allowed to act like leaders in Focal, because we're given highly restricted budgets for raises and SSL which force us to play silly games with the raises, SSLs and promotions which in turn gets the wrong people fired.

It's not like Intel really wants us to be leaders. We front line managers get zero trainings, except for some nebulous leadership nonsense that has no connection to Intel reality. But we don't get trainings about how to properly identify and deal with low performers, how to create a healthy fluctuation that keeps the company healthy, and so on. Yes, I am sorry to say it, but your are being led by managers who are flying by the seats of their pants and who are being led by managers who blindly execute whatever they are told and who in turn are being led by managers who think every team, no matter how small, can be rated on a bell curve - or that they have to be rated on a bell curve, because front line managers can't make managerial decisions.

So no, don't think that ACT removed deadwood. It removed 12,000 people - many of them important to the future of the company. It did so because of a lack of trust in front line management - which is to some extent justified because Intel doesn't care about empowering and educating front line management. We front line managers are useless idiots. Or at least we're being treated like ones. Doesn't matter, the end result is the same.

I am now looking for a new job, because I am sick of not being trusted to do my current one. I am sick of telling people in Focal that "successful" is a good rating and then having to admit that it was a lie. I am sick of being asked to "lead" only when it's time to clean up messes I did not create. I am sick of being forced to give ratings that may or may not cause my team members to get fired. I am sick of being told to do strict performance management, while the manager four levels above me didn't have anyone from his staff removed, indicating to me that nobody at that level got ISPs or VSPs - which looks like a case of zero performance management to me.

I didn't get a VSP, sadly. I asked my boss to give me one and he refused. He openly told me he asked the same from his boss and didn't get one either. Misery likes company, I guess. So I will go without the package. Got my fifth interview tomorrow. Looking great so far. Giving up my RSUs could imply an unpleasant pay cut, but right now, I just want out.

Sorry for the long post, but I had to vent. ;-)

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7

36 replies (most recent on top)

Wow

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1qxhv

There is significant politics at the VP+ levels. I know one of the VP's who was pretty much forced out by being strongly encouraged to take retirement just because the SVP did not "like" the VP. Ignoring fact that the VP had over 2 decades of consistent very high level of performance and Well respected and liked by his entire organization.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-7hir

Gold post for sure...thank you for your candor OP. I'm one of those who took VSP after seeing so many good people get let go. Both my manager and his manager asked me to stay and I could hear their frustration and near-desperation as they admitted I was better off and one also wished he'd been offered VSP. Intel became a part of my identity and it was like going through a divorce to leave. It was, however, a very good decision for me to leave and I pray things get better as I have so many friends who've stayed, but my actions were representative of how I felt things were going and so far intuition has served me well. Good luck and God speed!

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-5eur

Unfortunately focal has always been subjective, for both performance and value. You could be awesome to your customers and in your projects, but if the subjectivity moves towards the side of other projects because maybe it is "the flavor of the month", then people associated with those projects/areas get better recognition in Focal even if their individual performance was less than yours. I became a Nokia or Yahoo for my management chain eventhough for my customers I was Google or Apple and hence an SLA was sent my way despite an above average pay raise and great review.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-3vat

Thank you for sharing your experience as a manager. I also chose to leave recently after seeing the ugly ACT (no VSP or ISP, but could see the company didn't care about its people), but never thought about it from my manager's or other manager's perspective. Thank you for sharing your experience and good luck!

I think you are correct, I saw firsthand how managers really had to clean up upper management's mess, meanwhile they seemed to be left in the dark about what is really going on so they have to say consoling things which are white lies because they really may not know what is going on or why. They just have to deliver the 'bad' news but still speak positively on behalf of the company. I don't know how you do it, but I admire you for listening to your conscience and doing what's best for your self and your soul.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-2twh

Recognize all of above... after working as a manager at Intel for few years... first shocked about how a succesful company like Intel could manage staying ahead of competition.

ACT is the result of not timeline adopt to market changes and staying ahead of competition through internal inovation (instead of buying companies).

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-2skg

OMG!!! So spot on!! Performance management is being circumvented by BK's ACT criteria and totally mistargetted the lacky's that should have been shown the exit....

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-2otu

For people that said they got SL4 or SL5 as a new Intel employee, yes many groups do that. However, that SL4/SL5 does not count toward ACT criteria. If you transfer to a new team during the year, that new team should not give you SL4/SL5 either. I believe there are some rules against doing that, but I'm not certain about it. You had bad managers.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-2npc

@1ipy- i'm not bad, just pointing out how much of a skumbag you are.🖕

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1ecv

As an Intel manager, I am always happy when somebody on my team resigns, regardless of how valuable they have been. Nobody should be above the team. I am then able to give this person S4/S5 without any debates. This really helped me avoid these forced distributions.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1voz

@1epm- 1gup"Honestly, I think he was butt-hurt" he's talking about you POS. When Murthy showed you the door after making you squeal like a pig, elections in Nov., and you fake news CNN getting caught making stories up. Suks to be you, parasite!

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1loo

Have the best job at Intel I manage a group that's 35% h1 almost all the white guys/sr fat guys play golf one day a week, off site meeting, go to confrences, live on expense account. The h1 do better work thampn anyone else do the work of 2 others

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1tqy

This --> "Problem is managers. If they like someone or feel they need protection they don't pursue feedback from critics. If they don't like someone they look everywhere for negative input. Checks and balances needed!"

Intel has become a cauldron of politics and tribes.

That I had missed a team meeting some months back and that someone on the team said that I needed to "improve my communication skills" (my manager had sought feedback on me from his network) was somehow justification for giving me Stock Level 4.

Ironically, how I missed the (routine, nothing-important-weekly meeting) was that I had been invited to speak at a conference on the work that I was spearheading for Intel and gotten time zones mixed up. I called my manager when I realized this after I realized what had happened and he made it seem like no big deal. Then several months later...

Honestly, I think he was butt-hurt about me being asked to speak and present on my work instead of him being able to take credit. Citing tight travel budgets, he had me cancel participation in a couple of domestic conferences and standards meetings in which I had been invited to speak and participate.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1gup

Agree with OP on most, one exception: Given their lack of skills maybe you better off without training from upper management and HR!

Understand strategic grading reasons, what make far less sense is how obviously poor performers get promoted while solid steady engineers got ISP or VSP. One guy in IT promoted to PE last year that should be fired years ago. Problem is managers. If they like someone or feel they need protection they don't pursue feedback from critics. If they don't like someone they look everywhere for negative input.

Checks and balances needed!

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1hmq

"ACT failed because it assumed managers were giving ratings appropriately."

Among other reasons...

But this really gets to the heart of the arbitrariness of it. I got an S/SL4 from my manager because she said that SL4 was appropriate for "new employees" (I had been at Intel for just over a year and received an S/SL4 on my prior FOCAL, which was for my first 2 months at Intel for the same reason). I got walked with ACT.

In my just over one year at Intel, I accomplished a heck of a lot. Way more, way sooner than what my manager and me agreed were my goals. Even received external awards and very public recognition of my expertise and contributions at the national level.

Did every manager rate their "new" people S/SL4, even if they had clearly done a great job? I'd bet the answer is no. But that's Intel...

Intel recruited me from one of their important customers. I now work at another customer. Believe me that the ecosystem knows just how much of a mess Intel is. Probably worse there is a widespread perception that Intel is hard to work with and that Intel people are arrogant and usually ignorant.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1zez

Of course managers strategize when they know algorithms will be run that identify people to fire who have been 'successful' for too long. You get the behaviors that adapt for survival in an environment like that.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1ayv

To OP, What else to expect when people like you are manager

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1cla

Focal is a joke because no one trust it. It is just another game to play, no transparency, no honesty. I see a grade 8 in an engineering team does not do engineering or does not even know how to do engineering work. Lower grades must explain in detail on their engineering work so that he can build ppt for manager. ACT has no impact to him. Apparently he provides expected work to manager. No wonder good engineers are leaving.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1zwp

The managers that try to "strategize" promoting the most number of people are part of the problem. You're supposed to give the best ratings to whoever is most deserving even if someone gets it 10 years in a row. That's meritocracy. If no one else in the team ends up getting promotions but are deserving, they'll try to leave the company and HR will have to find the budget to keep them. You do you your job to force HR to do theirs. Even before the URM debacle, the hiring and promotion standard at Intel have been terrible. Many managers are more concerned with growing their empires than hiring the best they can, then they're reluctant to performance manage out under performers. IC's have much to complain here, but managers such as OP have no right to complain here. Don't blame Intel for the lack of training. If you don't have the skills to be a good manager, don't be one.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1vfc

All about the budget and distribution, must meet the distribution and budget.

Also don't forget the call from management to revisit every potiential URM to make statistics look good. This has really gotten out of hand with GM calling down asking if some women or Hispanic can be reconsidered for promo to GR8 9 or even 10 above more worthy candidates, all on the clowns watch 🤡

FOCAL at Intel is a FUBAR!

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1ejs

Gold post, OP. Godspeed on your next endeavors.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1dnf

If each manager selected employees as he owned the company, the strong technical people would be definitely employed. There would be no place for bozos survival.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1uwc

As a manager, this resonates. And yes, to maximize promoting as many deserving members of your team requires a strategic multi-year mindset. My employees advanced well because of this approach. Also, at one point, Intel invested in managers with MTP (one week intensive managerial task cycle), but in the past several years HR abdicated any responsibility and walked away from supporting managers, or teaching new managers the fundamentals of managing. There is a rebound now with MAI, but it is absurd that a 'prestigious' fortune 100 company actually went years on end with next to zero support for teaching new managers how to be effective managers.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1kll

This escalated quickly

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1qhm

I'm a manager too and the constraint the OP described did exist. However, the OP is at fault for giving ratings "strategically." You don't try to game the system by spreading ratings and promo budget around to try to keep everyone happy. You give it to the most deserving person and let the chip fall where they fall. ACT failed because it assumed managers were giving ratings appropriately. Managers like OP are responsible for its failure also. Also, if you're job is a manager, it's your job to acquire management skills instead of relying on Intel to provide training. Read books, take classes, get mentors, etc. If you're a software developer, do you expect Intel to teach you how to code or do you acquire coding skills before you apply for the job? Lastly, if you want to leave Intel, just leave. Why do you feel like you're entitled to free money to leave.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1xes

To add to the pain many of the employees so ruthlessly fired for dubious reasons have landed at the very customers intel needs to win in the upcoming cometitive fight. Many are at high levels in a position to make decisions about which supplier to use next (ex. Kirk). My bet is this will come back to bite BK in his backside.

Still others dubiously fired are gainfully employed at the competition highly motivated to get some payback.

The purge and hire strategy is showing cracks. Sad.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1pju

This is all BS and an old post. In certain groups only US citizens, green card holders got laid off. There is a correlation this group is more vocal and more competitive than their H1B counterparts.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1vdd

Yes, thanks!

Must read for how focal really happens in the circus lead by a 🤡 And where nobody will stand up to end it

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1ixd

Great post OP thanks for the insight to how manager were pawns to what feeds above in the focal process and the internal battles with HR and the musical chairs.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-1qff

Decades ago Intel was the place but last five years it is the employer of last resort.

So happy to be out of that circus led by class leading clown🤡

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-cgi

Intel - where your career goes to die.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-aem

Well said! And indicative of a Focal process long in need of fundamental reform.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-vmd

Thx. Yeah I am leaving too. Thx for sharing the truth.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-cou

Feel bad for OP and feel bad for my ex managers who kept telling me to be happy with my rating. But the truth is that when the managers do so-called strategical meritocracy rating, they just won't be able to keep the top talent.

After the upper managers failed to explain why they rated me below my expectation even though they gave me a promotion, I happily took a job outside intel and got my total compensation doubled.

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-qzy

Good luck with your interviews and kudos for being brave and leaving this turd of a managed company.

I was one of those that got caught up in the ACT. Two decades four promos and then caught on the wrong side of project - organization and got my first SL4.

Agreed that focal is a circus and getting worse. Can't imagine what it was like this year with management wondering what is the critieria for the next layoff

Have confidence there are many exciting opportunities out there and most of all some great tech managers too! Intel is a cesspool these days from everyone I hear there. Only reason people stay is money or equity and now where else where they can go.

For the young or brave it is a no brainer to get out!

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-gqw

Sadly the whole "forced distribution" personnel management philosophy is the standard modus operandi for any large technology or manufacturing company. This is what is being taught in business schools today. "Lets reward mediocrity!"

Good luck OP. We cant all have job security like the burger-brah HR troll...

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Post ID: @NZoSFt7-pmj

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