Promises, promises, promises (Editorial)

By John Hobel
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/09/2003

When Ford Motor Company announced in early 2000 that it was giving employees computers and Internet access for a nominal monthly fee, it was heralded as a bold move in special benefits. The automaker was distinguishing itself from competitors in the war for talent. Today, a year and a half later, 17,000 Canadian Ford workers are still waiting for the computers they were promised as part of the first wave of a world-wide rollout of the innovative scheme.

Once seen as a boost to morale, the computer promise has become the opposite. Ford says it is still committed to the program — delivery was to have started in the spring of 2000 — and the delay is linked to solving problems in a pilot rollout at its Oakville, Ont. plant that resulted in a decision to defer the program’s implementation while management rethought its strategy. A far cry from the enthusiastic corporate mood in early 2000.

Employees were thrilled with the original announcement, Ford scored positive headlines and benefit and compensation specialists were viewing the initiative as a benchmark for competitors to match.