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Returning to HPI, HPE, DXC, Micro Focus...

Advice and reference info from members of the independent HP Alumni Association. Email: operations@hpalumni.org  (Updated July 7, 2017.)

Chances are slim for former employees who want to return to any of the successor companies (HP Inc, HPE, DXC, or Micro Focus) -- especially in the US and other high-labor-cost countries. This is based on company policies, statements to investors, extensive online discussions, and private communications with members.

Four sections:

1. Current layoff status for each successor company.

2. Why this is happening.

3. Legal and corporate policy issues.

4. Advice from alumni:

- To current employees and those being laid off.
- To those considering returning.
- Comments from members who left.

 


1. Current layoff status for each successor company

HPI:  "Approximately 3,000 employees exited by the end of fiscal year 2016... HP expects between 3,000 and 4,000 employees to exit by the end of fiscal year 2019."  "...this restructuring program is a three-year program." Links

HPE: "lowering our rehire rates"  "...delayering as we right-size the organization ahead of the separation from ES and SW."  "...approximately 12,200 employees to exit the Company by the end of 2018." Links

DXC: A "labor war room" to track every new employee hire. "Labor cost cuts for DXC will begin this quarter and accelerate in coming quarters..." Links  

Micro Focus: Expects to increase revenue for the HPE products from $185K/employee to $273K/employee -- counting "all full time employees, contractors, a headcount transfer from the HPE Global Marketing Team and estimates for staff transferring from central corporate functions." Links


2. Why this is happening

The IT industry is changing. Two macro trends: Traditional IT products and services have become commodities -- resulting in brutal price competition. Standardized, automated cloud-based IT is displacing labor-intensive, customized data-center-based IT -- reducing employment across the industry. Links 

Investor pressure for short-term results. The successor companies are under the same cost-cutting pressure as the old companies. Investors are being promised that layoffs will continue. Examples: Morgan Stanley stock analyst pinning down HPE CFO on layoff savings (Link). Goldman Sachs analyst pressing DXC CEO on offshoring percentage (Link).

Company needs are changing. New technologies and business models require different employee skills. Companies need to make room so that the next generation of employees can advance. Jobs are being moved to lower-cost countries. Increased use of contract employees. Many functions are simply no longer needed.

"...how do you keep up with this next generation of IT and how do you bring people into this company for whom it isn't something they have to learn, it is what they know." "...we need to return to a labor pyramid that really looks like a triangle where you have a lot of early career people who bring a lot of knowledge who you're training to move up through your organization, and then people fall out either from a performance perspective or whatever..." (Link

DXC: "We are bringing more and more people in at lower levels of the organization."  (Link).


3. Legal and corporate policy issues

This section is US-specific. The changes to the workforce vary by country, based on local legal requirements and consultations with employee representatives.

HPI and HPE current policy: If you left HP, HPI, or HPE in May 2012 or later -- and were paid under a WFR, EER, or other restructuring program -- you are ineligible for rehire or engagement as an agency contractor. "It is important for [HPI; HPE]... to keep its commitment to current employees to invest in their careers by creating opportunities for growth and promotion." Details

"We put in place an informal rule... when you are replacing someone, really think about the new style of IT skills." (Link)

"...eventually you will wear out. Not many people can last for twenty or thirty years, which is why we need to attract young people." (Link)

The current formal and informal rehire policies do not contradict any previous version of the Waiver and General Release that you signed in order to be paid severance or a retirement incentive. Read your actual agreement. You agreed not to apply for employment for a certain time period -- and you acknowledged that you are not entitled to future employment. Sample Waivers 

Returning via an agency or contractor no longer works -- they are now required to submit SSNs.

DXC: Not enforcing the formal HPE policy against rehiring people who took EER or severance. However, rehiring reported by members has been limited to positions that require highly-specialized skills or continuing in-person account contact -- or roles at accounts that require local employment, US citizenship, or security clearance. 

Micro Focus: No member reports yet.


4. Advice from alumni

Based on extensive online discussions and private communications with HPAA members...

Advice to current employees and those being laid off:

- Determine if you are in a dying or stagnant segment of the industry. Follow the online magazines and forums in your field. To determine where the company expects to grow, read transcripts of the quarterly stock analyst conference calls -- if you read closely, they are often remarkably revealing. HPI   HPE   DXC   Micro Focus

- Evaluate your current skills by analyzing the degree requirements and course descriptions on a university website. Could you compete with a new graduate? "I wish I had faced the fact earlier that my knowledge was mostly HP-centric and that my technical skills were out of date."

- Your knowledge of legacy products may be more valuable to a customer or reseller than to the company. Unobtrusively ensure that the outsiders you work with know how to contact you personally. Update your LinkedIn profile (but first set "Sharing profile edits" to "No" -- so as not to alert all your LinkedIn connections.)

- Despite your workload and performance, you are not indispensable. The company may decide that your product is no longer important, or that the contract you are working under won't be renewed. The company may decide to reduce labor costs in your business unit, or to consolidate the work at another location, or...

Advice to those considering returning:

- Returning may have long-term career consequences. It can postpone learning new skills or technology, starting over at another company, or changing careers. "You don't want to appear to be only employable by HP." "I could've spent that time working my way up in a new company."

- If you are approached about -- or apply for -- a direct or agency-contract position at one of the successor companies, be very clear about your employment history. A recruiter or manager may not know about the formal or informal restrictions -- or may be overly-confident about getting approval. Many report losing critical time and wasting valuable energy on discussions that ended abruptly without explanation. If you did not leave under a restructuring program, make that very clear.

- It is a different company now. The managers who supported you may no longer have political power or may have left. The current work environment can tend to reduce teamwork and freedom. And you can always be laid off again in the next cycle.

Comments from members who left:

- "Learn new technologies and remember HP as kind of like college -- it was fun while it lasted."

- "Making less but I now get to spend more of my time doing the part of the work that I love."

- "I wish I had recognized much earlier the futility of my job and what it was doing to me. On the way home after an exhausting day, I bought groceries. I realized that the guy bagging groceries at the store had done more for civilization that day than I had."

- "Found out I was grossly underpaid."

- "Having HP on my résumé helps to open doors with other firms."

- "In retrospect being WFR'd was a blessing. It forced me to get out, rethink who I am and what is important. I certainly would not have started my own business without the shove."

- "I wish I would have known that I had greater skills at adapting to my life after HP, resilience in dealing with the transition, and competencies that were valued by others."

- You may find "the companionship you thought you'd miss, the dreams you thought you'd dropped, and the enthusiasm you thought you left back in your youth."


Comments to operations@hpalumni.org will be kept in confidence.

See also:

- Know someone leaving HPI or HPE? Send them this link to our "ASAP Checklist" -- advice from alumni on urgent things to do before losing access to internal systems and in the following weeks. http://www.hpalumni.org/asap  (HPAA membership not required.)

- Links, advice, and reference info from HPAA members about job searching and career issues.

- "Job Searching for the Mature Worker" -- HPAA video with practical, actionable advice.


HPAlumni: 27,000-member independent association of former HP, HP Inc, and HPE employees -- and current employees in the process of leaving. Operated by volunteers. Not officially endorsed or supported. Join private US Benefits, Transition, Finance, US JobPost, TechTalk forums at no charge: http://www.hpalumni.org

 

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