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Layoff status. Chances of returning. HP Inc, HPE.

Advice and reference info from members of the independent HP Alumni Association.  (Updated September 20, 2019.)

Use the HPAA's Career Checkup -- hard-earned advice from members on evaluating your career situation -- wherever you work.

This is based on company policies, statements to investors, extensive online discussions, and private communications with members.

1. Current layoff status for each successor company.

2. Why this is happening.

3. Advice from alumni to current employees and those being laid off

4. Returning to HP Inc or HPE.

5. Comments from members who have left. 

1. Current layoff status for each successor company

HP Inc:  "HP Inc. to cut as much as 16% of workforce amid reorganization... ...will cut 7,000 to 9,000 positions through firings and voluntary early retirement."  "...the company said it would make changes to its printing unit to focus on providing more services. HP will raise prices for printers that can be used with non-HP ink cartridges, so that the hardware is more profitable. Currently, printers are sold cheaply and the unit’s operating profit margin is padded by the ink supplies."  San Jose Mercury 10/4/19

HPE: "HP Next" restructuring: Reducing number of workforce locations, number of manufacturing locations, and number of markets served. Selling Corporate HQ. Down to 25,000 employees. 

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 and offshoring. 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).

Moving to short-term employment.
1966: "...job security based on performance..." Hewlett-Packard Corporate Objectives
Today: "...the jump in the number of unincorporated talent now in the services workforce. To take advantage of this trend, we created the DXC Dynamic Talent Cloud, a smart crowdsourcing platform that enables us to bring new people and skills to DXC as we need them." DXC Q1 2018 Earnings Call
"Job security is having the skills to be persistently employable, rather than keeping a long-term position." HP Inc Workplace 2020  

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." New center in New Orleans will work with local colleges "developing a next-generation IT workforce." (Link)

HPE: "110,000 people left this organization, and it was in some way is like the tide going out. You could see where there were real opportunities to improve... Decreasing the layers in our customer-facing organization... Reducing the number of markets that we operate in... shift roles from high cost countries to low cost countries. (Link

3. How to evaluate your situation

Use the HPAA's Career Checkup -- hard-earned advice from members on evaluating your career situation -- wherever you work.

4. Returning to HP Inc, HPE, DXC, or Micro Focus in the US

This policy details section may be out of date. We have no recent member reports on this issue.

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. The changes to the workforce vary by country, based on local legal requirements.

HP Inc US formal policy: "It is important for HP to protect the investments made in workforce reductions and to keep its commitment to current employees to invest in their careers by creating opportunities for growth and promotion. As a result, under current HP Policy, former employees who left the company, in May 2012 or later, through a workforce reduction program are ineligible for rehire or to be engaged as an agency contractor."  (Links)

HPE US formal policy: "After this 60-day period, you are ineligible for rehire... Additionally, former employees who left under a severance agreement or enhanced early retirement, workforce reduction or similar circumstances (e.g., MSA or ETA) are not eligible to return to HPE as an agency contractor."

Informal policy: "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. The company didn't commit to anything. Sample Waivers 

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

Eight former employees -- from CA, DC, IL, TX, WA, and VA; some of whom did not sign the Waiver and General Release Agreement required to receive severance -- have filed a class action suit accusing HP Inc and HPE of age discrimination in layoffs. (Employment suits generally move slowly. The class action filed in 2006 concerning EDS/HP overtime was settled after nine years, 79 depositions, and 1.5 million pages of documents -- paying an average of $950 each to 2,700 people in 2015.)  Details: HPI and HPE Employment Lawsuits

DXC: DXC is a separate company. No member reports about returning have been received.

Micro Focus: Micro Focus is a separate company. No member reports about returning have been received.

Advice from alumni to those considering returning.  Based on extensive online discussions and private communications with HPAA members...

- 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.

- Working through an agency is very different from direct employment. For legal reasons, you are treated differently -- for example, not included in staff meetings or celebrations. People's attitude toward you is different. Easy to get into a situation where, due to the agency's undisclosed markup, you are expected to work at a higher level than you are being paid for. When comparing alternatives, be sure to factor in the reduced benefits.

- 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. "Do I value myself and my family so little that I'd be willing to put our fortunes back in that position a second time?"

5. Comments from alumni who have 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."

- "Now I work for a 200-employee company and can get decisions made same-day."

- "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. https://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 pragmatic, actionable advice. (Not the usual motivational fluff.)

HPAlumni: 28,000-member independent association of former HP and HPE employees -- and those in the process of leaving. Operated by volunteers. Not endorsed or supported by any company. Join private US Benefits, Transition, Finance, US JobPost, TechTalk forums at no charge: https://www.hpalumni.org

For more mutual help on this topic and many others, join the independent HP Alumni Association. If you were formerly a regular, direct employee of HP, HPI, or HPE -- or are in the process of leaving -- join HPAlumni. No charge, thanks to HPAA members.

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