Sunday, October 10, 2010

HP employee morale hits an all time low.

Post 570 - I used to take pride in working as a consultant to Hewlett Packard some twenty-five years ago. There was a company that was economically successful while treating their employees in an enlightened fashion by following a humane philosophy called "the HP Way." However, that's all in the past these days and employee morale must have hit an all time low, judging by this employee comment about support for the new CEO which was recently posted on the web:

"What do I or any of us think of the new HP CEO, Leo Apotheker? What does it matter? HP has stopped caring what any of its employees think or how we feel about anything that is done. We are no different than printers or laptops, just covered in flesh. The underlying problem here is unbridled greed - greed of the board, greed of the executives, greed of the shareholders. Did anyone care that when Mr. Hurd was hired by Oracle, its stock rose? Mr. Hurd was responsible for over 50,000 layoffs and massive pay cuts. Does anyone actually believe that morale at HP has been anything but abysmal for a number of years? How can anyone expect "quality" work from such people?"

"From reports and past performance, Mr. Apotheker appears to be a "cost cutter" (yes, some of us do read more than technical journals). We may not be rocket scientists, but please give IT professionals a bit of credit - we know exactly what that means. More layoffs and pay cuts via reorganization. When HP bought EDS and "moved" some HP people to EDS/ HP Enterprise Services, THEIR pay was cut using the justification that they were being placed into new roles. Of course, this is what HP has been known for - just ask those former Compaq employees who are still around."

"Certainly, a pay cut is better than a layoff, but it is like a water torture. Drip by drip, dollar by dollar, we await the next slash with dread. Customers are starting to feel the difference, although they may not care, at least not yet. IT work still requires "brains," which I think requires some level of enthusiasm. When you cannot afford to care for your children or pay your mortgage, it is difficult to be enthusiastic. The value loss is immeasurable - how can one determine what someone might have been able to do if his heart was in it? I see many employees trying, but only they know if is their "best work."

"Of course, Mr. Apotheker would know nothing about this. A $1.2 million salary, plus a $4 million signing bonus, PLUS a $4.6 million dollar "relocation package"? I won't even get into the tens of thousands of restricted stock he'll be getting, and he's not even started work yet. For those of us who've gone for years with no raises and worse (pay cuts of 25-30% and more after years without raises) despite quality performance, it is clear signal that things will not be getting better, at least for us. But who cares, as long as stock values rise?"

I know that there are many other 'wounded giants' in the same boat as HP. It's time for another industrial revolution to lead our executive class back to the first principles that America was founded on.


Anonymous said...

As a 28 year employee I agree with everything you are saying, these beliefs are common across the HP employee base and they hate the company they once loved and gave their heart and soul to. The one item that was not mentioned is that this morale is irreversible. Even if Leo did the right thing (not likely) nothing he does will ultimately make a difference, too little too late. Speaking for myself and many of my colleagues, after enduring 10 years disrespectful, dishonest and immoral treatment, we are out to simply milk it for what it worth (a pay check) and selfishly dump them (CEO, BOD and senior/middle managers) as soon as a equal paying job comes along. Hurd, Carly and Marcella have taught us all well.

john cotter said...

I wish you good fortune in finding a better employer. I think it's such a sad story....

Anonymous said...

I have been at HP for 16 years now and have finally decided to start looking for a better employer.
All i want to see if HP going down just like SUN. I am sure it will and I hope i am around to see that day because the way it is being run is just very very sad and nothing in the world can repair the damage.

David said...

There are options. Fear is the tool that drives HP success.