back to article Pay-off or lay-off: HP calls on 700 staff to heed redundo plea

Hewlett-Packard has reduced the number of UK employees it plans to show the door in its latest round of redundancies from 934 to 720. Employees at the company received an email, seen by The Register, from management last week in which HP confirmed that it was asking for all its UK infrastructure technology outsourcing (ITO) …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Is there an English translation?

    My HR-ese is a little rusty

    1. Ned Leprosy

      Re: Is there an English translation?

      Good to see the spirit of DEC is still alive and well at HP!

      Obviously when I say "good" I mean "extremely sad", but you get the idea.

  2. Natalie Gritpants

    WTF is bestshore?

    I can only guess it's what happens to your jobs when, not only are the people in India cheaper than you, they are better too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Bestshore is anywhere the labor pool can be easily exploited.

      I see refugee camps being the next big thing in HP outsourcing. "You want a bowl of rice? Well, you better up that res. rate."

    2. Willy Messerschmitt

      HR drone speak ?

      "in India cheaper than you, they are better too."

      They are definitely cheaper to perform routine tasks, but most of them have zero creativity when it comes to develop new ideas and technologies.

      Countries like Denmark (MySQL) and Norway (Qt) contribute more to the IT world than India, at least intellectually, despite India having about 300 times more inhabitants. That's of course if you don't take into account the routine work specified by western customers. There are much less codemonkeys in Norway than in India, so if you have a ton of routine work to be done at the lowest acceptable quality standards, India is "bestshore".

      If you need the best solution to a new problem, go to Norway. Or Denmark. Or Finland.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Having to work with guys from India most days... they certainly don't have better IT skills than any other geo. Simply doing things on the other side of the planet with different cultures/languages isn't as effective as CxO's market

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The bestshore is the one where the work can be done cheapest.. Not bestest, but cheapest...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in France

    HP had a similar problem in France a few years back. Came out with a number (1200 I think), it caused outrage. Local mayor went to HP HQ in Palo Alto, argued for reduced numbers. Eventually negotiated it down to 800 or so, then HP asked for volunteers.

    They got more volunteers than the original number that was planned!!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      No surprise

      The union that French HP workers were members of had negotiated an amazing deal for anyone laid off. Not only did they get some ridiculously high payout (particularly if you were closeish to retirement age) but HP had to offer to pay for retraining you in whatever industry you wished to move to. There were an awful lot of people wanting to become airline pilots.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Is that English?

    “acceptance of EOWs in areas where there are no Q4 bestshore plans will be dependent on successful backfill by employees who may be impacted by these plans”.

    “We fully appreciate the difficult challenge that we face to deliver benchmark cost structures and the impact that this has at an individual level,”

    ... and I thought my company used pathetic spin in its internal communications! I think that anyone who speaks this type of language deserves a proper successful backfill.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And so

    The floggings will continue until morale improves....

  6. spodula


    “acceptance of EOWs in areas where there are no Q4 bestshore plans will be dependent on successful backfill by employees who may be impacted by these plans”

    Wow, i'm glad to see the campaign for clear english has made an impact in our large corperate overlords.

  7. targetpractice

    Glad to see it's not just me

    “We fully appreciate the difficult challenge that we face to deliver benchmark cost structures and the impact that this has at an individual level."

    I hope they fully appreciate the difficult challenge we face to understand what they are trying to say.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An attempt at translation...

    “acceptance of EOWs in areas where there are no Q4 bestshore plans will be dependent on successful backfill by employees who may be impacted by these plans”

    A wonderful massacre of the english language, isn't it? Mind you what more to expect from a company who's latest slogan is 'Let's Do Amazing'?

    What I THINK it's trying to say is that if you want to leave and you don't work in an area to be bestshored then you will only be allowed to leave if there's someone else (who also may want to leave) to take your place...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      an alternative translation

      What it actually means is "if you want to leave and you are someone who is in demand by the client and that we are making very nice margins on, you haven't got a chance of getting your EOW accepted".

      The get out clause for HP is they will say that even though there are lots more people working on this account in Elbonia, they can't find anyone with suitable skills in the UK to replace you and they know they'd be up the proverbial Creek if you left. Just don't expect a pay rise. Or a bonus. Or training. Whilst the management's parentage may be questionable, they aren't completely stupid.

  9. Willy Messerschmitt

    Suggestion to HP Employees

    First a little bit of historic perspective: HP was founded soon after the Great Depression with the clear objectives to do something innovative and to respect employees. This meant that hire&fire were unacceptable and the company went great lengths to find work for employees who were at one point redundant. During the oil crisis, HP reducing working hours and pay by 20% but did not lay off people.

    HP was a great innovator in measurement and IT doing things like microwave measurement instruments, medical devices, portable atomic clocks, one of the early RISC processors, one of the early Unixes, invented inkjet printing, a pioneer in laser printers etc.

    Bill Hewlett was with the Army Signal Corps during WW2 and Dave Packard was at one point deputy Secretary of Defense.

    But after the death of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard the MBA types took over and firmly destroyed this Great Company. First they split off Agilent, which further disintegrated into Philips Medical, Avago and more funny plastic-names.

    Then Super-Saleswoman Fiorina gave the remaining HP computer/printer business a royal beating, but failed to be financially successful. After that Hurd continued the strategy to messing up the remaining HP by treating people like dirt, but at least he delivered good numbers.

    Now HP is a boring company with zero innovation, something like XEROX. They still have a lot of elite engineers and scientists, but their ideas are routinely binned by the MBA drones.

    To retaliate, I suggest the best HP engineers simply send their C.V. directly to Google:

    stevengrant AT

    Steven is always grateful for receiving applications by good engineers who can do more than just the MBA blabla. Be prepared to know the complexity of quicksort and Matrix multiplication along with counting words, doing histograms etc in the most efficient way.

    And please do it through HPs own email system, so that the drones wake up to their incompetence.

    Googe is a great company where innovation and people are still valued. I am not affilated with them or have financial interest, but I once was an HP employee and I hate the guys who have taken over.

  10. Zebad

    The masters of corporate gobbledegook

    I work for HP - I've now lost count of the number of culls of whatever-they-call-the-group-I'm-in-this-week in the 3.5 years I've been here (at EDS initially).

    Every time, phrases such as "benchmarking cost structure" come out of the gobbledegook-generator. Face it, why not just say "we want to cut costs by sacking people, again"...? We all know what you really mean anyway, and it would save time. Corporate-speak impresses no one but the simple-minded...

    It would be nice to think that the "bestshore" guys were better/cheaper, then at least we could resign ourselves to the reality, but in practice, we end up hand-holding them and usually substantially reworking entire projects so that they don't go down the pan. This is not-value-for-money, but of course these activities are not seen by the dividend/bonus-grabbing upper management, and are ignored by middle-management, who have no powers except the ability to update a couple of corporate reporting websites with new works of fiction.

    The bean-counters don't care about the quality of work or skills/experience, just the bottom-line; this has manifested itself in the latest "700+ engineers are to go, but we're about to hire 1000s of salespeople" announcements.

    So - salespeople, get yourselves to the agencies, there's loads of new jobs selling services that (very soon - we're close to it now) will be impossible to deliver.

    In the same organisation, on a current project, we have an estimated one-person-year of engineering time (which is realistic, it's a reasonably large/complex project) - at the same time, we have one-person-year of project management time estimated (funnily enough, estimated by the project management office).

    One-to-one project management?? If I was looking to cut costs, I know where I would be looking. I wouldn't mind if the particular PMs on this project did anything other than demand status reports against their fictional timescales, which are based on their extremely poor understanding of what the *real* work entails. [NB: This does not apply to all HP project managers I've worked with, some are excellent - they know who they are]

    As soon as the market picks up properly...

  11. Anonymous Coward

    and on the other hand...

    every week the internal mail is full of new contracts won. I've no idea who will support them though!

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