Monday, February 23rd 2009

HP Announces Global Payments Reduction for its Workers and Staff

Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd announced last week that all of its workers or around 100,000 employees will have their month payments reduced for an indefinite period of time. Also some of the bonuses the workers receive will be reduced. HP thinks that's the only right decission in order to survive the global economic drop, without throwing roughly 20% of its employees on the street. Mark Hurd will have his base pay reduced by 20 percent. The base pay of Executive Council members will be reduced by 15 percent, while other executives will have their month payments reduced by 10 percent. The base pay of all other exempt employees will be reduced by 5 percent. For non-exempt employees, base pay will be reduced by two-and-a-half percent. Below is the memo sent to employees that announces the "good news".

Today, HP announced first quarter results amid one of most difficult economic downturns that any of us has ever faced. I am proud to say that we continue to execute well in this very challenging environment.

We grew revenue 1 percent year-over-year, or 4 percent in local currency, and you need to look at these numbers a little differently this quarter. For the first time in a long time, the dollar was strengthening, so the currency conversion was actually a headwind for us. We also continued to show strong operating leverage with non-GAAP operating profit up 10 percent year-over-year. This was a solid performance, and I thank all of you for your efforts.

But really, Q1 was like a tale of two companies.

HP Services — as a result of EDS and TS — had a strong quarter, delivering virtually all of the local currency revenue growth and more operating profit than any other business. It’s gratifying, because this performance was possible because of the hard work we’ve been doing to restructure those businesses.

When you take HP services out of the mix, it’s a very different picture. PSG had revenue down 19%. ESS had revenue down 18%. IPG had revenue down 19%. In fairness, across IT and even other industries, product businesses are struggling in this economic climate. And we did gain share in key market segments. PSG and ESS gained roughly 1 and 3 points of share, respectively. In IPG, quite frankly, we still have work to do across a number of dimensions like inventory, both owned and channel inventory.

In an environment like this, there’s no margin for error and no tolerance for inaction. To give you a little insight into my world, after we report our earnings, we engage in a dialogue with analysts and investors. They’re going to ask what we’re doing in light of the current environment to right-size these businesses.

The math is pretty straight forward. From a productivity standpoint, you’re supposed to reduce headcount on par with declining revenue. If you believe the environment isn’t going to improve, you should take a bigger cut to get in front of the problems. You can do the calculation, as easy as I can. We have about 100,000 people in our product businesses, with revenue down roughly 20%, and an environment that may not get any better in 2009.

I’ll be asked by investors, “Where’s the job action, where are you taking out this roughly, 20,000 positions?” Well, I don’t want to do that. When I look at HP, I don’t see a structural problem of that magnitude. There are pockets where restructuring needs to happen, and areas where actions will be taken as part of our ongoing workforce optimization process. But at a company-wide level, I don’t believe a major workforce reduction is the best thing for HP at this time.

I think we are fundamentally sound, and when the economy picks up, I want HP to be strong, and to take share and to outgrow the market. I said it last quarter, my goal is to keep the muscle of this organization intact. But we do have to do something…because the numbers just don’t add up and we need to have the flexibility to make the right long-term investments for HP.

So we are going to take action. We have decided to further variablize our cost structure by reducing base pay and some benefits across HP. My base pay will be reduced by 20 percent. The base pay of Executive Council members will be reduced by 15 percent. The base pay of other executives will be reduced by 10 percent. The base pay of all other exempt employees will be reduced by 5 percent. For non-exempt employees, base pay will be reduced by two-and-a-half percent. Additional efficiencies, including changes to the US 401(K) plan and the share ownership plan, will also be implemented. Of course, the implementation of all of these actions is subject to compliance with local laws and regulations. Follow-up communications will detail the timing and the plans in your location.

This does not change our pay-for-performance strategy at HP. If we outperform, and there is a chance we will, then we will increase the total amount of variable pay. In fact, the financial flexibility we’re gaining helps put us in a better position to compete and to win in the marketplace, and fund the bonus program this year based on pre-adjusted salaries. If the company performs well, if our individual businesses perform well and if you perform well, then you could potentially make up the difference with your bonus. I can’t promise you anything, but I tell you…there is a chance…if we get this right.

To be clear, these actions don’t make up for all of the decline in revenues. We’re also benefiting from the tough actions we’ve taken over the last few years. People always asked, “Why are we so focused on getting costs out in good times?” Now…is why that work was so important. We’ve been able to bank some of those savings, and we’re making a withdrawal, which along with the actions we’re taking today, I hope, will get us through this recession.

Again, there are no guarantees. If the environment gets worse, if the downturn lasts longer than we’re assuming, if our performance declines, we’ll have to reassess. But for now I believe this is the right thing for the strength of HP.

I know this is a tough time. But if we get this right, HP can be the kind of company that not only has led, but will extend its leadership. We can emerge from this recession in a powerful position to create value for our customers, our shareholders and our people for years to come.

Thank you.

Mark
Source: WebGuild
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9 Comments on HP Announces Global Payments Reduction for its Workers and Staff

#1
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Salary reduction is at least better than workforce reduction. At least people have their jobs. Good move.
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#2
Triprift
Indeed would much rather take a pay cut then lose your job altogether. Will most likely see alot of this in the next couple of years.
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#3
jagass
Here comes the global crisis...:(
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#4
pentastar111
If only more companies would follow this example. Less lay-offs and more people working. Good move.
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#6
PVTCaboose1337
Graphical Hacker
Better than firing them I guess.
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#7
Haytch
I agree that it is better to have a pay reduction as oppossed to having lost the position all together. These HP staff are most likely being overpaid anyways.
Too many people have jobs they shouldnt, and too many people dont have a job they should. The money always goes to the wrong people.
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#8
jpierce55
I am glad they cut more out of the executives and management.
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#9
brumik
I suppose

this is only first step. Crisis will be crued and many people from HP will lost their job.
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