By any measure, it’s been a rough few years for the employees of Hewlett-Packard, with massive layoffs, stock options under water and a constant string of new bosses.
But one HP manager we talked to says the mood among many HP employees is starting to lift, thanks to a number of employee-friendly programs that Meg Whitman has instituted.
He called it a “cult of Meg.” Whitman is well liked by employees, even though HP has gone through a lot of drama since she took office including $16+ billion in write-offs, accusations of fraud at Autonomy, and a multi-year, 29,000-job layoff.
Here’s how she’s winning back their love:
- Bureaucracy Busters: HP seems to love red tape for doing everything from buying supplies to business travel. When Whitman rolled this program out last year, one employee told us it was a joke because she also increased paperwork for things like hiring a new employee. But now, some employees say the Busters are working. For instance, this month, HP revamped a website making it easier for employees to book their own business travel.
- A new employee reward system called [email protected]: Managers can issue points to employees that can be redeemed for cash, printers, computers. Managers get a monthly budget of points.
- HP University: Web-based employee training, with a goal of cultivating internal leaders, an area where the company has faced criticism. Classes range from technical skills to business/marketing oriented.
It’s important that HP be viewed as a good place to work again. Even though the company still has some 15,000-ish more jobs to cut, HP also happens to be hiring like crazy. It’s competing for talent in some of the hardest-to fill areas, like big data data scientists, cloud computing experts, security researchers and so on.
Even so, Whitman’s reputation with employees has room for improvement. Her approval rating on jobs site Glassdoor is a 79% and only 41% of employees would recommend HP to a friend.
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