HP insists 'we don't have a global dress code' – while deleting one from its website

Head of HR films video response for El Reg

61 Reg comments Got Tips?

HP Enterprise's head of HR says his company does not have a "global" dress code, while his minions quietly remove a webpage on workplace appearance from HP.com.

Last week, The Register reported that some R&D teams within HP Enterprise Services were told in a confidential internal memo to smarten up in the office. With customers and other visitors on site at any moment, engineers were advised to leave the shorts and T-shirts at home.

Given the warm weather, this circulated note didn't go down too well, we're told.

Seizing the news, recruiters at HP's rivals jumped on Twitter to lure away Enterprise Services techies, assuring them they could wear whatever they wanted in their new jobs.

On Thursday this week, HP Enterprise's HR boss Alan May popped a video of himself on his corporate website to argue that HP doesn't have any planet-spanning fashion regulations. "There have been some misconceptions lately in the press, on social media and even from our employees about our dress code," his video's blurb reads.

"Hi, I'm Alan ... Guess what?! HP doesn't have a global dress code. And if we did, you'd think I'd know, being the head of HR for Hewlett Packard Enterprise an' all," the exec chuckled to the camera.

May went on to wear various getups, from a plaid shirt to a tuxedo, to demonstrate that, yes, if you're the head of HR, you can wear what you like at HP Enterprise. May has been in the job for two months.

Fun video, but none of this changes anything... except one thing: a webpage in the "HP Technology at Work" section of HP.com, dated August 2013, titled "Being smart about casual" and listing do's and don'ts for workplace attire – such as no short skirts or sandals or ripped jeans, and so on. HP still links to the article here.

Earlier today, we noticed HP had deleted the contents of the "Being smart about casual" page entirely. Gone. A page that had been online for two years, and according to HP insiders, matched the memo sent to some engineering teams last week.

Google still has in its cache a scrap of the missing webpage:

HP's deleted 'Being smart about casual' advice ... 'Dressing decently for the office goes without saying.'
Without saying? Quite so, it seems

We asked HP why it had deleted that harmless two-year-old webpage. A spokesman told us its contents were not official policy, and that it had created "confusion." A few hours later, again without warning, HP replaced the empty "smart casual" advice webpage with May's message from this week. But the page is still dated "August 2013", which is doubly confusing seeing as May only joined HP in June 2015.

With the head of HR publishing a video titled "Dress code? What dress code?", advice on office clobber vanishing without explanation, and management sending a confidential memo on what not to wear, El Reg can absolutely see why there is confusion on Planet HP. ®


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020