As we previously reported, Dell is trying an unusual tactic to trim expenses without resorting to an actual layoff. It is asking certain employees to volunteer to quit.
There aren't many details about how many people are being targeted.
But Dell did confirm to us that its happening, calling this a "voluntary separation program" (VSP). Employees that are deemed "eligible" lose their jobs and get a chunk of money and other services to help them until they find a new gig.
This isn't the same as an early retirement program, as it's being offered to all kinds of employees, not just ones that are eligible for retirement.
We've since heard from a few Dell employees and, to a one, they say the program makes them nervous.
Here's what we've learned:
- Dell told employees that not everyone who applies for the VSP will be approved to quit under the VSP program.
- Employees that apply won't know if they are approved to quit until mid-January.
- One employee told us that "no one from India is allowed to apply. Dell has moved much of its engineering to India."
- VSP is definitely being offered to U.S. employees across multiple departments.
- One source said that the offer package wasn't exceptional.
- Several people mentioned that they are not sure how quitting would affect their ability to get unemployment benefits.
- Some employees also fear a bigger layoff will follow.
Dell declined to comment on any of the above details. It reiterated the statement it gave to us previously:
Dell has announced an optional, global and voluntary separation program for eligible team members who choose to leave the company in exchange for the offer of a separation package to support their transition. Would note that we’ve taken steps to optimize our business, streamline operations and improve efficiency over the past few years. And we been consistent in saying that a critical element of our strategy has been, and always will be, about improving our cost structure and freeing up capital to make the investments in growth areas that matter to our customers.
In some ways, this kind of buyout makes more sense than the traditional way to do a layoff, where people show up one day and find out they are out of a job.
On the other hand, asking employees to tell their employer that they want to leave, then making them hang around for a few weeks to find out if they get "approval" can be stressful: It might be a good way to put an X on your back if traditional layoffs do come along later.
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