Going to the Elders

Companies and organizations across North America are looking to retirees as part-time or temporary workers. Hewlett Packard is reaching out in a different way to capitalize on the power of its former employees. In this year’s annual gathering of HP retirees, chief executive Mark Hurd asked people to get involved in volunteer sales, join local alumni clubs, speak up about legislative issues the company cares about and represent
Hewlett-Packard in philanthropic and community events. Third-party endorsements and word of mouth can generate goodwill for the company that will help it achieve its goals.

With the emphasis on participation being its own reward, it will be interesting to see how former HP employees, some of whom ‘built’ Silicon Valley, respond. Other high-tech companies like IBM, Intel and Xerox have similar networks of retirees, but their loyalty is often focused on particular communities of practice or projects rather than the company. Considering that many retirees have spent much of their working lives,
if not all, with one company, such calls for institutional loyalty are
being closely watched.