Secret Recording of Bluehost Management Announcing Orem Closing

A very interesting audio recording was just posted a few hours ago over on r/webhosting.

It seems that the Endurance International Group (EIG) have decided to make a major change at BlueHost. And today, BlueHost management made the bombshell of an announcement that they will be closing their offices in Orem, Utah.( And one of the employees present recorded audio of the whole thing!)

Here's a link to the audio recording.

And here is the link to a screenshot of the email announcement.

Full Transcript of the Audio

Ron:
Okay, thank you. Hey, first I want to thank everybody for all your hard work over the past few months. We've been working hard to improve Blue Host built on what was already a great brand. I know there's been a lot of change, and it's been a pretty challenging few months for a lot of people, but I really appreciate your hard work and your dedication.

I came out here personally today because unfortunately I have some more difficult news to share with everybody and I want to do it in person because I care about everybody in this room. As many of you know, we've been evaluating our strategy across the company. Most recently, we've been evaluating our strategy for support. We've decided that it makes sense over the next nine months to consolidate our support operations from Orem to Tempe. I know that's difficult news and it was … I think it an extremely difficult decision for the three of us to make as we thought about what was best for most of the future.

Our strategy is to simplify the business so that we can make a greater investment into development and greater investment in marketing to really help the Blue Host brand grow. Although this was a difficult decision, we thought it was the right one.

I personally want to express my gratitude for all your hard work and determination. I really appreciate it. I want to thank you. I have one ask and that is over the next nine months or so as we make this transition, we all do our best to continue to serve Blue Host and our customers and provide them the customer service that they deserve. I'm going to turn it over to Stu who will talk a little bit about the details of the plan. Then James will talk about how we plan to take care of each one of you that is affected. Thank you.

Stu:
Hey team, thanks Ron. To clarify, we're not actually closing the Blue Host brand. We are transitioning the way that we actually take care of our customers through support. Blue Host is a strong brand. It's one of the strongest with an endurance. I just want to clarify that. These last few months have been difficult. I know that a lot of us have been working pretty closely together. I just want to reiterate what Ron said and really thank you guys profusely for how hard you've been working. We definitely appreciate it. I know the customers appreciate it. This decision is not a reflection of you guys. This decision does not negate all the hard work that each and every one of you has put into the Blue Host brand to make it what it is today. I want to make sure that you guys do understand that.

This transition is not going to be overnight. We've been working really hard to think through how to best do this to ensure that we can be very mindful of this transition for yourselves, for our customers. It is going to take place over the course of the next nine months. There are going to be opportunities for folks who are interested in other roles to apply, perhaps relocate to one of our other endurance offices, two of which we actually will still have in Utah.

Our development teams, our product teams, our marketing teams, and some of the support functions will be relocating to one of our two facilities in Utah, either in Provo or in Salt Lake City. We're going to spend a considerable investment in both locations to make them really state of the art facilities for the teams that will stay on board. I know this is a lot to process. I understand that everyone has probably a ton of questions top of mine. Just know that we're going to be here throughout the rest of the day and someone will also be here throughout all of tomorrow to ensure that we meet with everybody individually, we answer your questions, and we help you understand what this means for you.

James and I, we've been very fortunately to partner with each and every one of you guys. We've tried to be very thoughtful around how we're actually going to carry this out. We're going to ensure that everyone has at least a 60 day notice in advance and by mid-March we'll be able to let folks know exactly what those end dates are. I'm going to hand this over to James now so he can talk a little bit further around what steps we're going to take to ensure that each and every one of you are taken care of.

James:
Thanks Stu. Obviously this is pretty difficult. You guys are my family and I love you guys and I hope you really know that. I need note cards because this is tough. I want everybody to know that I will be staying here through this transition with you. As this takes place, I'm going to be here. Logan and I will be on the ground the whole time. We'll help you guys figure this out. I want to make sure that we do this in the very best way possible for you and your families.

I want to go through a little bit about what we're doing on the severance side for anybody who's impacted by this. If you stay through your end date, again like Stu said, we're going to let everybody know by mid-March what those end dates will be. If you stay through that, we're going to do an extended severance . What that will be is a minimum of two weeks for every employee no matter how long you've been here. One week for every year that you've been here, then we'll do an extended one month on top of that as well. It's in your best interest to make sure you're doing your job, get everything they need to done, take care of our customers up through your end date and make sure you get that severance.

The other thing is we are also going to cover three months of cobra insurance to every employee that's affected that stays through that end date. That means you'll still pay your exact same premium you pay today and you'll get to keep your insurance for up to three months after your end date.

The last thing is this is tough for a lot of people. We want to make sure we support you through the transition of finding a new job. We will have onsite outplacement services which are people who are going to be professional folks onsite to help you with resume writing, job networking, have a look for jobs as well as interviewing skills and things like that. That'll be a free service for everybody that's affected. Again, I want to reiterate, there are open positions in the Provo data center. There will be open positions up in Salt Lake with the [inaudible 00:06:49] brand. You guys are all eligible to interview for any of those positions as well as anything else at endurance.

I know this is a lot for you guys to try to process. We are sending out an email that will have all of the details. That'll be able to help you guys know what's going to take place.

The last thing is this is real. It impact everybody here. I understand everybody takes news like this differently. I want to make sure that you guys take a few minutes to collect your thoughts and stuff after this meeting is over. Let's be professional. Let's show them how awesome we are here in Orem. If you need a little extra time, work that out with your manager, that's okay. We understand that today. We are going to be offering overtime pay for the rest of today and tonight. We'd like you to be able to go back and take good care of our customers. We are offering overtime pay for you today and tonight. Just making sure everybody knows that.

I really appreciate you guys. Love you a lot. Mark's going to talk to you about what we're going to do the rest of the afternoon. Here you go, Mark.

Mark:
Thanks James. Before you head out today, we do have detailed FAQs that will be located on the back table. Please take one of those. It will answer a lot of your initial questions. It's for you and your family. Read through it over the next couple days. HR team, Logan and myself, will be sending out further FAQs over the course of the weeks as questions come up.

We are going to for the rest of the day break out into huddles immediately after this town hall. What I'm going to do is list through the various departments. These huddles are meant to collect the teams together and answer any additional questions and talk to your leadership team about how this impacts your groups. For the support team, we ask that you guys go back to the floors. We'll have management on the floors to answer questions in break out sessions.

For accounting, we'll have them, anybody in the accounting team, please go to Mclayna's office. HR in training will go to MCP. The marketing teams will go in Hall 9000. Legal will go in Jarvis. IT support can go next to McLayna's office in the empty conference room. Engineering is asked to stay here in the auditorium. Customer experience also go to law firm which is located in the [inaudible 00:09:15] section.

That's it. We ask that you break out in your huddles. Leadership team will talk with you more detail and then as James said, there will be an email coming out to you at the company. Thank you.

Based on the reaction of the original poster, it seems like this was quite unexpected.

“That's audio of Bluehost management telling all of bluehost that by October 2017 they're losing their jobs in the Utah customer support side of things. Which is where it's been since Bluehost first began.”

He goes on to explain that developers working at the Orem headquarters will be moving to a new facility in Salt Lake City.

He also said that all customer support and sales will be moving to Tempe, AZ.

where Hostgator and former iPage management is, and sounds like for now, customer server is going to be split between there for Phone support, and we can assume that chat support (if it remains as an option at all) will remain in Bangalore, India.

Employees were asked to stay for final 7 months at which time they will be given a severance package of one month's pay, plus a week's pay for every year they've been there. If they leave any sooner, they won't get the one month of pay.

This is definitely bad news for the employees. Hopefully they will all be able to find new jobs.

I also hope this decision was made because there was no other choice, and not just to increase the bottom line.

Based on our hand curated host reviews, BlueHost have been struggling for some time now. So the are definitely in need of some sort of change. Hopefully this will help, but I can't imagine how.

Here's a link to the original post over on r/webhosting.

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