For years, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, was uninterested in the human resource department. Just before his medical leave, he hired the then dean of Yale school of Management, Joel Podolny to head Apple University. For some time, Podolny vanished from sight working on a project that highlighted the life of Apple after Jobs. To undertake this project Podolny hired a team of professors who conducted a series of internal case studies about significant decisions in Apple’s history. This raised a concern on whether Jobs had adequately prepared the company for his departure as most of his decisions were non-segmented and dictatorial (JOSH, 2011). This created the need for the establishment of various departments in the company including the human resource department (CHRISTOPHER, 2012).
The human resource department is one of the key pillars to Apple’s success. The department plays a crucial part in recruitments and hiring, planning, organizing, staffing, directing and control (BOHLANDER AND SNELL, 2007). The department does particularly well in the company’s organizational development by making work meaningful, and ensuring that the employees know their roles (ADAM, 2011). The department also acts as an inspiration and motivator to the employees by promoting them from within while recruiting fresh talents to replace them.
The HR department also ensures proper business ethics by creating and enforcing strong and consistent culture that values labor standards. Ethics are also ensured by developing a code of conduct and corporate social responsibility program, which every employee is supposed to take part (KYLE, 2012). At Apple, ideas and visions are viewed as opportunities or reality (ALSAATY, 2011). The HR department understands the need for innovation and creativity by creating an environment that encourages and spawns innovation.
Roles of Human Resource at Apple.
Planning at Apple involves setting up strategic choices that make strategic plans. Planning involves an observation of the company’s goals and vision (BOHLANDER AND SNELL, 2007). Interestingly, Apple does not have a published vision statement as its vision keeps changing due to technological demands. The priorities are, therefore, set as technology demands, and according to the mission and goals that have to be observed.
The mission statement of the company is “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad”
The company aims at making good products rather than aiming to make money. On an environmental perspective, the company aims at powering all its facilities with renewable sources of energy. Additionally, the company’s HR department has a sense of discovery where innovation is promoted (ADAM, 2011). The willingness to change from the norm is what makes Apple different from its competitors.
Planning also involves budgeting of all costs and comparing them to expected profits for assessment on the value of a product (BOHLANDER AND SNELL, 2007). As a result to changes in technological demands, the company develops various products, which are customized to fit the needs of customers. For instance, the iPhone, and App Store were devices introduced to the market due to increased technological demands. The company’s motivating factor for planning is the BEEM factor where strengths are built upon, weaknesses expanded, opportunities exploited, and threats managed (JOSH, 2011). In several cases, the company has used its weaknesses and threats for expansion on its brand platform. For instance, its iPod lineup is as a result of threats from its main rivals such as Sony and Microsoft. The company plans on how to develop the products so that they remain at the top while meeting their customer’s demands.
Organizing involves the coordination of responsibilities and roles of every worker in the company. Under the CEO, there are 10 senior vice-presidents: COO, Operations, CFO, Software engineering, Hardware engineering, Worldwide Product Marketing, Ios software, retail and general counsel, and industrial design. Report wise the annual reports of the company are organized in segments: EMEAI, America, Japan, Retail, and others that include APAC and FileMaker (KYLE, 2012).
One of the key organization strategies of the company is collaboration (ADAM, 2011). Committees are formed for every business project. Teams are formed from these committees according to expected roles and responsibilities. The team leaders are responsible for the coordination of the teams, and are answerable for the projects. Team management also involves the development of a strategic structure, which considers the market demands, competition, and the goals and objectives of the company.
This includes the recruitment strategies, deployment of staff, safety and separation of staff. At apple, ideas have a means of becoming great products, customer experiences, and services. The HR department ensures that proper staffing is done according to the organizational procedures and policies (BOHLANDER AND SNELL, 2007). Separation at apple occurs when an employee resigns, dismissed from misconduct, retires, or due to redundancy in cases where the implemented techno logy leaves some workers jobless or non-productive.
However, apple is a secretive company when it comes to matters of staffing. Apparently, some employees leave the company as a result of its secrecy. The need for secrecy requires some workers to repeat jobs when schedules or releases change. Some employees also feel that excessive secrecy in the company make it impossible to know exactly what is needed from them. The HR department needs to be clear on the roles and responsibilities of these employees, as well as their job criteria and period so that some of them do not become incapacitated as a result of technological growth. There is also need for communication so that the employees do not end up leaving or resigning out of being demoralized after being forced to repeat their work (ALSAATY, 2011).
For sometime Apple has become the most valued corporation in the world on surpassing every technological firm and industry, and on market capitalization. Its prolonged growth has continued through economic recessions and fluctuations, and through economic times when the customers are reluctant on spending their income to the company.
Apple has failed on various matters; its success is not entirely on manufacturing capability, location, or equipment, but rather on superior leadership styles (CHRISTOPHER, 2012). The extra ordinary leadership provided by Steve Jobs, though criticized on dictatorial concepts, has incredibly contributed to the company’s design skills, technical matters, human relations skills, and conceptual skills. At Apple, leadership is about ‘seeing the unseen’ and by this policy; leaders are enabled to prioritize on skills of the workers, goals and accomplishments.
Directing also includes motivation from leaders, and supportive supervision (ADAM, 2011). Though the company has been accused severally of lack of a leadership strategy, the current leadership provides support, motivation, and inspiration for innovation and creativity, and this is what has contributed to product differentiation and growth in the company.
Control at Apple’s HR department is a technical and leadership tool. It involves the use of control systems in monitoring and evaluating projects and performances, and also monitoring and evaluation steps by leaders. It involves assessments of financial reports and performances in determining the company’s position (NETRA, 2011). Progress reports on projects or products are also released to determine their profitability. The company also reviews its main competitor, Samsung, reports in evaluating its performance.
The record of Apple’s success is not about its marketing or operation controls rather it is about the positioning or creation of branding platforms against its competitors (CHRISTOPHER, 2012). Apple uses such brand names as iPod, iMac, iPhone etc to brand products with internet applications while such platform names as MacBook, MacbookPro, MacPro, etc are used for higher-end computers. Such controls in platform branding have enabled the company to remain at the top.
The company also has built on its corporate image by using different company names depending on its products shift. With its continued success and escalating stock prices and shares, the corporate image continues to rise. Its vertical integration in production processes, attention to detail with an aim of exceeding customer expectations, and ability to produce in mass superior and quality products have enabled the company to gain most of the market’s competitive power (ALSAATY, 2011).
The HR department however, remains the key pillar in planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controls as it ensures that employees are qualified, recruited, and trained accordingly, the department ensures that the company hires the best in the market, and this way production is enabled. The department also creates proper work environment that encourages innovation and creativity, which are the components that have enabled the company to beat its competitors by being ahead of their customers’ demands and expectations (NETRA, 2011).
ADAM, L. (2011). How Apple works: Inside the world’s biggest startup. Work cited, http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/08/25/how-apple-works-inside-the-worlds-biggest-startup/
ALSAATY, F. M. (2011). A Model for Building Innovation Capabilities in Small Entrepreneurial Firms. Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal, Vol. 17(1).
BOHLANDER, G. W., & SNELL, S. (2007). Managing human resources. Mason, Ohio, Thomson.
CHRISTOPHER, B. (2012). How to Staff Your Organization like an Apple Store; Recruitment + Marketing = Better Sourcing. Work Cited, http://blog.smashfly.com/2012/04/04/how-to-staff-your-organization-like-an-apple-store/
JOSH, B. (2011). The Real Succession plan for Steve Jobs: Apple thinks differently with Apple University. Work cited, http://www.bersin.com/blog/post/The-Real-Succession-Plan-For-Steve-Jobs-Apple-Thinks-Different-With-Apple-University.aspx
KYLE, L. (2012). HR’s Role in Apple’s Success. Work cited, http://blog.firstreference.com/2012/03/28/suzanne-c-s-post/
NETRA, S. (2011). Human Resource Management of Apple Inc. Work cited, http://www.managementparadise.com/forums/human-resources-management-h-r/213861-human-resource-management-apple-inc.html