Strategic Human Resource Activities at Apple Inc – Introduction
Apple Inc. is an international corporation that specializes in the manufacture of electronics and software products. The company was founded in 1976 by Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak. The company has its headquarters in Cupertino, California. The primary hardware products that are manufactured by Apple Inc. include iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Macintosh personal computers (Jarvis, Mittleman, Xu & Tam, 2014). The software products designed and manufactured by the company include iTunes media browser, iLife Suite, iWork suite, Final Cut Studio, Logic Studio, iOS, and Mac OS X operating system. These products are sold worldwide using various sales strategies such as direct sales, online stores, value added resellers and third-party wholesalers among others.
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The purpose of this assignment is to analyze the internal and external environment of Apple Inc. It also evaluates the strategic human practices employed by the company and the possible recommendations that the enterprise should use to attract and retain talented employees.
External Environment of Apple Inc
Apple Inc. is the leading global digital asset and smartphone provider. It is the only electronic company that can provide and manage both software and hardware products (Jarvis, Mittleman, Xu & Tam, 2014). The company manufactures products that allow consumers to have a variety of electronic products that meet their expectations. Customers can share music, videos, and applications on Apple products such as iPhone, iPad, and Mac among others on a media platform known as iTunes (Bau, 2013). The company has experienced an increased sale volume in a variety of its products as a result of the innovative technology used in the manufacturing process. In spite of the tremendous performance in the market, there are different problems which are beyond the reach of the company which it cannot control. They include political, economic, social and technological factors.
Problems such as terrorism, geopolitical uncertainties, health issues and government policies can affect the sales of Apple products in the world. Apple has outsourced in different countries including China, Czech Republic, and Korea among other countries to reduce its operations cost (Jarvis, Mittleman, Xu & Tam, 2014). In the case of political instability, Apple stands to lose a market as result of the delay in the manufacturing process.
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The purchasing power of consumers relies upon the prevailing economic conditions. In the past years, different countries have experienced rising cases of unemployment. This has affected the purchasing power of consumers leading to decreased sales of Apple products. The increased oil prices in the world also resulted in inflation thus affecting the economy. The consequences of these economic factors reduced the purchasing power of consumers. This led to decreased sales of the Apple products.
Apple is a large corporation that runs a variety of products. As such, the company is faced with competition in the market (Jarvis, Mittleman, Xu & Tam, 2014). The major competitors of Apple include Samsung, Nokia, HPQ, Google, HTC and RIM among others. Apple has managed to withstand the competition by investing in technology and talented employees. As such, they have been able to get high returns to sustain the growth of the firm. Apple has penetrated the market by manufacturing high-quality products that have enabled it to create customer loyalty (Bau, 2013). The ability to produce superior products has allowed it to gain a wider market share in different parts of the world.
Internal Environment of Apple Inc.
Apple revenue has continued to grow over the past years. The company has experienced increasing revenue because it has specialized in the manufacture of electronic products that are of high quality. According to Forbes, Apple was ranked as the best brand among other companies that makes electronic products. The founders of the company have put a lot of emphasis on creativity and innovation. As such, it has been endorsed by the largest brand among various companies. To enhance its innovative culture, the company has invested in research and development. Apple has also elevated its sales team by giving them essential skills through training to enable cover a wider market niche (Grant, 2016). Most of its direct sales outlets have been positioned at strategic places that can be easily accessed by the clients. The firm has located its direct sales branches in busy traffic areas. This is aimed at strengthening the revenue of the company. Apple has been able to control its supply chain. The company publishes the code of conduct of its suppliers on a yearly basis with the primary objective of strengthening its brand. Apple produces products that are easy to use. Most of the iPhones generated by the company are user-friendly, and most customers’ wants to identify themselves with Apple products.
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Apple has based its success on the strength of its employees. The HR strategy employed by the company is the primary reason behind its continued growth and excellent performance in the market (Grant, 2016). Apple has some of the great talents, and the management has been equipped with the best talent management approaches. This is to ensure that the company attracts and retain the talented workforce. Great talents and efficient management skills are the primary reason why Apple has become a leader in the manufacture of consumer electronics.
Apple Inc. marketing strategy focuses on the expectations of the customers. Apple products are aimed at improving the lives of the users (Jarvis, Mittleman, Xu & Tam, 2014). The company is committed to understanding the needs of the consumers before launching a new product in the market. Besides, the customers are provided with different skills and tools to enable them to use the products efficiently. The marketing policies of Apple are based on creativity and innovation. They are also responsive to the needs of their clients as stated in the mission statement of the firm. The primary objective of the company is to promote personal computing among various groups of people including creative professionals, students, consumers, and educators (Jarvis, Mittleman, Xu & Tam, 2014). This has been made possible through their software, internet and hardware offerings. Therefore, Apple Inc works in an environment full of challenges. However, it has been structured to overcome such challenges. The internal structure of the company adopts best practices that attract and retains talented force.
Models of Strategic Human Resource Management
The key people who work for Apple are at the marketing, technical, staff positions. The primary objective of the company is to attract and retain its employees (Rees & Smith, 2017). To achieve this, the company has employed different strategic human resource practices to attract skilled professionals. Apple is interested in maximizing the efforts of its workforce by investing in their skills. The company recognizes human capital as a vital element for overall competitiveness (Storey, 2014). The human resources are the driving force towards its development strategy. As such, the firm has capitalized on the competencies of its staff with the primary objective of achieving competitive advantage in the market. The great talents and people management approaches used in the company have enabled it to become the most innovative firm in the consumer electronics industry.
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The HR of Apple Inc. works towards maximizing the returns on investment by minimizing the financial risks while capitalizing on human capital. The human resource management of Apple Inc is charged with various responsibilities including recruitment and selection, leadership development, incentive compensation, employee development, and employee relations among others (Storey, 2014). These activities are carried out by human resource managers efficiently and consistently. The key strategic human resource functions are discussed below.
Recruitment and Selection
Recruitment and selection are the keys to the success of most organizations (Sparrow, Brewster & Chung, 2016). Apple has invested a lot in recruitment process with the primary objective of getting the right talents who can fit the organizational culture (Storey, 2014). The company requires employees who are hard working and committed to the activities of the enterprise. Apple uses a different recruitment strategy which is different from other employers. Apple does not promise its employees on career progression. The employees are required to own their career (Rees & Smith, 2017). In this, case the company does not support career path. The workforce is expected to seek information concerning their jobs. The company also relies on pirate raiding of talented workers from other businesses. The recruitment process is designed in such a way that only employees who fit the organizational culture are hired. The selection process is based on the verbal interview. The recruitment and selection model enables the company to get right talents to serve the organization.
Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunities
Apple provides equal employment opportunities to all people regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity or disability among others (Grant, 2016). The company also employees people from diverse backgrounds. As such, it has been able to attract a talented workforce from different parts of the world that have contributed to its continued success and growth.
Employment Benefits and Compensation
Apple provides competitive packages to attract talented staff. The benefits are provided based on the employment status and the geographical location of the employer (Storey, 2014). Some of the benefits provided by the company include insurance cover, employee stock purchase programs and investment and savings plan. Employees are also entitled to products discounts. They are also given bonuses for working with experienced talents in the industry (Grant, 2016). Apple provides flex benefits where employees are required to choose the benefits that best suit their lifestyles. The Economic reward has been used as the best retention strategy by Apple. Employees are awarded periodical stock grants for their contribution to the company (Rees & Smith, 2017). This is a great opportunity for employees to create wealth and realize individual accomplishment at retirement. The company also embraces agility. This has been the major contributing factor to its success and employee retention. Employees are encouraged to shift from one manufacturing department to another (Storey, 2014). For instance, an employee can shift from music industry to computer and then to the smartphone industry. The company encourages employees to be a master of all activities as they prepare themselves for the next big thing. This strategy has motivated employees to commit their effort to the organizational culture since they are in a position to enhance their skills.
Employee Appreciation and Recognition
The company has a program known Apple Fellows Program that was created in 1995 to recognize employees who make an extraordinary contribution to the company (Rees & Smith, 2017). Employees who receive this award are appointed as leaders. They provide visionary guidance to the organization in their field of expertise (Storey, 2014). This strategy motivates employees to work hard since it also associated with economic benefits. Apple appreciates and values employees who are committed to innovation. As such, the firm has attracted some of the best and committed talents in the industry.
The recruitment policy of Apple focuses on the suitability of the candidate to fit the organizational culture as opposed to the level of skills and experience (Grant, 2016). Apple gives the employees opportunity to advance their skills while working for the organization. It provides an opportunity for training and development. Employees are encouraged to learn on the job. Besides, the company provides on-the –job training to allow employees to advance their skills on the job.
Apple also absorbs employees through an internship. Those who are on internship are provided with actual learning experiences that allow them to develop in their prospective careers. The internship opportunity attracts the most talented students. They are provided with the opportunity to develop their skills to equip them for future employment opportunities (Rees & Smith, 2017). At the end of the internship, the interns who display outstanding performance are employed. Besides, those who are not fortunate to get employment from the company can get jobs immediately. This is because Apple provides a real learning experience that other firms cannot provide. The interns from Apple are promptly employed by other companies within the industry.
On-the-job training provides junior staff opportunity to interact with the experienced and talented workforce (Storey, 2014). In this case, they can overcome challenges that they are likely to experience in the course of their duty.
Training and Development
Apple utilizes a unique training approach to ensure that the employees are equipped with right skills for the job. The company allows the employees to do things on their own to encourage them to develop strong self-reliance (Storey, 2014). In this case, the workers can learn from their mistakes. This strategy has enhanced skills development. Employees are encouraged to develop innovative skills since they are allowed to work in different units within the organization. Apple uses a unique approach to assigning roles to different teams (Grant, 2016). In this case, several groups are assigned to perform a particular task. After accomplishing the task, they are then assigned an entirely different role. The teams are required to do something new at all times. This is the reason why Apple has developed as one of the innovative companies in the world. The teams always compete to provide something new that is entirely different from the previous projects (Storey, 2014). After completing the tasks, the work of each team is reviewed, and the best is selected or chosen.
To enhance the culture of free thinking and innovation, the teams meet twice in a week. During the meetings, they can brainstorm to come up with something new full of innovation. Apple does not prepare training programs, but employees are encouraged to learn on their own (Rees & Smith, 2017). This type of learning allows the employees to receive incredible returns that contribute to the development of the company. The challenges experienced during the projects encourage employees to become proactive about what will be taking place the following day (Grant, 2016). The employees of the Apple can learn on their own without training. This strategy has enabled the company to nurture and develop talents that have made the company to achieve international recognition.
The strategic human resource management approach used by Apple Inc. is aimed at attracting the best talents and retaining them at the same time (Grant, 2016). These strategic HR practices have enabled the firm to become the leading provider of consumer personal computing products in the world.
Apple has some of the best HR management strategies. However, there are some changes that they need to implement to enhance their ability to attract and retain the best talents. Some of the new HR approaches the organization should embrace include the following:
Creating potential network
Apple needs to work in collaboration with reputable universities in the world. In this case, they will be in a position to spot potential talents at the earliest. This can be enhanced through the social media and physical networking. This strategy will enable Apple to attract some of the best talents in the market which are fresh from college. It is an essential strategy that will contribute to the growth of the company and retain its position in the market (Rees & Smith, 2017).
Developing a simple application process
The recruitment strategy depends on candidates who can suit the organizational culture as opposed to the skills and experience of the employee (Rees & Smith, 2017). This strategy seems complicated and may bar talented candidates from applying for open positions in the company. In this case, Apple Inc. should adopt recruitment strategies which are simple and easily accessible. The recruitment procedure should encourage employees to complete the application at their convenience. The recruitment process should not be based on verbal interview only. It should involve written interview to allow the recruiting managers to learn the other skills of the potential candidates.
Developing Training and Development Schedule
The company should emulate a training and development program where employees are taken through particular processes as opposed to on-the-job training. The company should embrace apprenticeship as opposed to leaving the employees to learn on their own. This will allow employees to gain specific skills quickly to enable them to adapt to the organizational culture (Sparrow, Brewster & Chung, 2016). This strategy will enable the organization to retain some of its best talents since they will not be scared of the job during the first days at work.
Conducting Research about the Market
Apple should carry out a comprehensive talent research in the industry. In this case, they can identify where they can get the best talents. Conducting market research will enable the company to determine where potential and talented candidates who are not on the job market hang out (Rees & Smith, 2017). This strategy will enable the company to attract the best talents who are willing to take up the roles as opposed to pirate raiding.
Knowing the Competitors in the Market
Apple needs to know what the competitors such as Samsung, HTC, and Nokia among others provide to their employees as financial and nonfinancial benefits. This will enable it to extend its value proposition to offer rewards which are slightly higher than the competitors. In this case, Apple will be in a position to attract the best talents in the market.
Reward and Bonuses
The reward system of Apple is based on individual performance. In most cases, the employees work as a team. Therefore, the organization should consider creating a reward and bonus system that awards outstanding group performance. This strategy will enhance team commitment and competition. As such, the teams will become innovative and creative (Sparrow, Brewster & Chung, 2016). The quality of the products will improve, and Apple will continue to dominate the industry. This strategy works best at retaining a talented workforce.
The HR managers should implement policies that embrace the collaborative culture. Collaborative culture promotes operational excellence that translates to organizational growth. A corporate culture that is devoid of control and encourages employees to participate in decision-making improves work commitment and performance (Rees & Smith, 2017). This strategy will help the organization to retain its best talents and attract a competent workforce.
It is evident that Apple has the best talents that have enabled it to be rank as the best company in providing personal computing. However, its corporate culture does not promote the morale of the employees. The HR strategy should be aligned with the overall organizational strategy to ensure imminent and sustainable long-term success. Apple should adopt HRM policies that encourage systematic practice where employees are involved in decision making. This will enable the company to manage a diverse workforce and realize sustainable growth.
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