Apple Computer Inc., Essay Example
Training and professional development is an essential part of a company’s success. Every company has their own vision of what employee development consists of. This can include professional goals and motivations; talent and strength assessment; development objectives; opportunities; and steps of action. Apple Inc. knows that success is dependent on many variables, one of the strongest being their employees. The old saying “you are only as strong as your weakest link” still holds truth today. Apple has not taken this lightly, or traditionally. Development of individuals at Apple is not just a company obligation; it is the responsibility of each employee to take initiative to pursue personal betterment.
Apple’s Professional Development Program
Apple is known for its cutting edge advancements and products that set the standard for what technology consists of. The professional development program used by Apple was created to encourage innovation and growth. Many companies take a cookie-cutter approach to what development consists of. This is not the vision that Apple has chose to facilitate. Apple has continued to operate successfully on its own philosophy of professional development. As it clearly states in Apple’s career-management brochure: “Apple can’t guarantee lifelong employment. Your responsibility is to drive your own development and career.” (Caudron, 1994) This does not limit the employee’s ability for development; it just places the responsibility to pursue back onto the employee.
Apple Inc. acknowledges that development has led to a much higher percentages of employee satisfaction, in turn sparking an increase in creativity and innovation. As a result they have benefited from an increase in profitability. How can a company that negates responsibility for employee development still benefit from it? Apple has not absolved itself from career development; they just promote development through empowerment and personal responsibility. Employee-relations manager Nancy Dewey explains their development process more as a partnership. Apple makes the resources available, and the employee has to decide to utilize them in their own personal career management.
This self-help professional development has worked well for Apple. Locating skills and attributes that could be eligible for greater endeavors has to first been seen by the employee. Pushing training and development programs to unreceptive employees is nothing more than a waste of time and money for everyone involved. The development programs available at Apple include:
A comprehensive career resource library has a collection of various sources such as newspapers, magazines, and printouts, providing current information on specific careers. It also includes job listings, both internal and external. And finally, the library provides a bulletin board with a current trend for professional associations in the industry.
A Brown bag seminar is an informal training, typically one-hour in length that informs employees on career and business trends in the industry.
Assessment and counseling is another form of development that Apple incorporates. This is an option provided at the resource center that assesses a variety of interest and skills to help employees understand themselves. It also provides employees insight on how personality differences can affect personal career planning and choices. This is also an opportunity for employees to receive confidential counseling for on the job career development issues.
Networking groups meet weekly to help employees who are interested in learning and advancing their careers at Apple in functional areas, from the development perspective. This technique of development provides leads and opportunities not only inside of Apple, but outside avenues if the employee chooses.
Finally, Apple provides online job postings. Apple provides and electronic job finder to encourage employees to pursue internal transfers. This can be accessed anytime from their desktop computers. Apple’s HR managers decided smart business would provide a means for all employees to manage their own careers. The reason Nancy Dewey explained as, “Our industry changes rapidly, and we’re no longer certain what business we’re going to be in at any given time. We can’t offer job security, but we can offer tools, resources and information.” (Caudron, 1994)
Employee Development Assessment
Another important step in development is assessment. Hinrichs, J. R. & G.P. Hollenbeck explain this is the collecting of information and feedback to employees about their communication style, behavior, skills or values. Apple uses assessment of personality, work behavior and job performance as a means to develop their employees. This company has put themselves in a situation to rise above what appears to be an untouchable standard. This is essence goes hand and hand with their development resources. What is the employee bringing to the table, and is it being utilized to the fullest extent? Apple does not take mediocre individuals and move them up due to lack of options or employee tenure. They find creative innovative individuals to utilize, ensuring they are leaving no stone unturned both inside their organization and outside equally.
Apple has a strong, proven leadership development strategy that has allowed them to pre-identify employees from all over the organization who are capable of being promoted into different positions, if and when they become available. The resources they provide in developing their employees have dual purposes. It does offer resources to the employees to better themselves, but it is a tool to asses each person’s ability, behavior, and skills.
There are very few recommendations that can be offered to managers of Apple to improve their development strategies. Since Apple is the leader of creativity and innovation, employee development should have an option to enhance this area. “Innovation must add value either through a new product, a new process, a new market for an existing product, and so forth” (Pech 2003). Providing an opportunity for employees to analyze and assess current products could provide a vast amount of new ideas, new process and a whole new market. Implement a development options should take individuals from different areas and levels of skills providing them an opportunity to contribute to innovation in the making. They may not know how the science behind a function, but the science behind the function may not have the idea.
Development has to go beyond the typical practices for existing positions. “The game is changing. It isn’t just about math and science anymore. It’s about creativity, imagination, and above all, innovation” (Berner and Brady 2005). By implementing a select development program that is based not necessarily on skills, knowledge, and knowhow, but on creativity and innovation, this could provide a whole different playing field for Apple to advance from.
Apple realizes that employee development is important for many reasons. Without it they will be less likely to improve quality, adapt to social changes and keep up with challenges of global competition. In addition, incorporating changes in work design and technological advances would be difficult. There are so many different levels that development can occur, determining the best is solely based upon their vision for the future. Apple established their development theory in 1994 and they have continued to achieve the desired results set out to obtain. Utilizing employees to their fullest potential will save companies money and essentially ensure their future success. Apple Inc. is just one of many companies who have proven that training and development is an essential part of their success.
Berner, Robert and Diane Brady. (2005). “Get Creative.” Business Week, June 2005, pp. 12-13.
Caudron, Shari. (1994) Apple Computer Leaves No Stone Unturned in Employee Career Management. Personnel Journal, April 1994, Vol.73, No. 4, p. 64E.
Hinrichs, J. R. & G.P. Hollenbeck. “Leadership Develop-ment.” Developing Human Resources, Pp. 5-221 to 5-237
Pech, Richard F. (2003). “Memetics and Innovation: Profit through Balanced Memetics Management.” European Journal of Innovation Management, 2003:6, 111.
Time is precious
don’t waste it!