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Apple on the Job Training Program, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1159

Essay

Steve Jobs advised Google’s new CEO Larry Page to focus on few products in which Google wants to compete in the long run and get rid of the rest because they are dragging down the company (Giles & Chan, 2011). This advice reflects Apple’s own approach to business as the company is only focused on products that could take advantage of its core competencies. Apple’s core competencies are not only limited to its superior products and innovative designs but also include a unique organizational culture as well as one-of-a-kind business model in the technology sector. This only increases the importance of training for both current and new employees so that they continue to uphold the standards customers have come to expect from Apple and that distinguish Apple from the numerous competitors in various product categories. Because the management expects nothing less-than-perfect products from its employees, thus, it devotes considerable resources to it uniquely developed training programs.

On-The-Job Training (OJT)

On-The-Job Training (OJT) is one of the many training options available to companies. For a company like Apple that has unique culture and unconventional business model, OJT should be an essential component of overall training program so that the employees see firsthand how things are done at Apple. The management at Apple is not fond of management theories and traditional business models which is why Apple invented its own way of doing things and the company has never been afraid of challenge the industry norms. The company thrives on new ideas, thus, OJT should involve including new employees in all the important business decisions from product specifications to design. This way they will get the confidence to be creative and think outside the box. The company takes great measures to ensure that the new recruits are passionate about its products(Frankel, 2007) and IJT will help management and team leaders identify trainees’ strengths so that their specific responsibilities and roles could be determined.

Apple’s success has also been attributed to the seamless integration between its hardware and software products, thus, OJT may also involve moving employees in hardware department to software department for a while and vice versa. This way everyone will have a better idea of how the production process takes place in other areas of the company. Apple could also include Self-direct Learning (SDL) in which all employees will take responsibility for their training needs (Noe, 2010). The benefit of this method is that the employees may have a better idea of their training needs as they identify skills shortage during the course of their work. But SDL could be accompanied by management’s continuous involvement in identifying the employees’ trainings needs that may arise as a result of advancements in technologies and customers’ changing tastes.

Behavior Modeling (BL):

Behavior Modeling (BL) will be a useful training tool at Apple because Apple has established itself as provider of both high quality products and exemplary customer service. Apple has created unique training programs for its employees who serve customers are each of the company operated retail stores nationwide. Thus, BL can be utilized to ensure that all employees provide a level of customer service that meets the minimum required standards. Apple already use videos to train its retail stores sales associates (Frankel, 2007) and including BL may mean that trainees will be required to demonstrate their learning in hypothetical scenarios and their behavior will be video-taped. The trainers will be able to pinpoint the strong points of the trainees as well as the areas in which they could use more training. The trainees will also have the opportunity to assess their behavior and actions through the eyes of the customer which will give them more realistic idea of where they stand.

It can be argued that Apple already uses application planning. When employees are newly assigned in the stores, they often learn by watching their more experienced colleagues. In the early period, the senior employees also monitor the performance of new sales associates to ensure that they are performing their job as expected. This shows that the company has taken a thoughtful approach towards its training programs and has already been applying effective training methodologies to maintain its competitive advantage over the competitors.

Team Learning Methodology

I will recommend action learning because Apple strives to meet consumers’ technological and lifestyle needs in ways better than the rest of the competition. Apple’s culture promotes creative thinking and out-of-the-box solutions to market needs. Employees are encouraged to contribute ideas and challenge the industry norms. Apple’s legendary Steve Jobs had a reputation for being a strict boss and he admitted by arguing that it is his job to force people to come up with more aggressive visions how the things should be done (CNN Money, 2008). Thus, action learning suits the Apple’s way of doing things because it involves giving employees a problem, giving them ownership of the problem in order to come up with a solution, and then holding them responsible for the outcome (Noe, Action Learning, 2010). Action learning will help Apple build high-performance teams who will build confidence over time through effective solutions and will also develop strong leadership skills.

Action learning may also involve cross-functional teams and it is a perfect fit in Apple’s business model that emphasizes a seamless integration between hardware and software which explains the company’s refusal to outsource either of them. A seamless integration is only possible if the hardware and software developers work together to better understand each other’s work and incorporate the learning into their respective products and services. In addition, Apple operates in a fast-paced technological environment where the competitors are continuously trying to imitate Apple’s ideas, thus, action learning helps employees develop teamwork and leadership skills more effectively and in a shorter time period.

Conclusion

Training methodologies such as On-The-Job Training, Behavioral Modeling, and Action Learning are already being employed by Apple in more or less form because all of these training methodologies support Apple’s business model and competitive strategies. Apple has a unique organizational culture and business model which is quite different from the industry norm, thus, the company has to invest considerable resources in training to maintain performance standards and ensure that all employees have the necessary skills set to support the management’s strategies. Apple’s training programs have been a success if judged by the company’s ability to churn out innovative products again and again as well as the service provided by its sales associate which has become a benchmark in the industry and contribute towards extremely high profitability of Apple’s retail stores.

References

CNN Money. (2008). Steve Jobs Speaks Out. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/fortune/0803/gallery.jobsqna.fortune/5.html

Frankel, A. (2007, November 1). Magic Shop. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/120/magic-shop.html

Giles, T., & Chan, M. (2011, October 22). Jobs Told Google’s Page to Cut Bloat to Avoid Becoming Microsoft. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from http://news.businessweek.com/article.asp?documentKey=1376-LTFP6U0YHQ0X01-3MTMRFEDTG0SB4L0HQ03662H25

Noe, R. A. (2010). Action Learning. In Employee Training and Development (p. 282). McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Noe, R. A. (2010). Training and Development Methods. In Employee Training and Development (p. 266). McGraw-Hill Irwin.

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