APPLE TALENT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

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Introduction

Apple is a multinational corporation and one of the most valuable globally ones due to its unique management strategies. Although the technology industry is very competitive it continues to outdo its competitors due to its superior leadership, availability of great talents from the staff, and its unique way of managing talents. Its talent management approaches have enabled the company to increase the productivity of the workforce and innovation leading to high performance.  Apple’s agility in talent is focused on the vision and direction of its leaders in senior positions to create a culture that helps in reinforcing the desire to new inventions (Harris 2014). After the company does something and succeeds it moves to do a new thing, which means that employees must be prepared to produce new items for the market always. The company uses a lean talent management approach, which helps in improving productivity. Apple focuses on measuring workforce productivity per employee by measuring revenue per worker or profit per employee. The philosophy of the company is “having less is more, which means that the leadership focuses on having fewer employees who are more productive and innovative (Apple 2014). The company has also built and reinforced performance culture and every new employee must commit to the culture of high performance. The company rewards and recognises final results especially during the unveiling of new products instead of concentrating on every product milestone (Harris 2014). Employees who are top performers and those that work on critical products are given special treatment, which motivates them to work harder and improve performance. Although it infuriates other workers, it is important since the hardworking employees are motivated to put more effort in their work. Apple does not focus on work-life balance for its employees and always goes for the most hardworking ones. It makes clear to them that being the employee of the company entails commitment and only those ready to persevere the working conditions are needed. Recruitment of the employees targets only the hardworking, committed, and perfect in detail candidates rather than diversity and other factors. Mostly it employs high-quality workers from other companies and insists that employees must own their career. It does not provide any training and development program for its workers but makes them do it to help them develop skills on their own. This way, the workers become creative and innovative helping the company to compete well with others in the same industry.

Relevant Regulatory Factors

The company is highly profitable despite some of the challenges it has to deal with related to legal regulations. The company treats its workers and customers differently giving it a bad image. For its customers, it ensures quality products to serve their taste. However, it is blamed for violating workers’ local and international laws especially in China where it acquires cheap labour (Hu and Guo 2015, p. 166). It has a voluntary self-imposed code of conduct relating to its workforce, which makes them work hard for high performance (Green Beagle 2011). The company does not consider what is fair to the employees since its aim is to make products at low cost and sell them at high prices. This is their value culture that makes it have no obligation of lowering prices for its products as long as customers are satisfied with them. Its cost culture and its dominant market position allow the company to acquire services such as workers wages and conditions at the lowest price. The company has been accused of mistreating workers, underpaying them and not providing conducive work conditions, especially in China (Fullerton and Chen 2015). The diversity of the workforce is also an issue since the management focuses on only hardworking employees committed to their work (Satariano 2014). Without work life balance it means people with families, disability, and women have low chances of being employed by the company. There are reports of suicides by Foxconn employees in China due to working under the stressful environment (Xu and Li 2013, p. 379). Other complaints include the use of underage labour, involuntary labour, and risk working environments. Hardworking and highly performing employees are treated differently from others whose performance is considered inadequate. This reveals the level of inequality that exists in the company during employee motivation. The company joined the Fair Labour Association (FLA), which conducts audits but the body has been accused of having low credibility since its board consist of powerful individuals that influence its findings (Clelland 2014, p. 82). Apple needs to work on such challenges to earn trust from various stakeholders including its employees and customers.

Environmental Factors

 Apple’s external environment is full of challenges due to constant complaints that emerge from different players. The company is exposed to many problems such as legal, social, work-related and humanitarian, issues, which affect its performance. For instance, complaints about long working hours in Apple’s supplier, Foxconn in China damaged the reputation of the company (Apple 2014). Other issues included workers committing suicide, poor working conditions, poor pay, which ruins the reputation of the business. Stealing was also common yet the reporting was not done to stop the acts (Biddle 2012). Issues of corruption are common in the company involving the top management, which includes bribes. One case involved a former CEO of Foxconn and some employees engaged in corrupt deals involving taking bribes. Such cases occur frequently especially in companies that sell Apple’s products affecting its reputation (Patently Apple 2014). The company has issues for not respecting labour laws since it has been accused of overworking its employees and not paying them their overtime dues. Although the company registered in FLA, the society still feels that it has not done enough for its workers. The suppliers in China violate local labour laws by skipping insurance and having excessive overtime for the workers according to New York-based labour rights (Yee 2012). Several complaints are raised every year but the company promises to make changes and improve employee terms. For the company to keep its reputation and avoid being accused of neglecting employee needs all the time, it must employ measures that will end such problems. This can be achieved if the management makes employee welfare as one of the strategies to improve performance and apply all necessary measures to address it.

Core Position

Art directors occupy a senior position in Apple Company and are highly paid for their work. The company values the image of the product very much and ensures that it employs candidates that can come up with attractive designs (Nahum 2016, p. 8). Visual appearance is given much attention and the way it communicates visually with the consumers is very important. This implies that the company considers the role of art designers quite valuable and is always keen to select the best candidates. The senior art director is paid between $132,000 and $141,000 per year for their job, which entails focusing on the outward appearance of products (Apple 2014). The person is responsible for shaping the strategic directions as well as user experience is interactive projects belonging to the company. He collaborates with designers to ensure high-quality products in projects such as apple.com, digital signage, and the Apple store apps. The responsibilities include delivering work, on strategies and brand image in addition to delivering original ideas which are clear, concise, and quite convincing. The person also must be driven by the urge to look for opportunities that can help in pushing products to a new level. Since the company does not need employees that are considered lazy, the candidate for this position must meet all deadlines beyond expectations without giving excuses (Menzel 2013, p. 16). Furthermore, he must take the initiative of providing guidelines and direction to other people and think beyond their own work. To qualify for the position, one must be able to do the assigned duties without additional teams and at the same time help in managing the smaller teams.

Individuals employed for this position in Apple must have 10 years experience in advertising and be holders of BA degree from a recognised university. They must also have a portfolio that demonstrates their creative abilities since the company values creativity and innovation. Other requirements include experience in OMNI-Channel such as in TV, digital, print, and video skills (Apple 2014). They must also demonstrate proven experiences with design and aesthetics since Apple is concerned with the appearance of its gadgets. Fluency in multiple shooting techniques and post-production workflows is also considered in addition to excellent written, interpersonal, and verbal communication skills. This is aimed at allowing the successful candidate to lead projects with great confidence and more easily. Other important considerations include the ability to multitask and understanding of the company’s aesthetic, tone, and voice. Art directors must have a passion for story-telling and focus on detail in addition to blending creative and technical production skills (Apple 2014). Experience at work is also important for the company and the candidate must be able to connect to global employees with ease.

Recruitment for candidates in the position of an art director is by internet advertising via their website where the company posts all the requirements. The HR department posts the job description, job summary, responsibilities, and qualification in the company’s website. Other important information includes specification, accountability, employment conditions, and general conditions. The company recruits its employees in accordance with Americans with Disability Act, Equal Pay Act (1963), Civil Rights Act (1991), and Congressional Accountability Act (195), and other US legislations that guide hiring of workers (Fogliasso and Williams 2014, p. 163). The director of human resources complete various documents such as the recruitment request form, job description, classification and salary, interview question, test, and criteria for candidate evaluation. After this, the announcement of the positions for advertisement is done through various agencies, organisations, and universities. Steps that follow include interviewing candidates by a selected committee, reference checks, and medical examinations, appointment of candidates, induction, and remuneration.

The candidate must be result-oriented, dynamic, and creative for the marketing and communication platforms. Selection is based on possession of the stated qualifications and demonstration of the ability to do the job. Once the right candidates are shortlisted, they attend a vigorous interview to prove their capabilities once given a chance (Jackson 2013). Each applicant goes through three to four rounds of interviews once shortlisted with the first being a group interview. A group consists of about 15 candidates in which Apple employees asks the candidates various questions especially on social issues (Jackson 2013). They are also given a chance to engage in role-playing as Apple employees and customers while being screened for their ability to perform. Emphasis is put on proper dressing, smiling, and asking relevant questions especially when dealing with customers. Those that pass the first interview proceed to the next step, which involves background checks before the second interview. The announcement of the second interview is done within 2 to 3 days or a week through a phone call (Apple 2014). The interview can take a phone conversation of about 15 minutes in which candidate are asked about the company and their feelings about it. Other questions are related to their interest in the job position as an art director after which selected ones will be invited for a third and one-on-one interview with the general manager. The candidate must respond to questions on the past experiences and ways of handling specific situations such as copyright issues. Once they are through with this step, the selected ones attend the fourth and final interview with the head manager and personal questions may be asked especially on the candidate’s past. Rejected candidates are informed via the emails or phone calls while those that pass the interview join the team for training and work commencement.

Performance management is important in Apple since it helps in achieving the goals of the company. Apple uses coaching management in which there is a review of performance plan, observing, and documentation of performance, as well as giving feedback (Jeyarajah 2016, p. 5). The management offers guidance to the employees whose performance is not to the required standards. Leaders have to lead by example as mentors and coaches. The performance of employs is measured in terms of profit or revenue per worker thus each must work hard to have a high rating. Other performance measures include training compliance, coaching compliance, call compliant among others. Since the company’s reward, the system is based on performance employees are always working hard to ensure higher rewards.

Apple Strategies

Apple Inc. is an international company, which must focus on strategizing on ways that increase performance for high sales. Since the company’s mission is to deliver the best to consumers by providing innovative hardware and software, it must focus on problems that it faces such as market expansion, employee complaints, and marketing techniques. There are several strategies that the company can adopt and improve its performance beyond the current one. One of the recommended strategies is an expansion of its market share in emerging nations especially the third world countries. The company can sell existing stock to these countries in addition to introducing new ones to the markets (Heracleous 2013, p. 94). Since it has succeeded in developed nations, it should try penetrating new markets and introduce its products and services. The markets in developing countries are also growing at a high rate and citizens of such countries are having greater purchasing power. Enlarging its markets by distributing the products to these regions will guarantee greater performance (Melancon and Dalakas 2014, p. 176). Another strategy that Apple should adopt is social media advertisement through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram among others. These are great platforms since they allow for posting of images of real products and attract customers from all over the world. By tagging followers especially on Facebook, the company can market its sleek items globally at minimum costs (Zheludev, Smith, and Aste 2014, p. 6). With millions of followers, on social media, there is a high possibility of increasing sales. The company can also post images and music recorded with iPhones and other gadgets of the company on socialising sites, which can entice subscribers to buy Apple’s products (Hennessy and Najjar 2017, p. 4). Another strategy that can help Apple to achieve its dreams of being a leader in the electronics and computer industry is focusing on addressing issues that affect its workers, especially in China. The many complaints and legal cases relating to employee welfare damage its reputation and may affect sales. If people have a tinted image of the company, they may decide to avoid buying its products leading to low sales. The company should focus on keeping a positive image that treats its workers with dignity, cares for their health and welfare, as well as a company that focuses on employee motivation. Motivated employees record high performance and identify with the company. Apple should ensure that all its stakeholders are proud of their company and support all activities related to its deals and top leader such as Cook must give employees room to contribute to major decisions (Richtel and Chen 2014). Although the company may face challenges in addressing the issues in countries, which do not have well-established labour laws such as China, it is the best idea to address the matter urgently.

Operationalized Strategies

The mentioned strategies require the company to focus on the performance of the business as well as the wellbeing of its employees. Expansion of markets in the developing nations is one of the strategies the company should focus on. This can be achieved through increased investment on marketing channels that focus on such nations. The company can open stores and have some of their sales representatives that handle its goods. In addition, it can collaborate with local business owners who can help in distributing the products in the countries. This can allow local outlets to stock Apple’s products such as phones, televisions, and other gadgets. Furthermore, the company can outsource labour from developing countries, which is cheaper and readily available due to unemployment levels in the developing countries. This way, it can penetrate the market and sell more products leading to improved performance. The other strategy identified is the use of social media in advertising, which can be made operational by focusing on the young generation who are the majority users of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram among others (Zheludev, Smith, and Aste 2014, p. 10). Tagging people on images of items, music, and other products of the company can facilitate marketing to a bigger population. Another way is to use celebrities since they have millions of followers. Some individuals in the developing nations may want to identify with musicians, athletes, artists, and TV anchors and get interested in the product they use. If Apple products are promoted through this group of people with a huge following on social media, many potential customers can be informed about the items and services. Product promotion through the social media can also be done creating a page such as on Facebook on which people can like the images or services posted, tag their friends, share with other users, and leave comments. Although some people may leave negative comments, the benefit of using such advertisement platforms are many.

The company can acknowledge that the problem exists and be ready to address it to solve issues facing employees. Many of the complaints emerge from countries where the company sources its labour and materials making it challenging to address them due to the business regulations of such countries. The company can hire trustworthy bodies to help in the investigation of cases as well as doing an adequate audit to establish the truth. Other options include joining labour laws that can help in addressing the employee needs and help in building the reputation of the company’s image. Before, starting production in any factory, Apple should ensure compliance with all requirements such as those that touch on environment, worker’s welfare, safer working conditions, health, overtime and work life balance (Yee 2012). Most of the complaints that are raised are related to the workforce and corruption by some employees, which can lead to damage to its reputation. Considering the level of competition in the electronics and other technology-based industries, it is wise for the leadership to ensure that all issues are addressed effectively as they occur.

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