How Apple Inc. Motivates Employees

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How Apple Inc. Motivates Employees


Apple Inc. was founded in 1977. It manufactures and sells various digital devices and software including mobile phones, computers, and networking devices. It is a global company with various subsidiaries in Asia Pacific, the United States, China, and Japan. Its products include Apple TV, iPhone OS, Apple Pay, and Mac among others (Lazonick, Mazzucato, & Tulum 2013). It sells its products both in its physical stores and through its online platform such as Apple Store and iTunes Store. The company is a leader in maintaining high performing workforce and systems that makes it not only profitable but also able of staying on top of competition (Lazonick, Mazzucato, & Tulum 2013). It employs many workers globally and motivates and retains them using Maslows hierarchy of needs, Hertzbergs two factor theory, McClellands theory, and cognitive evaluation theory.

How Apple Inc. Motivates Employees

Apple Inc. defines various roles that are critical to the success of the business and assigns them to the best employees in addition to rewarding them. For instance, when developing its iOS 10 operating system, the company assigned a team of 100 engineers to develop it (Aguenza & Som 2012). The team managed to develop the system within a short period of time because the company used a team-based reward system. No team member was able to be appraised individually without an excellent performance of the entire team. When all the members of the team were able to deliver the projects tasks, they were rewarded together to motivate them to go on with other remaining tasks and keep working for the company in future.

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The company inspires its employees to perform their tasks using inspirational leadership. The leadership of the company leads them by example performing tasks together with other employees. They always strive to perform well and become a role model of excellence for everyone in their teams. The leaders constantly walk around the companys premises and nod, smile and greet employees. They call weekly meetings where they provide inspirational messages and acknowledge and take into consideration various concerns of the employees (Jones 2012). They strive to address all the concerns that the employees have. The company ensures all team leaders are inspiring to enable them to encourage their teams to realise their objectives. In case there are problems in the teams, a team leader is able to solve them beforehand and interact with the team to make them not lose focus but work on delivering results (Aguenza & Som 2012). The teams should be inspired to ensure their spirits and powers are constantly re-energised. Inspiration given to team members by team leaders is driven by the companys culture, which requires employees to be ready for the next big thing. The company has developed a culture that the companys employees trust and believe in. The employees of the company admire their leaders in return and thus are encouraged to continue working for the company. As a result, satisfied workers become more productive as they enjoy their work.

The companys leadership style is closely related to inspirational leadership, as the company provides its employees with incentives. The company recognizes its employees efforts by providing them with bonuses for the achievements they have put forth. In this regard, employees of the company have the responsibility of leaving positive reviews on other employees who have been able to perform or do something incredibly well (Rizescu & Rizescu 2014). The company ensures that such a feedback is anonymous and it surprises the performers with gifts or cards for dinner (Lazonick, Mazzucato, & Tulum 2013). The incentives have developed a culture that makes employees go beyond the tasks they have been given or assigned. It makes employees know what they are expected to do to limit the pointless stress they may have due to changing of abrupt expectations. It also expanded its benefits to employees to include educational reimbursements and maternity and paternity leaves. In this regard, the employees always long to be part of a culture where they feel valued, and which motivates them to continue working for the company.

The company also enables its employees to take part in the decision making process by communicating their minds freely without fear or intimidation. The companys leadership pleads for information from the employees and has developed a surrounding that encourages people to provide feedback freely (Kosnarova 2013). The employees are put into teams where they freely discuss and analyse their ideas and pass them to the top leadership for further discussion and analysis. In case the ideas involve development of feasible products and services, they are funded and implemented (Lazonick, Mazzucato, & Tulum 2013). When the groups see that their ideas have been implemented and provide the company with finance, they become motivated to keep working for the company. The company also does not penalize employees who come up with ideas that cannot be fully implemented, making them to continue communicating their ideas freely.

The company implements effective talent management, training, and development initiatives. Apple Inc. begins by managing talent starting from recruitment. It goes for candidates who are hard working and ensures the employees own their career developments. Unlike other companies that restrict their employees to progress through their careers, Apple requires that its employees seek information regarding their work in various units (Hamid, Maheen, Cheem, & Yaseen 2017). It makes employees train and develop their skills. Even though the company offers training, it does not offer the plan for learning. It makes the employees rely on themselves and create their own skills (Aguenza & Som 2012). In economic terms, grants are provided to the employees who have improved their skills or have learned something and are contributing to the success of the company. The employees believe that provision of grants is a way of developing richness as they accomplish their wishes and reach self-fulfilment when they retire. It encourages investment in talent, which made it possible for the company to easily shift from a computer manufacturer to a provider of a music store and to become successful in the two areas among other areas such as the smartphone industry it currently ventures in. The company does not allow employees to only focus on a single thing; instead, it allows them to be ready for the next big thing. The company enables the employees to shift their focus from one project to another if they have already managed to accomplish their previous project (Lazonick, Mazzucato, & Tulum 2013). A new project can be something different from the areas the company focuses on, making the employees want to stay in the company for long as they are motivated to face new challanges all the time. They are provided with a possibility to learn someting new within a very short period of time (Mitsakis 2014). They thus have to not only prepare physically but also mentally. During its weekly meetings, managers normally start with discussion of small things but in the following meetings, they discuss go crazy things. The go crazy meetings enable employees to brainstorm and say anything that come to their minds.

Apple also retains its employees by allowing them to shift their work taks, thus reducing boredom. The company rapidly shifts employees from one work task to another. Its approach of venturing in a completely different industry has enabled it to make the employees continue working as they do not have to monotonously repeat the same tasks (Lazonick, Mazzucato, & Tulum, 2013). Shifting of work also makes the employees develop new skills that makes them proud, therefore they acquire exceptional skills (Nkhwangwa 2014). These skills make them attractive to other organisations and, thus, they are encouraged to constanly improve their skills (Elwell & Elikofer 2015). The company is also able to gain a lot of money in terms of profits for every employee as a result of the new skills they develop.

The company goes beyond its competitors like Google Inc. by providing its employees with a chance to socialise and engage in community services. In this regard, it encourages its employees to follow their interests that are not related to their work tasks, thus implementing McClellands theory of motivation. It therefore funds programs that enable its employees to volunteer and engage in community work. For instance, in 2015 it launched a volunteering program for its employees, known as Apple Global Volunteer Program, encouraging them to identify places they would like to volunteer in their local communities. The program enables the employees to receive training that makes them attend public volunteering events to make their communities better (Baack 2012). The company is thus able to match the money the employees contribute to volunteering programs yearly and it also considers the time the employees contribute to the society per year. When employees realise that the time and resources they contribute to community are recognised, they become motivated. They realise that their esteem needs (according to Maslows hierarchy of needs) have been met. The company has also contributed huge amounts of money to charitable organisations, which enebled it to retain the employees, who like charitable contributions.

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To encourage its employees to engage in charitable organisations and motivate and retain them, the company offers discounts on the products employees buy from the company. It matches individual contribution of the employees to charitable initiatives and offers them discounts for the contributions they have made (Lazonick, Mazzucato, & Tulum 2013). It also offers the Blue Sky program that allows low level employees and engineers to have some time working on the projects they like (Hamid, Maheen, Cheem, & Yaseen 2017). When the company realises that the projects such workers work on are feasible and may be further developed to profit the organisation, it praises them, making them valued. The company thus implements motivator factors presented in Hertzbergs Two-Factor Theory (Elwell & Elikofer 2015). The Blue Sky program promotes the employees intrinsic motivation to continue working for the organisation, therefore implementing Cognitive Evaluation Theory. It also makes sure the employees who receive job offers from other companies are retained. It trusts its employees and sees them as innovators and thinkers.

Like its main competitor, Google Inc., Apple Inc. offers benefits such as meal packages, gyms, baby care, free commuter shuttle, and dry cleaning services in the company. The factors are referred to as hygiene factors in Hertzbergs Two-Factor Theory (Iveta 2012). They can make employees de-motivated if they are not implemented in a company. The company allows women who have given birth and have small children to bring them to work and it hires baby sitters to take care of them. The company has various shuttles that take the employees to and from work every day. The employees therefore do not use their money for transportation to and from the company (Baack 2012). The company offers breakfast and dinner to its employees and allows the employees to perform their work while relaxed (Mehta, Kurbetti, & Dhankhar 2014). When one enters the company, it s difficult to say whether the employees are working or relaxing since they seem relaxed, some dressed casually while others are sitting on mats with laptops on their laps as they eat their breakfast (Lazonick, Mazzucato, & Tulum 2013). Instead of seeking for dry cleaning services and paying their own money, the employees of the company are offered such services for free.


In summary, Apple Inc. motivates and retains its employees using various theories of motivation including Maslows hierarchy of needs, Hertzbergs two factor theory, McClellands theory, and cognitive evaluation theory. It has been able to create a highly performing workforce who can effectively deliver their tasks in time in addition to being innovative. It encourages the workers to stay with the company by providing them with an opportunity to grow and develop new skills. The company offers incentives to its workers, pays them well, provides them with paid leaves, and makes sure projects developed by teams are appraised and appreciated collectively. As a result, the employees believe they are part of the company and keep working for it.