Apple is regarded as the most innovative and esteemed company in the world (Fortune 2009). According to Armstrong (2007) and Legge (2009) firms should bring into action a total reward system that puts together both financial and non-financial benefits. This is exactly what Apple has done to date and given its success, this approach has proven to be useful. Apple’s employees might even be motivated by Steve Job’s autocratic leadership style (Thomke, et al, 2009), as the positive aspects of working for the company outweigh the negative aspects of being threatened. Apple desires to have a workplace that encourages creativity from the top most management to the lower most workers. Apple puts together both outer and inner motivational methods to enable their employees to be innovative. There are various methods that Apple Inc. uses to motivate its workers. Once, the executives of Apple were rewarded by giving the recognition bonus of 3-5% of their basic salary. This recognition took place despite the fact that Apple recently missed their goal/target for a particular project (ZDNet 2003). This shows that Apple comprehends group’s efforts.
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People who get selected to work for one of the most prestigious organization in the world get very excited well before their first day at work. But, Apple makes sure that their first day is highly motivational from the time they step into the office. Apple does this by issuing a memo to every new employee on the very first day explaining them as to how they should see their efforts and contribution at the company. There has been a leak of this memo in the recent past, many people say it’s not the legitimate one but majority believes it is. It goes something like this: “There’s work and there’s your life’s work. The kind of work that has your fingerprints all over it. The kind of work that you’ll never compromise on. That you’d sacrifice a weekend for. You can do that kind of work at Apple. People don’t come here to play it safe. They come here to swim in the deep end. They want their work to add up to something. Something big, something that couldn’t happen anywhere else. Welcome to Apple.” This really boosts the energy level of the new joiners and gives them high motivation to show off their skills and talent.
Benefits & Incentives
As we all know benefits package depend upon position, location, and years with the company. Same is followed by Apple as well, but they provide plenty of flexibility within the organization for employees and their family. Some of the Incentives that Apple provides are :-
Health and Life insurance.
Long term care insurance.
Employee stock purchase plan.
Financial education seminars.
Flexible spending accounts.
Short and Long-term disability coverage.
Paid vacations and Holidays.
Onsite fitness center.
401(k) Plan with company match.
Apple also motivates all its employees by giving them discount on the products which is very beneficial for most of them. Apple allows them to use this incentive only once every three years, but it could come into very handy when it comes to Mac or IPods. Employees who work at the management or corporate level can receive free IPod shuffle or IPhone. Many employees at Apple are simply motivated to see the outcome of their efforts on a particular product instead of money can sometimes be very encouraging for the employees to learn more and perform better. It also proves to be good for the company as giving product is cheaper than giving them a raise. Due to high sales in the recent past for Apple, they have provided the employees with more vacation days which again add up to the motivational benefits from the management’s point of view.
While few workers have complained regarding the salary provided, many Apple employees praised the benefits provided to them – even if they only worked part-time. At present, Apple provides workers who work 20 or more hours a week with 401k and health benefits. Most jobs are available both for full-time and part-time, besides the managerial positions. Apple takes in many employees on seasonal basis, especially during back-to-school period or Christmas holidays starting from Thanksgiving. Although they are offered these benefits, but many workers say that these plans are costlier than their full-time counterparts.
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The above clearly indicates that there is difference in benefits and incentives provided to the full-time employee when compared to part-time employees. This is mainly because the amount of work the full-time employee does under such an immense pressure, whereas, part-time employee not necessarily work the entire week because their schedule is changed on every week basis. Other reason could possibly be that part-time workers don’t really require the rest of the benefits as they are there only for a limited time period.
The “new” CEO of Apple Tim Cook has been leaving his mark in the company very firmly. Recently in Wall Street Journal, it was reported that Cook is expanding the corporate benefits, such as to take some time off and the freedom to work on personal projects. Although Apple still provides fewer perks compared to some other big companies like Google, Microsoft, etc. Cook’s approach in the recent past has been the differentiating factor between him and Steve Jobs. When Wall Street Journal interviewed certain Apple engineers last year they had many good things to share or say about Cook rather than Steve Jobs. They gave examples like Cook is willing to eat with the lower level of employees at the cafeteria, much keener to publicly recognize the work done by his employees, him starting charitable matching program at Apple last year. They concluded by saying that he is way more approachable than Steve Jobs was. All this recent activities done by Cook will lead to better job satisfaction than what Apple had earlier. Steve Jobs wasn’t that much interested in the motivational sector, although he did a lot for the employees during the entire period that he served at Apple as a CEO. But, Cook has shown much more concern and interest towards employee welfare by adopting new techniques and making himself more accessible to the employees. This definitely gives the employees much better satisfaction as they now have growing incentives and making them feel what they do is known to the world through their name.
Money as motivator?
One of the process theories which are the “goal-setting theory” applies to the firm, focuses on the motivational properties of task goals. Employees within the company are highly motivated to attain task goals, which provide direction to employees in their work. The proper framework & management of goals within Apple helps clear out performance expectations in the organization. They provide a base for behavioral self-management, which helps employees to improve their performance and be motivated on their job.
Apple applies to the reinforcement theory of motivation because it focuses on the external environment and the consequences it holds for the individual. The organization mostly applies to the positive reinforcement strategy which strengthens or increases the frequency of desirable behavior by making a pleasant consequence contingent on it occurrence. Examples of positive reinforcement at Apple include the rewards given by Jobs as mentioned above (opening champagne, vacations, company parties). All employees are motivated to do their best work to accomplish goals because of the rewards they can receive.
Incentive compensation system is another method that Apple uses to motivate employees. This includes bonus pay, which provides payments on accomplishing the targets or goals given to specific employee during a particular period. They also have an employee stock ownership plan as mentioned earlier. The performance incentive and ownership’s share of one’s employment is directly linked to each other. Employees who hold stock of the company are self-motivated to work hard and perform better to raise the market value of the organization.
Apple Inc. tries to keep a balance between both financial and non-financial motivators. Although many a times its clearly indicated that Apple uses monetary terms more for the welfare of the employee mainly because, then the employee can use it the way he likes it. The organization also uses non-monetary means to keep their employees pumped up on a frequent basis but Apple obviously prefers to use financial incentive. This could be in wages/salary form, bonus (executives paid 3-5% of their base salary), paid leave, to be able to buy stocks at a cheaper value, different insurance policies, etc.
All put in a nutshell, Apple is definitely doing a lot for its employees as present, whether at corporate level or for the workers, be it for full time employees or part time workers. Before people did have complaints regarding the motivation, salary, incentives, bonus, working hours, etc. but as time is passing by Apple is learning the tricks and trade of it and also is making sure that it brings into action the most suitable and the right motivational strategy for its employees to perform better and make sure Apple stays real strong in the market. The backbone for any company is its employees and so is for Apple. After the death of Steve Jobs, people talked within themselves whether Cook will be able to fit in Steve Jobs shoes or not? And all the critics were onto it in a flash. Keeping all this in mind and the fact that many people believed that Apple may see a downfall due to Jobs death, but from the time Cook has taken charge Apple hasn’t looked back. In fact Tim Cook has 97% of Approval rating in comparison to Steve Job’s 95% of Approval rating.
Here are some of the famous quotes by Steve Jobs:
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
“Be a yardstick of quality, some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
“The only way to do a great work is to love what you do.”
“The people, who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
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