Why Didn't Apple's Employee Retention Work?

Christian Wandeler
Written by Christian Wandeler May 28, 2022

Apple failed with retaining people. As the company struggles in the face of its competition, especially Meta, Apple’s attempt to keep its talent in-house didn’t go as expected. Here's why.

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As the current technological boom requires both giant companies and successful start-ups to hire more and more skilled workforce, the most talented people in top high tech companies keep being enticed with offers from competitors.

In the face of such a challenge and feeling the threat of its biggest competitor at the moment, Meta, Apple apparently had a failed attempt to retain its talent: it offered high-performing professionals stock bonuses in the last quarter of 2021.

Now, while there is a sudden increase in workforce bonuses, salaries, and compensation across different industries in the US, whenever faced with such a challenge, is offering the same type of benefit, if not less than your competitors, a smart move? I say no, it isn’t.


1. People are not money-driven only.

Like in any relationship, once a person loses trust in an institution, it is not bonuses and perks that will keep that person around. It’s real actions that show change and improvement.

2. The future of work goes beyond making people feel happy at the workplace.

It goes beyond generous compensation or access to perks that were only available to top managers or performers. Even though such inequalities are not comfortable and acceptable for most people nowadays, the world of work has scaled up to a whole new level: work-life integration. The balance between work and personal life allows people to have a life beyond work, instead of fitting their life around work schedules and obligations.

3. Being a great, famous company brand is not the only thing that makes you attractive.

If you are not able to sustain and confirm a good reputation regarding your work policies, most employees will only use you for your good name to enrich their resume and likely not remain loyal long term.

Boasting about your company's progressive practices and leadership style without truly making the real effort to implement them correctly will make your people discredit you.
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4. You have to walk the talk

Boasting about your company's progressive practices and leadership style without truly making the real effort to implement them correctly will make your people discredit you.

And the word spreads fast.

5. If you don’t keep up with the needs and demands of the workforce, you will be left behind.

The 4-day workweek, remote work, company shares for every employee, to name a few, are “trends” that are here to stay. If you do not decide to adopt some of these practices, you risk losing your talent.

6. Remove the career ladder.

While climbing up the ladder may still be quite motivating for a large number of people, more and more, employees are feeling the need to dismantle that ladder and instead, develop their own career path within the company.

Instead of promoting competition between work colleagues, try to understand and value each person, helping them design and follow their own professional path regardless of pre-established roles and titles. Make sure everyone is given the tools and opportunities they need to be successful.

What about your organization?

Have been going around in circles trying to understand how to keep your best talent in the house?

As we open up to better ways of working, traditional responses are not effective anymore. There needs to be a bird’s-eye view of the current situation and an assessment of what successful organizations are doing to be able to implement the necessary changes and develop innovative strategies to successfully retain and attract talent.

As I mentioned in my last article, The Great Resignation is here to stay and the leaders and organizations who embrace the changes will discover that there is a much better world of working and being together waiting for all of us… see you on the other side.

This is a guest post from Christian Wandeler, founder of the Semco Style Institute USA. For more information on Christian and The Semco Style Methodology, check out his rebel page.

Written by Christian Wandeler
Christian Wandeler
Associate Professor @FresnoState | People & Organizational Transformation Expert | US Partner of Ricardo Semler @Semco Style Institute USA | Positive Psychology PhD
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