In an exclusive interview with Fast Company, Apple’s Chief Executive Officer, Tim Cook, has revealed how the $700 billion company maintains its culture as it grows – reportedly amassing a workforce of 92,600 people by October last year.
Picking people that have the culture of the company at their core starts during the hiring process.
“You want a very diverse group with very diverse life experiences looking at every problem,” says Cook, “but you also want people to buy into the philosophy; not just buy in, but to deeply believe in it.”
(Great in theory, as research has proven that diversity among groups promotes improved decision-making – yet managers are known to unconsciously select candidates that remind them of themselves.)
Cook also told Fast Company that Apple culture gets baked into employees in the on-boarding process: “There’s employee orientation, which we do throughout the company all over the world,” he said. “Then there’s Apple U (Apple University), which takes things that happened in the past and dissects them in a way that helps people understand how decisions were made; why they were made; how successes occurred; and how failures occurred. All of these things help.”
As reported by The Guardian, Apple University is the internal training programme founded in 2008 by legendary innovator Steve Jobs, who said: “You have to work hard to get your thinking clean.”
Cook (and Design Senior Vice President Jonyy Ive) has run with the philosophy, which has influenced the culture of the company’s thousands of employees – as one recruit told The New York Times: “You go through more iterations until you can simply deliver your message in a very concise way – and that is true to the Apple brand and everything we do.”
“Ultimately, it’s on the company leaders to set the tone,” Cook concluded to Fast Company. “Not only the CEO, but the leaders across the company. If you select them so carefully that they then hire the right people, it’s a nice self-fulfilling prophecy.”