Apple: Employment Brand vs. Workplace Reputation

In this series, Glassdoor is examining several Fortune 500 companies to see how their employment branding efforts sync up with company reviews from employees. We are looking to answer the question: does the company’s value proposition to job seekers complement what employees appreciate or does it contradict what they feel needs to be worked on?

This month we review Apple to find out if the company’s recruiting message syncs up with employee feedback.

Apple Employer Brand vs. Apple’s Workplace Reputation

Employer Brand

On the Apple careers site, the company boasts, “a job at Apple is unlike any other you’ve had. You’ll be challenged. You’ll be inspired. And you’ll be proud. Because whatever your job is here, you’ll be part of something big.” The company reiterates this message throughout, explaining that “every detail matters” and encouraging job seekers to “Amaze yourself. Amaze the world.”

So do these messages cross over to what employees see and feel? Do employees rave about the inspiring experience of working for Apple? Are they truly amazed?

Workplace Reputation

Below we highlight pros and cons of working at Apple according to employees. This is a great way for any company to test if a recruiting brand message is resonating, and find out any areas to work on. Note current Apple employees give the company an overall company satisfaction rating of 3.8 based on a 1-5 rating scale – in other words, employees say they are “satisfied” working at Apple.  Also, 81% of Apple employees would recommend the company to a friend. (Ratings as of September 26, 2013).

Apple Employees Say…

“Pros –Opportunity to work on things that make an impact.” – Apple Software Engineer (Cupertino, CA)

“Cons –The downside of making extremely polished products is that half of the development cycle is spent on endless bug fixing and fine tuning.” – Apple Software Engineer (Cupertino, CA)

“Pros – Working on the latest and most innovative products.” – Senior Marketing Manager (Cupertino, CA)

“Cons – Decisions without much logic”-  Senior Human Resources Trainer (Cork, Ireland)

Does the Rubber Meet the Road?

One theme rings true: Apple is full of innovation. Employees echo the sentiment captured on the company’s careers site when it comes to creativity, innovation and polish. However, Apple employees also site unexplained decisions and cumbersome creation cycles. Should Apple ignore these cons, or address them head on and explain why talented professionals should want to work for the innovative company anyway?

Tips on Improving Apple’s Employer Brand:

  • Turn Up Social Reach: For a leading technology company, Apple is not particularly active on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. However, in a news making headline event, Apple CEO Tim Cook joined Twitter this past week with the launch of iOS7 – he already has more than a quarter million followers! It’s also worth noting that the company also has nearly 10 million ‘likes’ on its Facebook page, but posts rarely, and never embraces the community of fans as a recruiting opportunity with active job postings or examples of corporate culture. Apple is a rare company that already has a tremendous following; it simply needs to get social in order to tap in to the existing recruiting channel and further share its employment brand message.
  • Use Third Party Awards as Validation: On Glassdoor alone, Apple has ranked #34 on the 2013 Employees’ Choice Awards, a list of the 50 Best Places to Work, and CEO Tim Cook is #18 on the 2013 list of Highest Rated CEOs. By showcasing awards like this on the company’s career page and social media channels, Apple could reign in more top talent. Why? Both these awards are based entirely on employee feedback and it gives more credibility to the employer message. So for companies that have mass consumer appeal like Apple, it shows the energy within the office walls getting these products to market.
  • Learn from the Cons and Fix Them: A quick glance at employee reviews tells us Apple could explain decisions more and streamline review processes. Do the leaders at Apple agree? If so, are they doing anything to fix it? If not, do they have an explanation for why? Employers need to remember that there workplace is more transparent now than ever – candidates will see what areas need to be worked on in the eyes of employees. As a result, employers need to be ready to show and talk about what they’re doing to fix areas that may be perceived as broken.