Photo: REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach
Here’s an interesting quirk of Apple’s HR process.According to tech blogger John Gruber of Daring Fireball, Apple employees can leave the company, and then return after two years without losing their seniority.
Essentially, they can quit, but if they come back in two years, it’s like nothing ever happened. They don’t get credit for two more years of work, but they don’t lose their spot at the company.
The employee has to have been at Apple for 10 years, though, says Gruber.
Gruber dropped this nugget on his podcast, The Talk Show.
Contrast this with a place like Bloomberg LP, which tells current employees to shun anyone that leaves the company. In a Seth Mnookin profile of Mayor Bloomberg, he quotes these excerpts for The Bloomberg Way, a manifesto for Bloomberg LP:
“When someone departs, those of us who stay are hurt.… We’re trying to feed our families, and his or her leaving makes that task more difficult. Him or her, or my kids? That’s an easy choice!” Later, Bloomberg/Winkler writes, “The Bloomberg philosophy may sound strange to ‘outsiders,’ but not to those who matter—us. We’ve always assumed that even if we’re paranoid, they probably are out to get us. While you’re reading this, we’re thinking about how our competitors are plotting to take the food from our children’s mouths.” If employees left to work for a competitor, “they’ve become bad people. Period. We have a loyalty to us. Leave, and you’re them.” There was even a policy against rehiring anyone who quit for anything other than family reasons: “How could we ever again look in the eye the one who stayed if we let the ‘traitor’ come back?”
Apple is a secretive, insular place so one might suspect its policy would be closer to that of Bloomberg. Instead, it’s “enlightened” in the words of Gruber. It gives people a chance to try something else and not burn out on Apple.
Gruber says Apple doesn’t have sabbaticals, so this two-year leave policy is a quasi-substitute.
When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, he banned sabbaticals. A lot of people were taking their two year sabbaticals and then quitting. So, Apple just says, quit up front. And if you change your mind, then come back.
This is also smart, says Gruber, because one of the biggest threats for Apple is a brain drain. However, if it’s easy for Apple’s employees to return, it’s less of a threat.
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