Apple keeps growing.
At the end of the 2013 fiscal year, it had 80,300 employees, according to MacRumors, and that number increased to 92,600 by October 2014.
It starts with hiring.
“You’re trying to pick people that fit into the culture of a company,” Cook said. “You want a very diverse group with very diverse life experiences looking at every problem. But you also want people to buy into the philosophy, not just buy in, but to deeply believe in it.”
It’s harder than it sounds. Research shows that diverse groups make better decisions. But when managers interview job candidates, they unconsciously look for people who remind them of themselves, which is bad news for diversity.
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., 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.”
Founded by Steve Jobs in 2008, Apple University is the internal training program where new-hires go to learn what it means to be an Apple employee, the Guardian reports. For example, employees take a course on How Apple Does Things. The core theme: Arrive at simple solutions to complex problems.
“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,” an employee who took the course told The New York Times.
This focus on simplicity was handed down from Jobs, who said that “you have to work hard to get your thinking clean,” and it shows the power of the culture he cultivated, which Cook and design SVP Jony Ive have spread to the company’s thousands of employees.
“Ultimately, it’s on the company leaders to set the tone,” Cook told 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.”
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