- Apple’s retail strategy has always been an important part of the customer experience, especially its iconic iPhone launches.
- Much of that success also comes down to the people that Apple hires, which say they liked working at the Apple Store for a variety of reasons.
- Some of those reasons include the opportunity to grow and expand into different roles.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Apple’s retail presence has always set it apart from its rivals.
The Apple Store, the first of which opened in 2001, thrived in an era when other electronics brick-and-mortar chains were struggling to stay afloat. Two major tech retailers from the early 2000s, CompUSA and Gateway, both shuddered their physical stores in 2007 and 2004 respectively. But even in 2019, at a time when ordering products online is probably the norm for many people, there’s bound to be a line wrapped around Apple stores all over the globe when the company presumably launches new iPhones next month.
But the Apple Store was never intended to be just a store — it’s also a hub for interacting with Apple’s products, learning more about how to use them, and of course, getting them serviced or repaired at the Genius Bar. That’s undoubtedly an important part of what sets Apple’s retail stores apart from its competitors.
It’s also why Apple’s retail employees love to work there: the culture around Apple and the notion that your role is more than just another retail job. A recent report from Bloomberg, however, suggested Apple’s priorities may be changing, saying that the Apple Store now focuses more on branding than serving customers.
Yet it’s not uncommon for some Apple Store employees to work there for more than five years, sometimes even 10, even though employees only stay with their current employers for 4.2 years on average, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in September 2018.
Business Insider spoke with several former and one current employee about their experiences working at the Apple Store. Most of the people requested to remain anonymous so that they could speak freely about their former or current employer.
Here’s what they had to say about why they liked working for Apple’s retail division.
The people you work with.
When it comes to the best aspect of working at the Apple Store, the people you work with emerged as a consistent theme. The camaraderie you develop with your colleagues and the sense of community and teamwork that comes with working at the Apple Store are a large part of why people like to work there, said four of the people Business Insider spoke with.
"You don’t just have one or two people supporting you, you have 20," said one former employee who worked at the Apple Store for seven years until 2018. "For Apple, that’s their strength, keeping their people."
The investment in your personal growth.
Justin Sullivan / Staff
Apple also devotes resources to helping employees grow in their role through team building, trainings, and pairing them with a connection manager that helps them make progress toward their goals.
For example, Apple used to send new Genius employees to its campus in Cupertino as part of the training process, although that policy has changed in recent years."The Genius experience was the best thing that I ever did," said the former employee who spent seven years at the Apple Store. "It really connected you to the store and the idea of Apple."
Apple also uses the Lominger Competency model for retail employees, which is a set of traits, skills, and competencies designed to help you work toward certain goals. Rich Zeug, who worked at the Apple Store in a variety of roles for 10 years until 2017, said Apple kept Lominger materials in the store so that employees could use them to shape goals with their managers. "No other company can really speak to that level of development," he said.
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The chance to move around and try different roles.
Other than growing in your current role, Apple also provides the opportunity for employees to move into new positions and try different jobs. It’s not uncommon for employees to move from specialist roles to Genius positions, for example, as a few of the people interviewed for this story have done.
"As long as you work really hard, you get rewarded," one current employee said. "So there’s the opportunity to even do experiences outside of your role."
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