Leaders don’t always have to resort to staffing cuts to shave costs. Just ask Apple.
The company is one of the very few tech giants to have avoided mass layoffs despite widespread cuts throughout the industry. The reason? The iPhone maker took several preemptive steps to avoid the fate of its peers and continues to move conservatively on hiring.
Here are three of the most notable steps Apple’s leadership has taken to avoid layoffs:
1. Slow to hire. While many tech employers went on a pandemic hiring spree, Apple kept its hiring at a slow and steady pace. In fact, the company added fewer employees than its big tech rivals while generating more revenue per new hire than its peers, according to data from Bloomberg, From 2020 to 2022, Apple’s headcount increased by 20%, while Alphabet grew its workforce by 60%, and Amazon nearly doubled its headcount.
2. Quick to freeze. Apple’s leadership decided to freeze hiring in certain business areas, specifically cutting back on outside research and development. The employer also halted backfilling roles when employees leave and let go of some contract workers.
3. Fortifying HR. The company announced in February that it would hire Carol Surface as its first-ever chief people officer to strengthen its HR practice. Apple’s retail chief Deirdre O’Brien led HR before the announcement. The reshuffle is viewed by many as an effort to lend more heft to talent management as the company expands its global retail footprint and faces unionization efforts.
In addition to curtailing talent acquisition efforts and building up its people practices, Apple is reducing business travel and delaying employee bonuses. CEO Tim Cook will also take a pay cut of about 40% this year, which he reportedly requested, Altogether, the moves make for a true “doing more with less” strategy.
“Apple is frugal by nature,” Credit Suisse Group AG analyst Shannon Cross told Fortune in February, “It comes down to the management’s stewardship of shareholder dollars and a tight focus on what growth opportunities to invest in.”
Check out the latest Fortune @ Work playbook to learn how HR execs are leading in a time of economic uncertainty. The Fortune @ Work playbook is a quarterly must-read guide for executives, featuring case studies, data, and insights on how leaders are tackling the thorniest people issues while driving business innovation.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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