A “Lean” Talent Management Approach Contributes to Extraordinary Productivity
Most firms strive to have a productive workforce. One of the best ways to measure workforce productivity is revenue per employee. Apple produces what can only be considered extraordinary revenue per employee; $2 million. A second measure of workforce productivity is profit per employee: nearly $478,000 for Apple (unbelievable considering it has a retail workforce).
If you are familiar with the concept of lean management, then you’ll understand the prime drivers for Apple’s extraordinary employee productivity. For years, the leadership of Apple has followed the philosophy that having less is more, meaning that by purposely understaffing and operating with reduced funding, you can make the team more productive and innovative.
Innovation at most firms is expensive because you must pay for a lot of trial and error. The lean approach, however, can improve innovation because with everything being tried, there simply isn’t enough time or money for major misses and re-do’s. “Unrealistic deadlines” at Apple mean that you have to get project problems solved early on, because there isn’t time to redo things over and over. Being lean forces the team to be more cohesive. Even providing a lean schedule forces everyone to be productive because they know there is no room for slippage. At Apple, the lean approach means that even with its huge cash resources, every employee must adopt the mentality of leanness. If you understand the lean concept and its advantages, you shouldn’t be surprised that numerous innovations have been developed in “garages,” the ultimate lean environment.