The Biggest News In Apple Since iPad2 And What HR Has To Do With It

by | Aug 31, 2011 | Blog

  • Amy Letke

    Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success. Contact us for more insights - 502-753-0970 or

Last week, Apple announced some very big news. No, they weren’t releasing an iPad4 or an iPhone17.

Steve Jobs resigned as Apple’s CEO. For those who don’t know much about Jobs, he is the mastermind who brought us the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Just think where the world would be without him? We would still be using slow-moving virus-prone PCs (oh, wait I’m using one right now), listening to music through portable CD players, making calls through a Zack Morris-sized cell phone and reading hard copies of newspapers and magazines. Blasphemy!

Jobs isn’t exactly abandoning the company; he will now serve as the board chairman (a position that didn’t exist before he asked to step into).

But with Jobs’ resignation comes emotional unrest and weeks of soul-searching for Apple’s 49,000 employees who’ve stood behind Jobs since the beginning of time (or at least Apple’s time).

Apple employees have to decide exactly where their loyalties lie. Employees have to ask themselves, “Was I working for Apple or for Jobs?” If the answer is Jobs, they will wonder if Apple will be the same place without him.

Although, Jobs resignation was years in the making (he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004 and has since taken three medical leaves in the last seven years), it will still resonate with Apple workers. Apple has a history of high job satisfaction among employees. How can the company keep this up?

The HR Professionals at Integrity HR understand the effects of leadership change on organizations. We know the best way to survive a resignation like Jobs is to be proactive, not reactive. Exactly how can a company do this?

Every company (big or small) needs to have a succession plan in place.

Succession planning tied to employee development and career planning is becoming more strategic for today’s organizations. Businesses need to realize that succession planning in an ongoing, dynamic process, not a static objective.

What is Succession Planning? Managing key personnel transitions for maximum continuity of operations, retention of “institutional knowledge,” and minimum disruption.

In the past, succession planning typically targeted only key leader positions. But in today’s organizations it is important to include key positions in a variety of job categories.

Here are Integrity HR’s Top Reasons for Succession Planning:

  • Help individuals realize their career plans within the organization
  • Tap the potential for intellectual capitol in the organization
  • Encourage the advancement of diverse groups
  • Improve employee’s ability to respond to changing environmental demands
  • Improve employee morale
  • Cope with effects of voluntary separation programs

Now that we’ve showed you how important succession planning is to an organization, we bet you’re wondering: How exactly do I implement succession planning?

Have no fear, we’re here to solve even the toughest of HR problems.

Integrity HR’s Recommended Steps to Take:

  • Have a plan. Before planning the succession of key personnel, you need to know where you want to go. Define your company’s mission, vision, values, goals and objectives.
  • Evaluate your current situation. See that your current business processes and organizational focus are aligned with your vision and plan. But remember to stay flexible and plan for change!
  • Identify key positions. Prepare a list of all the positions for which succession plans are necessary or helpful. For each key position develop lists of skills & abilities, required knowledge, and attitudes. These lists will help your narrow down your internal talent pool in the next step.
  • Identify internal talent. Assess your internal talent pool first and identify your high-potential employees. Look at the history of your hires and promotions and see if you can identify natural career development paths. Can you alter the structure to create paths?
  • Document! Document! Document! Documentation of policy, procedures, plans, activities etc. is the best way to capture and preserve the “institutional knowledge” that will be lost when key people depart. Make documents and procedures available to the people who replace those who depart.

Adopting a succession planning strategy allows organizations to identify critical jobs, potential successors and skills gaps while providing employees with insight into available career goals. This integrated approach optimizes the benefits for employees, management and the organization as a whole.

Now, back to Apple. It seems that they successfully implemented succession planning. Tim Cook stepped into the role as Apple’s new CEO, per Jobs’ recommendation. (Cook’s been filling in for Jobs since January).

Only time will tell how Cook will transition into the position. Profiles of Cook and Jobs reveal that the two men are very different. Cook is soft-spoken, low-key while Jobs is sarcastic, fearsome, and has a larger-than-life personality.

But when looking into succession planning, it is not necessary that the predecessor and successor be the exact person. Sometimes, change is good. Cook needs to be humble enough realize that he cannot replace Jobs, but strong enough to promote his own visions for the future of the company.

To say the least, Cook has a lot to live up to. Apple is one of the most profitable companies the world has ever seen! No pressure or anything.

But succession planning isn’t just for billion dollar companies, it even more important to have a succession plan in place in small companies who can really feel the aftermath of a resignation of a top position.

How has your company implemented succession planning? Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you had succession planning? Let us know in the comments below.

Need help with your succession planning? The HR Professionals at Integrity HR are here to help! We help small businesses and HR professionals implement successful succession planning! Contact us today!

Download Our FREE Resources

A list of our useful HR resources