Apple Admits It “Messed Up” With Retail Staffing Cutbacks, Says “Employees Are Our Most Important Asset”

Apple Admits It “Messed Up” With Retail Staffing Cutbacks, Says “Employees Are Our Most Important Asset”

It was recently reported that Apple’s retail employees around the world have been experiencing staffing cutbacks. Word on the street was that some major internal changes were taking place within Apple Retail, and new hires were getting laid off in stores on multiple continents.

In a very uncharacteristic move, Apple today publicly admitted that it “messed up” with recent changes to its retail staffing, and that things will be going back to the way they were before the layoffs.

Dow Jones reports:

Apple’s retail boss told employees that the company made mistakes with its staffing levels, leading to news reports that the company was cutting employees, according to two people familiar with the matter.

In a communication with store leadership teams, senior vice president of retail, John Browett, who took the reins of Apple’s retail stores in April, said that the company had been trying a new staffing formula for its retail stores, leading some employees to see their hourly shifts cut and retail locations to be understaffed. This happened for a few weeks before the company decided to revert to its older system, hoping to rectify the problem.

He instructed leadership teams to tell employees, “We messed up,” according to two people who were aware of the communication, which also stressed that while shift schedules were affected, no one was laid off. He also wanted employees to know that it was hiring new staff, these people said.

Apple has also issued a public statement:

“Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed,” said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. “Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve.”

MacRumors reported earlier this week that many Apple stores were seeing significant layoffs. Obviously, this was a big issue of concern for the employees involved. It’s nice to see Apple backtrack and admit that it made a mistake.

This is also the first bit of public controversy involving Apple’s new head of retail, John Browett.

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  • technochick

    Something about this doesn’t ring true. Starting with doubts that anyone at Apple would say they messed up. Miscalculated staffing formulas perhaps, but not such a blunt admission of error

    Also given he number of times I see folks standing around talking to each other and ignoring customers I wouldn’t be shocked if the truth behind the layoffs was in fact a company wide effort to get rid of lazy employees. Those that can’t show up on time. Those that don’t even try to pull weight etc. cut the ones violating an actual policy and cut back hours on the rest. They will either do the work to earn more hours or leave. It’s a classic retail move for dealing with such staff.

    And the uk reports could have been seasonals hired for expected traffic due to the Olympics and foreigners coming for that traveling the country while they were there. That’s over so those folks aren’t needed and likely knew they weren’t likely to be kept on anyway

  • Alfred2612

    Apple admitting they got something wrong??! Woah a pig just flew past my window!

  • Ed Clowes

    The article states twice that there were layoffs. The Dow Jones article says that John Browett said there were no layoffs. So…

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for over two years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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