Apple’s manpower is struggling every hour.

This is how almost every shift at the Apple Store begins: an employee picks up a line from Apple’s Credo and talks about how it applies to the day’s work: “We’re here to improve lives. To help dreamers become workers, to enhance human abilities, to help the madman to do the best work of his life. In all our endeavors, we take more than we take. Are. “

Activists say it’s easy to say who wants to make progress because they will choose to “turn dreamers into working people” and discuss how Apple’s devices will help consumers do that. Can help. Although not every retailer buys it. “People get emotional,” says a current retail employee in Philadelphia. “You see, people go deep into this when they want to make progress. It’s all just a fuss.”

Part of the problem is salary. According to Glassdoor, Apple’s retail employees earn an average of $ 19 to $ 25 per hour in the United States. This is good for the retail industry, but it can also be valuable for employees who want to make a career in the tech giant. Some say that after six years in the company, they are earning less than $ 21 per hour.

Then there is the issue of how retailers are tested. In stores, Apple uses something called “Net Promoter Score” to see how stores are performing. Once a customer leaves, they will occasionally receive a survey asking them to review the employee who assisted them, as well as the overall store experience.

Low scores can often be about factors that are beyond the control of employees – things like low inventory or waiting time. But they still have a bad effect on the staff. “Positive intentions have never been measured,” says a current employee in Pittsburgh. “It always feels like you’re a kid in trouble and you’re making excuses.” The survey aims to provide consumers with a consistent way to tell if stores are meeting Apple’s standards – but they are systematically employing the consumer by design.

This can be especially frustrating when the issue arises with Apple Corps. In 2017, Apple users with older iPhones realized that performance would improve significantly if they changed their phone’s batteries. It quickly became one of Apple’s biggest customer experience scandals, as people realized that the company had deliberately slowed down older iPhone models in order to protect their battery life. ۔

To allay public outrage, the company said it would replace the phone’s batteries for free for a year. According to a former employee, in order to meet the growing demand of consumers, Apple has asked some retailers to try to complete the battery replacement within 10 minutes. The result was a catastrophe for the workers, who say they did not have the equipment or resources needed to carry out the mandate. “You can’t replace a battery in 10 minutes,” said a former retail manager bluntly. “Corporate doesn’t translate anything into stores because they’re not in stores.”

In this context, Apple’s credit has become increasingly important. It aims to motivate employees to provide ideal customer service – so that even the most unusual parts of the work can be taken to a level of importance.

In the past, some employees have assumed that this applies to how Apple treats its workforce. Didn’t the company have to improve the lives of its employees? Giving more than that?

The outbreak began in the early days of the epidemic on March 14, 2020, when Apple announced that it was temporarily closing all of its stores, sending home retail employees. In Pennsylvania, an existing worker was selected to be part of a new program to answer calls from users who needed tech support over the phone. The employee was relieved – his wife had an immune system, and he himself had asthma, which put the couple particularly at risk for COVID-19. Being able to work from home seems to be the best solution to stay safe and keep making money.

There was pressure at work from the beginning. Employees questioned angry customers for eight hours a day. They were reviewed based on call times and customer satisfaction. As with many hours of character at Apple, the high scorers knew they would eventually get better schedules, promotions and opportunities. People with low scores can be placed on an action plan to try to improve.

The Pennsylvania employee says he didn’t hear much from his manager until July 2020, when he was told his scores were good. So good, really, that he was about to start taking Tire to Calls. If a lower level consultant can’t answer a user’s questions, they can extend the call. He asked if the job came with a salary and was told that it did not happen.

Apple has tried to meet the growing workload of employees by sending a shirt as a gift to home-based employees for all their hard work. When it arrived, employees realized it had a large 14 on the back (for iOS 14) and a 2020 print on the sleeve. It survived WWDC 2020 – Apple’s live event that was canceled.

The shirt felt like a slap in the face. Employees wanted more. Some had more than one roommate and took two or three jobs to try to get their work done. On top of that, they were dealing with the same existential rage as the rest of the population was facing a global epidemic – all screaming at consumers who barely treated them like humans.

A Pennsylvania employee said his mental health was deteriorating. He was working in a dimly lit room, unable to get out of the house due to lockdown. When he tried to talk to his manager about how he was feeling, he was told to try to open the window or plant a tree on his desk.

One day, an employee was sharing a screen with a customer who had a problem with his display. The device was not under warranty – he told her it would cost $ 500 to fix. The woman started crying. “I’m a college student. Can’t you make a discount?” He asked, saying he was sorry, but it was not up to him. The woman then opened a photo booth on her computer screen – activating a webcam – and held a razor to her wrist. “That’s what you’re pressuring me to do,” she told him.

When the employee told his boss what had happened, the man asked if he needed half an hour to suppress it. The employee replied that it did not take long. According to her recollection, her boss confessed: “Okay, take a breath, but try to keep it for 30 minutes because we need to keep our call time short.”

In early 2021, Apple stores reopened, and the employee asked to return to work in person. “I have asthma, my wife has a chronic illness, but we were forced to fight our mental health against our physical health to see if it was worth going back to the store,” he says. The decision was not hers anyway – she was told she needed to keep working from home.

It wasn’t until he was asked to go on medical leave that he was finally able to return to the store. “They let me come back to the store to keep me away from the holiday,” he alleged.

In September, Apple announced that from March 31, all retail and maintenance employees who stayed with the company would receive a $ 1,000 bonus. For some workers, this was a good surprise. But after years of feeling abused, others believe the bonus had more malicious implications. The Pennsylvania employee said: “I think it’s more likely that he doesn’t want to sue some of us over the past year for not offering him a paycheck after working in public.”

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