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What Would an "HR Store" Based on the Apple Retail Concept Look Like? (w/August Webinar Offer)

(HR Capitalist Note - If you like thinking about HR stuff in this manner, sign up today for the HR Capitalist/Fistful of Talent August Webinar entitled, "That’s Your Pitch?  How to Raise Your Social Recruiting Game By Acting Less Like ACME and More Like Apple on Wednesday, August 22nd.  We're not talking Apple-type stores for HR on that one, but we are talking about thinking differently for everything under the sun related to your recruiting messaging. Register here!)

No, wait - stop laughing.  I'm serious.

I was browsing Fortune Magazine over the weekend and saw a brief feature on the fact that IT Apple-store departments in big companies are setting up walk-in locations in major buildings to take the fear and loathing out of two things - technology for the non-techie as well as the loathing of having to deal with the traditional IT department.

Does that sound like something HR might need as well?  Dramatic change of what's expected in happening elsewhere as well.  Apple retail leader Ron Johnson is now heading JCPenny and doing everthing thing he can to dramatically change the look and feel of the traditional retailer - to the point it seems he's trying to get fired as quickly as possible.

Why not an Apple-type store for HR?  Who says that couldn't happen?

But what would it look like?  First, a few ground rules:

1. The Apple HR store wouldn't be for everyone.  It would only be for those folks that really, really want something high-end out of HR.

2. In order to meet that expectation, the service, products and services at the store would have to be STELLAR.  For real.

3. I'm tempted to say only big companies need apply (big location, you could rotate 3 members of the team in the store), but I'm not sure that's right.  I can see a small HR shop of three people at a tech company having a store front and working out of it to redefine how they want to provide service.

Of course, the ability to pull off an Apple store for HR would really depend on having service and products that wow people.  A couple of thoughts about that:

1.  Generalists would rule the day at the Apple-type store for HR.  Think about all the things under the sun that someone could walk into the store for - no way a specialist could handle that range of stuff.

2.  Focus on the individual career would have to be front and center.  While you could always get transactions completed and questions about existing HR stuff answered, the real service that would have to be on display for the concept to seem like it transcends HR is a mind-numbing focus on each individual's career.  Which means HR would have to get a lot better at being an agent for the career of the individual employees they support.  Learning and Development would need to be featured prominently.

3.  The folks who just want to pick up a paycheck would never stop by the store.  They don't want development, they don't want to give discretionary effort.  They just want to pick up the paycheck and go home.

The Apple Store for HR wouldn't be where you pick up a manual check.  It would be the place where those who were really jazzed about their career and want to get better would drop by for help too figure out how.

No scrubs who be hanging around the Apple Store for HR.  And only the top 1/3 of HR is really capable of working at that type of store with a Careers/HR slant.

Which is exactly why someone should do it.  


Steve Thomas

Cool idea. I think that is how most HR thinks it looks to employees. Drop in and a Genius will have an inspiring career conversation or bend the arm back of the insurance carrier so they say uncle and pay that claim. Unfortunately tickets and helpdesk apps are the preferred method for ee engagement these days.

It would be hard to pull off in decentralized/virtual environments. I'd say just use video and that may help some.

The real issue though is "Bad HR" is unwilling or unable to deal with "Bad Management" and this won't change that. "Good HR" can deal with "Bad Management" and is busy doing so.....


We need more HR folks that see their role as sales and service based.


Wow. This is "Back to the future" for HR. When I first started (in a non-HR role) 30 years ago, that's what the HR office was all about. Walk in, talk to a generalist, get some advice. Each HR rep would pull your file, work with you on individualized benefits plans, retirement planning, career development, conflict coaching (conflicts with your supervisor or co-workers), and if necessary, help you find a new job (i.e. transfer within the company). Management was left to managers -- leadership did not consult with HR. Now the backlash-- HR is specialized, we are "management consultants" and not viewed as a resource to the individual employee. Seeing HR run as an Apple Store would be great -- as long as we don't repeat the mistakes made 30 years ago!


Innovative idea for HR


great idea you got there. :)

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