It's an exciting time for SAS Americas – having been named No 2 on Fortune magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For in the US. That’s right, No 2!! Understandably, we are all very proud to receive such an honour, and a quick check of our internal networks shows some of the stories that make SAS a truly great place to work.
SAS is famed for our challenging work, empowering leadership and great workplace environment, so it’s unsurprising we have made the list every year. My colleague John Balla talks here about the business benefits and I think it’s worth pointing out that our culture has led to great successes for SAS, and with 36 consecutive years of growth, we are definitely doing a LOT right.
It’s important to remember these are global successes… and that’s where we can really start to understand how this US award contributes to the global culture at SAS … and how that in turn translates through regions and on into countries.
My role is regional – I work across Australia and South Asia to extend our digital marketing capabilities. At SAS, the regional teams have been set up to be cohesive, and we work in partnership with the local country teams. Although I can really only speak for Marketing, I know that our culture encourages global collaboration. Anecdotally, I hear stories weekly of colleagues who have called counterparts in our Cary Headquarters and been given every assistance. That’s the SAS culture.
SAS is entrepreneurial. Our founder, Dr Goodnight, leads by example, and our whole workplace encourages innovation and ownership. There are not too many other companies with a Chief Analytics Officer! This is why I like working at SAS - I can honestly say that if I ‘dream up’ an idea, the environment is such that I feel supported and empowered to execute. Social media is one area that we excel in both for internal and external communications. Being in digital marketing, I am happy to work for a company that embraces social media in every way and trusts us to use it for good and not evil.
Internally, we have ‘The Hub’ which is like Facebook for a business – this powerful communication platform attracted 5,000 users in its first few weeks. I love this opportunity to connect with my colleagues globally and we have numerous examples of where The Hub has answered questions and helped people get through their day quicker. It’s a great example of the SAS culture in action – collaboration and communication are prized.
Externally, we have numerous presences, from our award winning support.sas website, to a variety of ways to connect with us globally in whatever channel you prefer. Regionally we have presences on the major social networks that are thriving, and countries are also making use of LinkedIn to increase networking opportunities. Two years ago I worked closely with SAS India to establish a social media outreach program involving various channels, as well as a blog. We knew it was a long haul process and the support we received from our experts in the US was enormously helpful, as was the opportunity to ‘try out’ new ideas. We considered it successful enough to roll out across South Asia and today our reach has grown by tens of thousands, and our engagement with SAS fans is fun and gratifying. Thanks to social media being a communication priority, regionally we’ve been able to establish ourselves and build on local success, and we’ve even set some new best practices for social media at SAS. That’s the SAS culture.
What does it mean to me?
In my job, I work with my global colleagues on a daily basis and am lucky enough to have made some fantastic friends across the world. There’s no shortage of experts in their field and I know that when I need help, input or clarification, I can get in touch with a SAS person, anywhere and get what I need. It’s very stimulating to see projects come to fruition and know that while I may have driven the outcomes, there’s been a lot of input from people in different countries with different backgrounds. That’s the SAS culture.
On a more personal note, being based in the Sydney office of SAS Australia, I can tell you that we are a healthy office. This was highlighted to me recently by a visitor to the office – she noticed that, as it was lunch time, a lot of people were heading to play tennis or squash (on our on-site courts) or running and remarked that it was great to see. Often I am one of those runners, but this would not have been the case for me three years ago, when I was a smoker and did practically no exercise at all. Thanks to the company’s supportive environment, I have now quit for over 18 months. My favourite activities in the Sydney office are:
- Lunch time bootcamp sessions. The company subsides some of these and supports employees by understanding that it may take a little longer to get back from lunch after the work out.
- A social club that has several fitness activities, last year we participated in the Sydney Bridge Run with the company subsidising entry fees.
- Annual health checks – the first one that I participated in highlighted my lack of exercise and where the issues where I needed to put in some effort. I hadn’t really looked at it this way before, so it was a good wake up call. At my healthcheck at the end of 2012, I was happy to report daily exercise and non-smoker.
I love the entrepreneurial environment, the fact that I’m given the opportunity to extend my personal goals, like fitness, as well as build a satisfying career with challenges and achievements. I am not alone in this, and globally SAS staff live out the central philosophy that “satisfied employees create satisfied customers”. That’s the SAS culture.