My last few posts here have talked about analytics and the role of analytics in changing and improving the organization. Of course, none of that – from data to change – would be possible for a company that doesn’t appreciate its assets. We talk a lot about the importance of data as an asset, but employees are an important asset too. At SAS, our CEO has been famously quoted to say, “95 percent of my assets drive out the gate every evening.”
As a result of this mindset, SAS has once again been honored as a great place to work. This year, we’re at the top of the "25 World's Best Multinational Workplaces" list from Great Place to Work®.
Why are these types of rewards important? Because they honor a part of the business that is easy to ignore but essential for success. Really, it’s a shame that more companies can’t realize the benefits of cultivating the relationship between the company and the employee. We all spend a lot of time talking about how employees should treat customers well, but what about how the company treats employees?
When Wall Street evaluates a company, is employee trust part of the equation? Maybe it should be. If you look at it solely as a line item, employee satisfaction programs can be expensive, and the bottom line benefits of treating employees well are hard to measure, but you have to factor in more than the costs. Happy employees contribute to customer loyalty, product quality and low turnover rates, for example.
But isn’t it hard to win one of these awards? No. It really isn’t, if you recognize that people are your most important asset. That sounds like a cliché but if you treat people like they are an important asset, then other dimensions will fall into place. Product quality increases, customer service improves, you become an employer of choice and attract more talent. If you respect the differences between people and treat them as an asset, these awards will appear. It’s not like you’re out looking for them. They happen.
That doesn’t mean this is an idea you can just pay lip service to. It has to be at the core of what your organization believes. The older I get, the more I realize that if you try to set a path to be something you’re not, it will be a struggle and you’ll never succeed. If you’re true to yourself, however, and follow the path that aligns with who you are, success will come naturally.
In the case of SAS, our CEO Jim Goodnight made a commitment to being a great place to work since the day the company was founded in 1976. He has always valued employees, and employees have always come first. It’s at the core of who we are at SAS. This workplace award is just one more indication of that core value, but the long-term benefits of healthy employees, happy customers and quality products are even greater.