Popularized rankings of "best places to work" (such as in 2012, SAS ranked #1 in the world in Great Places to Work®'s list of Multinational Workplaces) tend to focus on why it is so great to be an employee.
As a potential customer of one of these best places to work, why should I care? In fact, if a company is such a great place to work, doesn't that mean they pay fair wages and provide good benefits -- things I as a customer would ultimately pay for in the cost of their products and services? Wouldn't it be in my interest to do business with a company that shortchanges its employees, spending the least possible on human resources, and thereby (at least theoretically) passing that savings on to me?
That's one way of thinking about it. Or there is another way:
- Employees at great places to work recognize they have a good quality of work and life, and are motivated to continue delivering value to the company to keep their jobs. (Personally, I would feel really bad to be fired from my job at SAS. Other jobs I’ve had, not so much.)
- Low employee turnover (3.3% at SAS versus the industry norm of 22%) means much less money spent by HR to recruit, relocate, and train new employees – and more money to invest in R&D and services that directly benefit the customer.
- Low turnover also means customers can build long term relationships, working with the same people year after year, who understand the their business problems and can partner to solve them.
- Specifically, customers dealing with SAS (e.g. calling for support) are dealing with competent & experienced personnel, not a bunch fresh-faced newbies reading from a script.
In short, SAS being good to us (its employees), can not only reduce HR costs (compared to a high-employee-turnover organization). It also helps SAS be a much more effective partner in delivering success to our customers.