What good is being a "great place to work"?

Even the SAS sheep enjoy a great place to work

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.

By the way, it was just announced that SAS is #2 on the 2013 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list in the US. This is after #1 rankings in 2010 and 2011, and #3 ranking last year. Ho hum...

tags: Fortune, great place to work, SAS, sheep lovers

One Comment

  1. Renee Nocker Renee Nocker
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Bingo Mike! Great post - really talks to the essence of why our customers - not just our colleagues - should be thrilled that SAS is such a great place to work! I am proud and honored to be YOUR co-worker by the way :)!

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  • About this blog

    Michael Gilliland is a longtime business forecasting practitioner and currently Product Marketing Manager for SAS Forecasting. He initiated The Business Forecasting Deal to help expose the seamy underbelly of the forecasting practice, and to provide practical solutions to its most vexing problems.

    Mike is also the author of The Business Forecasting Deal, and co-editor of Business Forecasting: Practical Problems and Solutions. He also edits the Forecasting Practice section of Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting.
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