How does it feel to be a new employee at the No. 1 company to work for in the US?

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A lot has been said about how SAS is a great place to work from both the media and from long-time employees. But what is it like from the outside perspective of someone just joining SAS? Well, I joined SAS less than 90 days ago after working for two of the largest financial institutions in the world, and here are my thoughts.

When looking for a company, several things are important to me:

  1. Does the company do something that makes a positive impact in the world?
  2. Do the employees know and understand the overall goals and objectives?
  3. How effective are the leaders in actually leading?
  4. What is the culture and how do decisions get made?
  5. Do people collaborate well?
  6. How are employees contributions valued?

Prior to joining SAS, I had the privilege of listening to CEO, Dr. Jim Goodnight talk about these things at a leadership conference. It intrigued me enough to look further into SAS and what all they did. Interestingly enough, I learned that SAS develops software that makes a difference in almost every industry you can think of, from automotive to zoos. You’d think at a company that develops business intelligence software that the culture would be very sterile, serious, and dry. I have to admit, that is exactly what I thought it was going to be before I joined SAS. However, it has been quite the opposite experience.

My boss sent me an email prior to me starting about how excited she was that I was joining. Wait a minute! Why would a company express such excitement? To most companies, you are a headcount that needed to be filled, and you are lucky to have a job, so get in here and get to your desk. As I met new people, they’d say “Do you love it here as much as I do?” I’d think to myself, what is going on here? Even the guard at the front entrance waves to you with a smile every morning on the drive in. The cafeteria workers put a smile on my face every day, and they appear to really enjoy their jobs too. Everyone welcomes you and makes you feel at home.

I’ve come to this conclusion about SAS: People love their jobs, they feel respected, valued, and they believe they are making a positive impact. You could add all the perks in the world, but nothing will make up for what I just mentioned. Dr. Goodnight has created an environment that is based on treating people fairly. In return, employees work hard to make our products even better for our customers.

Don’t get me wrong, the perks are awesome and a welcomed addition. But the onsite healthcare, haircuts, watch repair, dry cleaning, office with doors and so on, to me, is the icing on the cake.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Shane,
    Congratulations on your position with SAS. I am a Visiting Instructor at Duquesne University's Palumbo*Donahue School of Business. For many years I have utilized SAS as a terrific example of an ethical company that sustains superior performance.
    Dr. Goodnight is a wonderful example of an ethical leader and the fact that SAS continues to be recognized in positive ways, demonstrates its longevity. Recently, I nominated SAS to the World's Most Ethical Company list and am hopeful the company will achieve this distinction too. In thinking about any company being able to have back-to-back "championships", as in the case of SAS with the Best Company to Work For List, it is astonishing. Then again, I imagine there are many other astonishing aspects of SAS that those of us on the outside, can only dream of. I wish you all the best in your continued success.
    Cheers,
    Dana

  2. Shane hits upon something that the press misses when covering the "Best Place to Work" topic - the awesome impact that our products have on the world. Whether we are contributing to fighting crime, managing financial risk, optimizing profitability, tracking endangered animals, improving the educational opportunities for children, or rolling out new pharmaceuticals - SAS is helping improve the world in which we live.

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