SAS Corporation (SAS stands for Statistical Analytical Software) is the world’s leader in business analytics software, delivering breakthrough technology needed to transform the way a business does business. To accomplish this enviable position, SAS established a set of key values and goals that has clearly define the direction the company wants to go. This has catapulted them from the company’s humble begging 28 years ago with only seven employees, to a massive corporation with 200 offices in more than 50 countries and nearly 10 thousand employees.
SAS Corporation’s key values are Employees Welfare, Empowerment and Loyalty. The corporation’s operational goal statement is to deliver superior software and services that give people the power to make the right decisions. These values and the corporation’s goal have motivated their employees to an excellent performance throughout the years and have maintained an extremely low employee turnover rate, constantly below the industries average. I intend to prove this by detailing the actions that SAS has taken that demonstrate these values, defining the corporations goal and how these actions motivates their employees. I will also explain how SAS actions create motivation among their workforce by comparing these actions with the employment satisfaction model and the theories of motivation.
Since the creation of the corporation in 1976, SAS Corporation has always been an employee oriented company. They established a profit sharing plan and discretionary bonuses for employees. Established flexible work schedule and 35-hour workweek and lastly initiated employees-friendly perks – including Fridays breakfast goodies, Wednesdays M&Ms, fresh fruits on Mondays, break rooms stocked with complimentary drinks and snacks, winter company wide party, family spring picnic, family Halloween party and numerous family activities throughout the year. Keep in mind that this is in 1976 after the Vietnam era when the economy was struggling; this small corporation already had the vision that a satisfied employees would result in satisfied customers.
SAS employee’s welfare efforts speak for themselves: In 1980 Company-sponsored on-site childcare is established. In 1983 On-site health care center staffed with family nurse practitioners is established in Cary, NC; services are offered at no cost to employees and their covered dependents. In 1984 On-site recreation and fitness center opens in Cary with all programs and services free to employees and family members, also a wellness program is established. In 1985 company subsidized on-site café opens in Cary and adopts self-funded indemnity plan with low deductible. In 1989, SAS begins practice of giving employees an additional paid week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. In 1990 Employee Assistance Program is established. In 1992 Work Life Initiatives Department is established.
In 1993 Generation to Generation elder care program is established. In 1995 Health Care Center adds two physicians to staff. 1996 SAS establishes partnership with Bright Horizons childcare centers in Cary to expand care offered to children of employees. 1997, Human Resources announces paid time-off for regular part-time employees. 1998, Recreation and Fitness Center in Cary undergoes major renovation and expansion, adding 8,000 square feet. 1999 Building T opens as the 22nd facility on campus. It contains a 550-person café on the ground floor. The Recreation and Fitness Center grows considerably with the addition of the 19,000-square-foot Natatorium, housing a 10-lane swimming pool.
The company’s work-life programs and unique corporate culture continue to receive accolades. SAS has been included in the list of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers 13 times. For six consecutive years, the company has been listed on FORTUNE magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America.” In October 2002, SAS’ corporate culture was featured in a segment titled “The Royal Treatment” on 60 Minutes and more recently was featured as the Best Place to Work on the Oprah show.
SAS’ founder and CEO Dr. Jim Goodnight always says “Today and every day begin with you!” This company motto does not make reference to the company; it gives the power to the ones who work in the corporation and to those whom the corporation works for, the customers. SAS Mission Statement is another good example of empowerment. “At SAS our mission is to empower organizations around the world with superior software, solutions and services that give them The Power to Know®. We want to be the most valued competitive weapon in business decision making.” Both the motto and the mission statement give the power to the employees as the ones responsible for the company’s achievements and gives the power to the customers to be able to execute their own business.
In an era of high unemployment, SAS increased its overall U.S. headcount by 6 percent in 2003. SAS’ vice president of human resources, Jeff Chambers, believes the investment in people is essential to the company’s business success. With enviable low employee turnover that has been consistently and significantly below the industry average, SAS reaps the rewards of employee loyalty and the benefit of the most talented minds in the software business.
While searching the SAS website, the word loyalty kept appearing time after time throughout the website. They understand that employee loyalty will bear true faith and allegiance to the corporation, its mission and goals. In a world of free agency, signing bonuses, and stock options, this is a place where loyalty matters more than money.
SAS’ Corporation Goal
The corporation’s operational goal statement is “to deliver superior software and services that give people the power to make the right decisions”. This is a clear and attainable energizing goal that provides direction and motivation for the SAS Corporation’s employees to be the best in their field.
The Motivation Factors
The company’s work environment is designed to nurture and encourage creativity, innovation and quality. SAS Corporation’s values and goals lead into job satisfaction by satisfying several items in the theories of motivation. In the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, SAS ensures that the most basic physiological needs are met, not only by a pay check but also with employees-friendly perks such as snacks and drinks free of charge. It also ensures that the employee’s physical needs are met by providing large facilities to work out right at the work place, again free of charge.
The safety, social and esteem needs are also met by providing on site medical facilities, and numerous employees and family activities throughout the year. SAS’ ability to hire new personnel in times of high unemployment and weak economy also reinforces the safety motivation factor for the employees by giving them job security. It sends a signal of company strength, so there is no need to worry about layoffs.
McClelland’s Learned Needs theory of motivation says “Achievement motivated people thrive on pursuing and attaining goals”. When the employees are motivated and are empowered, there is no telling how far they can go and will engage in “Extra Role Behavior” by going the extra mile for the accomplishment of the mission or task at hand. The employee will tend to look for extra responsibilities and probably will have a more creative mind to improve job procedures or systems.
These motivational factors directly impact in the individual’s overall positive response to the SAS Corporation. With all the employee’s perks and benefits provided, SAS successfully meet and surpass any expectations. SAS actions have created a strong membership feeling among their employees, which has lead to positive evaluations among their ranks.
In conclusion, with putting in practice their key values, detailing a direct mission statement and establishing clear and concise goals, SAS Corporation managed to provide the job facets that resulted in positive cognitive and affective response from their workforce. The employee-focused philosophy since 1976 has created a job satisfaction among their employees that has managed a loyal and satisfied workforce with minimal turnover rate.
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V. SAS Website Corporation Website, Work Life, 2004
VI. SAS Website Corporation Website, 2004
VII. SAS Website Corporation Website, Work Life, 2004
VIII. Fast Company, Sanity INC, January 1999, Page 84, by Charles Fishman
IX. SAS Website Corporation Website, Executive, 2004
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