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What They Do
Create solutions that help customers store, manage and protect their electronic data, operating across 48 sites within the United States and in 50 countries around the world.
Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California
What Makes NetApp Great
NetApp sets out to excel in all areas of their business and they aren’t used to failing. Take the recession, for example. Weathering those shaky years, NetApp managed to achieve a 20 percent five-year compound annual growth rate (one of only six publicly-traded companies to do so). In 2013, NetApp grew to $6.3 billion in global revenues and secured a spot among the Fortune 500.
To show its appreciation for its hard-working staff, NetApp regularly provides spot bonuses to recognize employees and teams that make outstanding contributions to the company's success: last year, the number of spot bonuses doubled over the previous year. Nearly nine out of 10 employees report they feel they are fairly paid, and eight out of 10 say the company provides special and unique benefits to its employees.
"The company has a very competitive compensation package," says one employee of their perks. "We get to attract pretty smart people and keep them here."
Generous compensation for these high achievers is coupled with a down-to-earth and egalitarian vibe among team members. For many employees, the culture is driven by people's focus core company values of "leadership, trust and integrity, simplicity, adaptability, teamwork and synergy, going beyond and getting things done." Nine out of 10 people say they are comfortable being themselves at work and feel that regardless of their job title, they are treated as full members of the organization. The vast majority of employees (83 percent) say they can talk to management about anything. The company seeks employees who don’t kowtow to titles and who demonstrate that they are willing to challenge the status quo. CEO and President Tom Georgen sits alongside other employees in a cube, joins the rank-and-file for lunch, goes by his first name, and makes a point of being available to answer employees' tough questions.
NetApp employs more than 12,000 people around the world, 8,000 of whom work in the United States. NetApp's solutions manage data that helps customers make medicines that save lives, discover energy to light homes, create animated movies, store email, and process millions of daily bank transitions.
With this kind of global impact, NetApp attracts a lot of job applicants. More than 207,000 applicants applied to just over 2,600 positions last year. Once part of the team, nine out of 10 employees say that they are given a lot of responsibility and are proud of what they accomplish at NetApp.
While these new employees must certainly have heard about the company's solid compensation, the salary is not the only thing keeping them: 95 percent say NetApp is a friendly place to work. Accessible executives make a point of ensuring that employees are heard: bi-monthly skip level meetings give people an opportunity to voice concerns without managers present, while offsites, office visits, brown bags, and the “Your Tough Questions” program in which executives respond to employee questions leave little to fester below the surface.
Although this is a high-pressure environment, personal discord is kept to a minimum. "There is a strong sense of cooperation and being 'in this together,'" describes one employee. "Even though we work in a notoriously tough industry, the culture of NetApp is very different than other companies in our space." Another employee explains this difference by saying that "We make decisions based on what is best for the company and our customers."
Fun and Balance in a Fast-Paced Environment
Given the fast-paced, challenging nature of their industry, NetApp builds in plenty of opportunities for employees to connect with each other and have some fun. Its 20th anniversary in 2012 was celebrated with a full week of activities, including a champagne toast, ice cream sundaes, lunch served by executives, and a family day with pony rides, a petting zoo and a bouncy house. Fun is not limited to anniversaries: beer bashes are a popular feature at all of their locations with around 400 people attending each week. Teams and departments also have their own meetings and social events designed to keep spirits high. Ninety percent of their staff say that NetApp takes the time to celebrate special events.
Given the intense nature of the work, and the fact that 90 percent of employees say they and their colleagues are willing to give extra to get the job done, perhaps one of NetApp's more appreciated benefits is the ability to take time off when needed, which 94 percent of employees confirm they are able to do. Nearly as many (86 percent) say that in addition to being able to take the time they need, people are actually encouraged to create balance in their lives. While this is not to say that people don't put in long hours -- they do -- a variety of flexible and alternative work schedules are available, as well as benefits-protected extended leave, the chance to borrow up to 40 hours of extra vacation time when needed, and the right to use sick time to care for family members. Employees are also able to take up to five paid days every year to volunteer at an organization of their choice.
One of the ways that the company says it has been able to maintain its track record of success is by responding quickly to business downturns when they occur. A company-wide realignment in 2013 eliminated certain jobs, and some employees say the company needs fewer lay-offs and reorganizations. Employees' faith in managers, by far, however, seems unshaken by these events: 80 percent say managers have a clear view of the company's future and how to get there, and 82 percent trust that managers would lay people off only as a last resort. No doubt much of this confidence comes from the transparent way NetApp typically communicates with employees. An executive roadshow takes senior leaders to offices around the world to communicate business strategy and answer employees' questions face-to-face: nearly nine in 10 employees find their leaders approachable and easy to talk with.
One thing NetApp employees don’t want to change is their culture. From the appreciated (a Vice Chairman who personally calls employees to thank them for a job well done) to the admirable (executives who build prosthetic hands for donation and 672 employees and colleagues who shaved their heads to raise nearly $1.4 million in 2013 for child cancer research) the company brings together its unique people to form a single team motivated to “Go Beyond” for their customers and for each other.
"The culture of this company is very unique," summarizes one employee. "I do my best every day and enjoy the time with my co-workers. We have a lot of fun while we work very hard."
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