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What They Do
Help companies crunch massive amounts of data. SAS software manages information and mines it for insight useful to a wide variety of businesses including retailers and banks.
Headquarters: Cary, North Carolina
Annual Revenues: $1070 Million.
What Makes SAS Great
As one longtime employee puts it, “SAS walks the talk on work-life balance.” The employee would know since they had a front row seat to that commitment demonstrated by Jim Goodnight, the founder of SAS.
The employee had been called into a meeting with visiting executives — including Goodnight — regarding the company’s branding.
“I told them that we would work on the new ideas and have them ready by the end of the day. I expressed concern that I had to pick my son up right after work,” the employee recalls. “By 5:30, they were signing off on the final concept. Dr. Goodnight handed me the pen and said, ‘You have a son to pick up. It's time for you to go.’"
At a company where people are encouraged to make room for their lives outside work, the employee's encounter was no fluke. Nearly universally, SAS employees describe their employer as one finely attuned to their needs, both on and off the job. While there is no question that SAS employees work hard — very hard — 95 percent say that the company encourages work-life balance, and an even larger portion say it’s easy to take personal days when they’re needed.
Not that there is much incentive for people to leave the company’s well-appointed North Carolina headquarters. Coworkers refer to the 900-acre complex as a campus. It’s an apt description for the offices set among rolling woodlands, a Frisbee golf course, tennis courts, a natatorium and dozens of sculptures from the company’s 4,000-item art collection.
Just under half of the company’s nearly 14,000 employees work at its headquarters, yet nearly all of its US workforce describe SAS’ benefits as special and unique. And the company goes so far as to employ six social workers in its Work/Life Department to fine-tune those benefits, programs and classes to best help employees facing life’s challenges, whether raising a teenager or working in personal time when a job requires frequent travel.
“We have an on-site health care center and pharmacy, a gym, a daycare, a hair salon, a massage therapist and several cafeterias,” says one employee. “We have walking and biking trails on campus. Beautiful landscaping. Plus, we have free breakfast morning, goodies on Fridays, many free snacks in the break rooms and a weekly fruit.”
The appeal of joining this data analytics company goes beyond its efforts to care for its employees. Ninety six percent say people at SAS care about each other, too.
“A fairly new employee lost everything in a fire, and within a few hours our department collected a large sum of money to take to her,” recounts one employee. “I was proud that our small group was able to raise money and help someone that some people barely knew.”
In many ways, those positive feelings about the SAS workforce extend to its leadership as well. For example, 96 percent of employees say management would only lay people off as a last resort. The same percentage say they feel good about the ways SAS contributes to the community, which include food drives, career development programs for the unemployed, Habitat for Humanity projects and many others.
Looking Forward to the Workday
While individual SAS employees may have suggestions about ways to improve the company, they are generally specific to the individual and don't represent widespread concerns. A handful mention a need for better training among middle managers with technical backgrounds, while others think the path to promotions could be better defined. Survey responses, though, show that the SAS workforce overall considers its management to be fair.
Regardless of their place in the company, though, 95 percent of employees report that they actually look forward to coming to the office. And an overwhelming 97 percent say they’re proud to tell people they work at SAS.
“I love coming in to what I feel is my 'extended family,’” an employee says. “Having childcare and health care right on campus is awesome. Every morning when I drive on campus I feel I am in my comfort zone and that I am right at home.”
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