SAS Institute Inc.
Real HR: It’s tough to be a high-tech employer. The industry has five jobs for every skilled worker, 350,000 jobs remain unfilled, and 1.5 million new employees will be needed.
How does an organization develop its product, fill orders and maintain its high standards for quality when faced with such a labor shortage?
Real Impact: While competitors struggle to fill jobs, SAS is inundated with resumes and can afford to hire only the very best. SAS keeps those employees, too. Although turnover greater than 20% is the norm for competitors, at SAS it has been less than 5% annually for 23 years.
In addition to moving the company forward, the stability of the SAS workforce directly saves the company $56 million per year.
Although the company offers an array of cutting edge benefits (on-site child care and exercise facilities among them), surveys show that employees stay because of the company’s culture of trust and flexibility.
Some critics have argued that the culture is really paternalism – that employees are taken care of. CEO James H. Goodnight concedes there’s some truth to the charge, but he argues that loyal employees create loyal customers.
Ultimately, he sees HR strategies as part of a customer relationship management effort. Because of that, HR is charged with maintaining the culture, and HR initiatives are evaluated not in comparison to what other companies are doing but by whether they are actions that support the SAS philosophy.
The formula works for SAS: The company’s products have a reputation for top quality, and they drive huge profits.