Founded in 1976 by Dr. James Goodnight and several of his colleagues, SAS Institute is a company that has a strong culture where people are expected to it into that culture. The company operates on several principles:
1. Treat everyone fairly and equally
2. Motivation is largely intrinsic
3. Think long-term
4. Bottom-up decision making
SAS Institute is able to follow these principles because they are a private company that is able to invest in its people and products.
The company develops products based on customer feedback; thus, agreement license renewal is high. Feedback from customers is generated through ballots sent out to customers on a yearly basis. In addition, conferences are held in different regions where customer feedback is brought to light.
In addition to a focus on its customers, SAS Institute also values its employees. The company did away with performance reviews and trusts that its employees will do a good job. This is because the hiring process is selective. Most hiring is done through recommendations from current employees. Of course, any recruits need to fit into SAS’s strong culture that promotes internal motivation, teamwork, and the ability to be innovative/long-term thinkers. The company provides on-site benefits such as a medical facility and gym. In addition, the company tries not to motivate its employees through incentive based programs, such as commission. Not only do monetary incentives generate competition (read: hinder teamwork), but they also promote searching for motivation from external factors vs. internal factors. Instead, SAS gives its employees the freedom to seek opportunity. If people become bored in their positions, the company will try to move them around into a different role rather than losing them to another company.
SAS Institute understands that its employees are an extremely valuable asset. They focus on coaching and helping their employees grow, who in turn help the company grow. This type of culture requires the right fit in new hires, but if one does fit in, it sounds like a fantastic place to work.