October 7, 2009

SAS Institute

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:28 am by ctennert

I have heard of this company, because I believe we use one of their software systems where I work.  This was a great case that pointed out both positives and negatives about SAS. 

It seems as though SAS is comparable to SWA in several ways.  The family aspect of these companies is important, and the two CEOs behave very similarly.  SAS’s CEO Goodnight does not believe in the dreaded performance evaluation, and maintains an open-door policy.  They hire people based on how well they will fit in with the culture of SAS, and their benefits blew me away.  Thinking of the big-picture in a long-term approach is smart in my opinion, because this will ensure the company will be around in the future, and still profitable.  Employees are not pitted against one another, like at Nordstrom’s, and there is barely any turnover at SAS.  Goodnight trusts his employees to do the right thing, and work hard for the company without getting burned out.  He simply watches his bottom line.

SAS does need to streamline their product line, and not accept every idea presented to them that could potentially not fit in with existing products and customer needs.  The compensation system also needs some work.  Employees need to know exactly how much they will be paid and for what tasks.  It is up to middle-management to give their employees a mark between 1 & 4 on their performance that quarter, so if they don’t get a great score from this one person, they are basically out of luck.  Goodnight’s bonuses are based on feelings, and there is no real structure.  That would make me extremely uncomfortable as an employee of SAS.  Also, just like SWA, SAS does not compensate for extra schooling outside their organization which is a shame.

The laid-back atmosphere at SAS has perks and pitfalls.  According to Goodnight, measurement is simple:  just look at a one-page report on revenues and expenses to see how the company is doing every month.  Running a business is more complex than this, but he sure does know how to keep his employees happy.  I think a little healthy competition within the company would motivate some employees even more to go the extra mile, and as a salesperson, I am definitely motivated by monetary rewards.  And man would I be appreciative of that beautiful campus.  Great company that needs a few minor adjustments from where I’m standing.

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