Answer the questions at the end of the case in 1,000 to 1,400 words.
Include at least two scholarly citations from the library.
Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines for academic papers, including both in-text citations and a reference page
this is the case:
Closing Case: Motivating Employees at the Sas Institute
With more than 11,000 employees, the SAS Institute is the largest privately owned software company in the world with approximately $2.3 billion in revenues.100 Revenues have increased as SAS every year since it was founded in 1976. SAS’s customers can be found in 110 different countries and, in addition to its headquarters and offices in the United States, SAS has offices in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Canada, Asia Pacific, and Latin America.101 Many of the largest companies on the Fortune Global 500 list use SAS software.
Moreover, the SAS Institute continues to win accolades for the way it treats its employees. For 13 years in a row, it was included in Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America”; in 2010, SAS was ranked first.102SAS also has been cited 13 times as one of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.”103 SAS is well known for its ability to attract and retain top talent in the software industry.104 Annual turnover rates in the software industry hover around 22 percent. In 2009, SAS’s turnover rate was 2 percent and average employee tenure was 10 years.105How does the SAS Institute maintain this win-win situation of sustained growth and satisfied employees, even in economic downturns? Essentially, by the way it goes about motivating its workforce.
The SAS Institute has always strived to ensure its employees enjoy their work and are motivated by the work they perform.106 Managers believe employees should be interested and involved in the work they are doing and feel they are making meaningful contributions. For example, whereas some software companies seeking to expand into new markets buy companies that have already developed these products, the SAS Institute does new product development internally. Although this approach might take longer, SAS believes it is beneficial because employees find that developing new products is interesting work.107 SAS encourages employees to be creative and experience the thrill of developing successful new products.108 Moreover, SAS encourages its employees to change jobs within the company (getting additional training if needed) so they continue to be interested in their work and don’t grow bored with what they’re doing.109 Employees at SAS exert high levels of effort and are persistent in their efforts to develop and provide SAS’s high quality software solutions for businesses.
SAS has a long-term focus and over 20 percent of annual revenues are devoted to research and development which helps SAS weather economic downturns.110 While many technology companies laid off employees in 2009 as a result of the recession that started in 2007, SAS did not. Addressing this issue, SAS co-founder and long-time CEO and chairman James Goodnight said, “I’ve got a two-year pipeline of projects in R&D…. Why would I lay anyone off?”111
Whereas the work itself is a major source of motivation for SAS employees, managers at SAS are also concerned with fairly and equitably rewarding employees for a job well done. Pay and bonuses are linked to performance, and the company emphasizes fair treatment in numerous ways. For example, all employees have private offices. Jim Goodnight says that a founding and enduring principle of the company is that managers should treat employees the way the managers want to be treated themselves.112
The SAS Institute also cares about its employees and their families’ well-being both on and off the job. So employees receive many other benefits in addition to interesting work and equitable financial rewards. The corporation’s headquarters is located on 200 idyllic acres in Cary, North Carolina. Employees and their families can walk or jog around the campus’s scenic trails or picnic on its grounds.113 Headquarters boasts a very attractive work environment, with atriums overlooking rolling hills and artwork adorning the walls. Employees have access to the latest technology, two low-cost on-site child care facilities, a summer camp, three subsidized cafeterias with high chairs so employees can eat lunch with their children, a 66,000-square-foot fitness and recreation center with an Olympic-size pool,114 on-site medical care, a putting green, and access to all kind of services ranging from a book exchange and car detailing to dry cleaning and massages. Google, one of SAS’s customers, is well known for its generous benefits and perks and actually used SAS’s offerings as a prototype for its benefits package.115
Managers trust employees to do what is right for the company. There are unlimited sick days, and many employees can determine their own work schedules.116 Managers recognize that employees are SAS’s most valuable asset and that to ensure sustained motivation over time, they need to have a good work-life balance. Thus, employees have 35-hour work weeks.117 And these work weeks are productive because employees are provided with so many benefits and facilities that they do not have to interrupt their work days to, for example, run errands or drive to see the doctor and waste time in waiting rooms. The on-campus health-care center, with a staff of 56, provides free basic care clinic service for employees and their families.118 Of course, as a global company, employees on global teams with tight new product development schedules sometimes need to work long hours and employees sometimes check email at home. However, employees are not expected or required to work the long hours common at many other high-technology companies.119
Goodnight has been committed to motivating employees to develop creative and high-quality products that are responsive to customers’ current and future needs since SAS’s founding days; hundreds of companies use SAS products for any number of purposes including risk management, monitoring and measuring performance, managing relationships with customers and suppliers, and detecting fraud.120 SAS also provides educational software for schools and teachers through SAS in Schools.121 At the SAS Institute, motivating employees really is a win-win situation. Bev Brown, who works in external communications at SAS, sums it up this way: “Some may think that because SAS is family-friendly and has great benefits that we don’t work hard…. But people do work hard here, because they’re motivated to take care of a company that takes care of them.”122
Questions for Discussion
How does SAS motivate its employees?
What factors are likely to contribute to intrinsic motivation at SAS?
What factors are likely to contribute to extrinsic motivation at SAS?
How might SAS’s long-term focus affect employee motivation?
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