Fortune's Best Companies No. 1: SAS

sasSAS was recently named the No. 1 best company to work for by Fortune Magazine, has ranked in the the top 10 companies seven times, and has made the list of top 100 firms every year since the list began. I talked to some current SAS employees who shared an inside view of why SAS, one of the world's leading business data software suppliers, gets such consistently high rankings, why it's a great place to work, and some cons of working at SAS. After all, no place is perfect -- not even the best company to work for in the U.S

Employees generally raved about SAS' great benefits packages, health care, wellness and and fitness programs, the company's 401(k) matching, on-site day care, medical staff, summer day camp, and more. Employees also appreciated the company's commitment to work/life balance and its stability as the largest (and one of the most profitable) private software companies. These advantages all contribute to some of the lowest employee turnover ratios in the technology industry -- just 4 percent.

An SAS employee* shared that he enjoyed working at SAS due to its low-stress work environment. The company has a 35-hour work week, as part of founder Jim Goodnight's commitment to work/life balance. He added that working in a customer-facing role allows him to work with Fortune 1000 firms on a regular basis, as most use SAS software within their organization. Finally, he credits SAS' decision to be a pioneer in software licensing and their annual renewal models, which have kept the company profitable even during recessions and allowed SAS' minimized layoff policy.

A Senior Project Manager at SAS* described what he found great about working at SAS. "SAS has some of the best facilities, offices, gyms, grounds, child-care centers and health-care facilities. The cafeterias are excellent. Most people only work 35 hours a week and it's a very laid-back environment."

A former Human Resources staff member at SAS* talked about her experiences at the company. "Thirteen percent profit sharing for 30-plus years is very strong. It's truly a place where you can have it all – cutting-edge work, professional colleagues and a life outside of work. The hype is true."

SAS has an on-site clinic staffed with family nurse practitioners, physicians, registered dietitians/nutritionists, nurses, medical laboratory technologists, a psychologist and physical therapists. A current SAS administrator shared that she enjoyed the on-site health care, gym, pool, hair salon, and day care. "In my experience it's hard to beat what they offer here at SAS. There's no question what comes first around here, and that's family. I find I can no longer participate in the gripe sessions with friends and family when they dog the company they work for – and that's a good thing!" She also mentioned the beautiful office facilities, located on a campus that features nature trails and lakes.

Finally, an SAS software developer* related even more about the company. "A legendary devotion to employees makes SAS Institute a model for others. Google sent representatives to SAS' Cary, NC, campus early in the search company's history to learn about what attracted the smartest employees and kept them there." He mentioned specifically the company's wellness program that included incentives for participating in gym activities, an exercise program at the company's two pools, as well as soccer fields, a baseball field, track, racquetball courts, tennis courts, massage and physical therapy center, and 66,000-square-foot health club – all on-site. SAS also has an on-site hair salon, a nail salon, car detailing, dry-cleaning pickup and other amenities. "It's easy to see why SAS has had over 30 years of revenue growth and profitability; it retains the best talent because it's a great place to work."

Along with all the pros of working at SAS, there are a few cons as well. A few employees listed some downsides of working at SAS. The company pays slightly below market-average salaries and it's a very conservative company that typically isn't first to adopt cutting-edge technologies. In addition, SAS doesn't offer education benefits for employees, though the company does have a scholarship program for employees' children. However, one of the most-often mentioned disadvantages is the low turnover! Apparently, it can be more difficult to get promoted at a company when few people want to leave.

In this writer's opinion, a company that has a 35-hour work week, comprehensive health/wellness coverage and programs, world-class recreation facilities, all sorts of on-site services including day care and free massages sounds like a pretty awesome place to work, especially in today's environment.

I wonder if they need any blog writers?

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