If you ask Jim Davis, senior VP and CMO for SAS, it all comes down to one thing. And guess what? It's not about the data. It's about people, he explained in a blog post.
"We talk a lot about the importance of data as an asset, but employees are an important asset too," Davis wrote. In fact, he added, SAS CEO Jim Goodnight "has been famously quoted to say, '95 percent of my assets drive out the gate every evening.' "
It's a compelling line, isn't it?
In his post, Davis stated an obvious but often overlooked reality. It's a shame, he noted, "that more companies can't realize the benefits of cultivating the relationship between the company and the employee. We all spend a lot of time talking about how employees should treat customers well, but what about how the company treats employees?"
Analytics can improve an organization -- but only to the extent that it has the people in place to understand, use, and drive the data to create better performance.
Great Place to Work, the company that sponsors the competition, seems to understand this. The global human resources consulting, research, and training firm specializing in organizational trust ranks companies in 45 countries on six continents.
Robert Levering, co-founder of Great Place to Work, defines a great place to work as "one in which you trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do, and enjoy the people you work with."
What a top ranking on the Great Place to Work index really means is that a company cares about the work environment and cares about its employees. And that can pay off in data that even the most analytics-driven company can appreciate. Consider these facts:
On average, returning companies on the World's Best Workplaces list increased their revenue by 9% this year. Moreover, great workplaces are good for the economy as a whole: over the past 12 months, these 25 companies created 120,000 new jobs globally.
Accordingly, these companies excel at attracting and retaining top talent. Indeed, the number of applications the 25 companies receive is, on average, 11 times the number of employees that they have. Furthermore, voluntary turnover at 15 of the 25 companies was at 8 percent per annum, compared with the all industry average in the United States of 9.1%, according to CompData Service.
In addition, there is a high level of trust between employees and the companies on the top 25 list.
For the top five companies on the list -- SAS, Google, NetApp, Kimberly-Clark, and Microsoft -- employee survey scores increased by an average of 5 percent.
The essence of a Great Workplace seems to span cultures and boundaries. For instance, Liselotte Jensen, deputy director of the Great Place to Work Institute Denmark, noted at an award ceremony in Copenhagen a few weeks ago that the Best Workplaces there have better rates of return than other companies in Denmark. "That's not surprising," she said. "Employees who thrive in their workplace are simply more motivated and it helps to create increased revenue and growth."
Worldwide, the good places to work have lower absenteeism and lower employee turnover -- data worth noting! But the more you dig into the data, the more something very human becomes apparent: Namely, the defining attribute of a great workplace is good management.
The companies on the list, like SAS, have clear strategic objectives, define goals for each employee, and invest in developing their employees. The data may drive results, but the people drive the data.
Do you agree? Can you cite other examples of companies that could be viewed as Great Places to Work?