SAS, originally standing for “statistical analysis system”, describes itself as the leader in business analytics software. It originated at North Carolina State University in the USA as a project to analyze agricultural research, and established itself independently in 1976 to assist a wide range of clients from pharmaceutical companies to banks and academic and governmental bodies. It is employed at over 75,000 sites in 138 countries and its mission is to “deliver proven solutions that drive innovation and improve performance.”
The company has extensive provisions for employees and thereby strives to promote corporate spirit and long-term commitment. At its headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, where some 4,200 employees work, the typical working week consists of 35 hours, on a flexible arrangement. Two subsidized daycare centers cater for 600 children and additional facilities are available for families such as summer camps. Other provisions for employees include dry-cleaning services, a meditation garden, and subsidized cafeterias serving hundreds of breakfasts and lunches daily. Sports teams have been set up for employees. Security and Safety and Risk Management departments provide training and resources to identify and prevent hazards to employees, and the Ergonomics Department assists employees with personal assessments and training; educational resources are provided through an intranet site which includes information regarding safe work-skills programs for manual-labor employees and assessment request forms for personal worksite evaluation.
The healthcare center in North Carolina is situated on the campus; it is open from 8:00 to 18:00 almost every day and employs 56 staff, including nurses, doctors, nutritionists, technicians, physical therapists, and a psychologist. In addition to general advice and support, the center functions as a clinic and provides such services as pregnancy testing, general blood tests and vaccinations. The services are provided free of charge and in 2009, 90% of employees used them. Jim Goodnight, SAS founder and CEO, has been quoted as saying that he is proud to work for “a company whose focus on people and well-being has been its philosophy since day one.”
The company’s attitude is that, by providing employees with on-site healthcare, they do not have to waste company time in waiting rooms and are more likely to seek care quickly rather than waiting until illness prevents them from coming to work at all. It is considered that this policy contributes considerably to the financial success of the company and the general well-being and commitment of its staff.
Globally, SAS is committed to proving a safe and healthy working environment for its employees and each office is responsible for managing this. Specific locations are borne in mind in designing health programs, while resources and best practices to support these are available from headquarters. Healthcare cover is tailored to cultural norms and local laws, and in most offices exercise facilities can be found onsite or nearby. The employee wellness program in general is considered to be extremely effective in reducing lost working days to a minimum and minimizing compensation claims.