SAS - The Power to Know

Every business owner wants his/her business to be successful and prosperous. It is not only about the money. The point is that a person who dares to make such a step as starting his/her own business is a leader-sort person. Such people do not go with the flow. For them, it is vitally important that their ideas would be recognized and gladly met, that they would change something in the world around them. Business is one of the tools to achieve those goals. This is exactly why it is not only the love for money that drives business owners when trying to promote their businesses, but what is a successful business? Well, this is a very complex question. First of all, a successful business is a profitable and a growing business, a business the goods or services produced by which are becoming more and more widely-known and the demand for which is constantly growing. This may be the definition of a good prosperous business. However, what is it that makes a business successful and hence growing and demanded? This is a far more complex question. The majority of people will definitely believe that it is only the goods and the services plus high quality marketing. This is too simple of an answer. Yes, these factors matter and they are highly important, yet what they consist of or, so to say, what they are influenced by are people, the staff of the company. Human resource component can under no circumstances be neglected. Successful companies do know it very well; otherwise, they would not have become successful.

One can dedicate one’s entire life to learning theory, but the picture never becomes as clear as it does when we look at a particular case, at a case of a very successful and prosperous company. In this paper, we will focus on SAS, the company that has already been a leading company in its segment of the market for decades. It is very important to find out what has brought them their success and the respect of their clients.

The Two Factor Theory

So, as it has already been stated above, it is very important for a company to have a good team of workers. This team has to be united, it has to consist of professional workers and these workers need to be motivated to work and need not to be distracted while working. Selecting professionals among applicants is rather a technical matter, while making them happy when they are already at their work place is quite a different story. Besides, they should be not only happy, but motivated. Based on Maslow's theory of motivation, another psychologist, Frederic Herzberg, developed a so-called dual factor theory. This theory states that people at their work place are satisfied with their job due to a number of different factors, while their dissatisfaction with their job grows from another set of quite different and in no way related to the first set factors. For instance, satisfaction comes out of their social position, their position at the company, and the sort of work they have to do. In other words, those are the factors, which have more to do with a moral part of the issue. However, dissatisfaction is mainly caused by the salary, by little vacations, by other factors, which can be collectively referred to as material factors. Now, in order to motivate a worker or the staff of the company effectively, the administration needs not only to think about possible ways of meeting workers' material needs and therefore avoiding possible dissatisfaction, assuming that a worker who has got no reasons to be unhappy will automatically become happy and satisfied. According to Hertzberger's theory, it is not so. The reasons for being satisfied also need to be provided to the workers. Herzberg (1964) claims that this is a separate set of reasons based on the factors quite different from those, which cause dissatisfaction (3-7). This is what SAS Company manages to do effectively. This company makes it obvious for their employees that their work is highly valued, they are offered different programs related to retirement, estate obtaining, recreations, and so on. The reasons to be happy with the job are provided to the workers. Meanwhile, possible reasons for dissatisfactions are also effectively avoided. This is a sort of art really, but SAS copes with the task in a very effective manner. It is a very vise policy led by SAS. All the money, which has to be invested into human resources, is not being spent on the salaries only. The workers are provided with refreshments at break rooms, each worker has got his own room at work, workers can count on retirement programs and recreation plans. This is what makes up peoples’ motivation at work. They are happy to provide high quality services for the company even for lower salary, than they would have be receiving at some other companz. However they are happy, while they know that the company cares for them too. Besides at some other place, as many of the SAS employees admit, they would have earned more money, but not good mood.

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Employee Ownership, Participation, and Empowerment

Let us assume that we have got a team of highly qualified workers who have got all the reasons to be happy with their social position, their work, and position at the company. At the same time, there are no reasons for them to be unsatisfied while they have got high salary, a good social package and are sure that after they are retired, their company will not leave them alone. Does this automatically mean that these workers are motivated? Not necessarily. Here is another set of factors, which are closely related to each other and which also form the employees' motivation. Those are Employee Ownership, Participation, and Empowerment. Let us get to understand what these three words stand for and how and for what reason SAS did their best to take them into consideration when building their corporate policy.

A worker who simply does his/her part of work without understanding the company's strategy and without understanding what his work means for the company will very soon get tired of his/her work and, hence, will be unsatisfied with it. Therefore, it is vitally important that the worker should not only be participating in the working process, but to say more, he/she needs to be involved in it, he/she needs to feel himself/herself a part of the team and see the goals, which need to be achieved, and therefore be interested and motivated in achieving those goals, which stands for his/her ownership of the part of the work he/she is responsible for and his/her co-ownership of the company as a whole. Besides, the worker needs to have the power and to be empowered to take decisions by himself/herself, he/she needs to see that things do depend on his/her decisions, on his/her actions, and his/her work. In such a case, a worker will be motivated to work. The SAS administration seems to be totally aware of this and they build their policy accordingly. They do give their employees full access to the information of their affairs; they call the whole company, including the members of the families of the workers and former workers who are not working for them any longer, the "SAS family". One of their main ideas is that each worker needs to have power and freedom to be creative, however primitive his work may appear to be at first sight. The majority of SAS’s employees admit, that they can easily get whatever they need in order to realize their ideas. It may be advice of a boss or anything material. You only need to utter a word and whatever you think can help you in your work will be delivered to your workplace as soon as possible. The administration of SAS try to stimulate people to be creative. And one more very important factor: SAS trust their employees. It is very hard to go through a job interview, when applying for a job at SAS, but once you have done it, you are a part of the team and your company trusts you in everything you may wish to do. Be creative and try, even make mistakes, as long as you try to improve your performance.

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Symbolic Egalitarianism

However, there is another very important method, which needs to be applied when managing a team of workers. The SAS administration again seems to have brilliantly applied this in their company development. It is symbolic egalitarianism. The key to success in managing a team of people and thus in obtaining the highest possible results of their work is making sure that none of the members of the team feels as an outsider. It is critically important that everyone needs to know that his/her rights are equal to such of any other member of the team. This may not be so and, in fact, it is impossible to built a team where everybody, starting with a floor cleaner and ending with a director, would have equal rights, but the secret is to create such an air around each worker and to make him/her feel equally important and respected as the members of the administration. The worker himself/herself may know that his/her rights are limited, but this feeling of respect will certainly be a proper compensation for it. SAS applies this sort of attitude, they practice it by calling their workers "the family", they do it by showing that even after the retirement each one of their good workers will be cared for, just the way it should be in a large and friendly family. SAS call themselves a very flat company. A company, which does not have too many administrative levels. One can even see one of executive managers programming the whole day through. Having entered SAS territory, you will not see special parking spaces for the administrative office, you will not find separate canteens. The whole staff has meals in the very same café and this gives the workers the feeling that they are close to the administration, and this gives them the courage to closely interact with administration and to care about how the company is doing, and do whatever may depend on them in order to improve current state of affairs.

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Is it good to work for SAS?

Working for a company that understands these concepts must be a pleasure. The work can be hard, but it gets much easier when you know what you do it for, when you see other people supporting you and assisting you, when you know that in case you believe something to be wrong about the way something is done at the company, you may express your opinion and it will be heard and listened to. Within the limits of your competency, you may choose to be creative when doing your work. You are the master there and you have the rights and responsibilities in regard to this particular part of work, which you are assigned to do. In such a case, your work becomes interesting, exciting and you are motivated to do it. Besides, good salary and other corporate offers make this work even more enjoyable. I would definitely like to work for SAS even if the salary was a bit lower, this would be entirely compensated with attractive working environment, less stresses and other little things, which, in the final score, add up and make the picture quite different.

What to Borrow from SAS

When starting a new business one could borrow a lot of ideas embodied in the SAS policy for any type of business. It may appear to be hard at the beginning, but it is important to understand that starting anything is always hard, and overcoming certain difficulties allows us to grow. A young business may not be capable of paying high salaries and providing their workers with considerate social packages as SAS does. However, what is important and essential for any business owner is remembering that saving on human resources is not affordable for any sort of business that wants to survive. You can come up with a brilliant idea and have a great marketing plan and the latest available equipment. However, all this may not save you from a failure, unless you have a good team of workers. It is not acceptable to save time, effort, or money on hiring high quality specialists and motivating them to work. Nothing else matters that much. When starting a new business of mine, I would definitely borrow the general principle: not to spend all the money, aimed at covering the expenses on human resources should be invested into salary. It is important for employees, just like for any othe category of people, to feel, that they are cared for, that they are not only given the money. It is the easiest thing – to purely by yourself off by means of cash. But real care and attention values much more. And it is worthwhile spending some of the money on little presents for your staff, to make sure, that employees have tea, coffee and water to drink during their breaks. People will appretiate this sort of care. Maybe, being a beginner in business management I will not be able to implement all the programs for the employees, which are run by SAS, but I will certainly borrow the main concept of spending money not only on salary and the concept of payng much attention to the working atmosphere, making sure, that it is friendly and that work is fun for every worker, that he has got enough freedom and udoes understand how much he means for the company. The example of SAS shows us exactly what can be reached if this matter is being addressed in a proper manner. All your investments, if they are wisely made, will be returned to you and will bring profit shortly. Just do care about the staff of your company. The rest can be improved, changed, or corrected.

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