SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring SAS CEO Jim Goodnight.
When a company relies on the minds of a creative workforce as its main source of capital, it is the CEO’s responsibility to eliminate everyday distractions and stressors, says Jim Goodnight, CEO of software company SAS. He notes that while stresses such as deadlines are “good stress,” there are many other stressors that can be distracting to employees who are responsible for a company’s creative capital.
When he helped found SAS in 1976 as one of the first “pure knowledge companies,” he recognized that all the company’s products come out of employees’ ideas and that his employees are the most important asset at SAS. To help alleviate stressors that might distract his workers and to build a creative workforce, SAS offers services like daycare, health care, on-campus dry cleaning services, on-campus medical facilities and recreational facilities. Workers are encouraged to exercise and maintain healthy lifestyles, as well as attend seminars that cover topics such as healthy eating and raising children, Goodnight says.
He advises that employees who make up a creative workforce should be treated like they make a difference to a company, and providing perks like those at SAS is one way to do that. “I often say that 95% of my assets drive out of the front gate every night, and it’s my job to make sure they come back the next day,” Goodnight says.