The 2015 Best Places to Work for Millennials list reveals the workplaces where Millennials want to work. It also offers new insights into what it takes to recruit and retain top Millennial employees. If you haven’t seen the list, check it out now, especially if you’re a Millennial in the workforce! This would have not been possible without the help from our Thought Leadership sponsor, SAS. We wanted to learn more about SAS and their work with Millennials so that you can be in the know, too.
We recently got the chance to interview SAS Vice President of Human Resources Jenn Mann to give us an insider’s peek into the company that made the award possible.
CGK: Can you tell us about SAS in a few sentences?
SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and it is also the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. We help customers transform the world in unique ways—from reducing poverty and hunger to improving childhood cancer survival rates, from catching bad guys off the streets to reducing bank fraud. We do this all thanks to the highly creative minds of the employees at SAS.
CGK: What is something most people don’t know about SAS?
SAS’ roots are in education as its beginnings can be traced back to a project the founders worked on at North Carolina State University analyzing agricultural research data. Today, the SAS campus has a collegiate feel, with more than 20 buildings on over 900 beautifully landscaped and wooded acres adorned with art and sculptures.
Furthermore, it’s no surprise that SAS focuses its philanthropic activities on supporting STEM initiatives and ensuring that the next generation of computer innovators have the knowledge and skills to succeed.
CGK: Why did SAS sponsor this award and the research behind it?
We recognize that how people approach and engage in their work is changing. For this reason, we chose to be a part of this project because we recognize the importance of Millennial employees and the insights they bring. We are proud to support this national award.
SAS’ people are at the center of everything we do and we’re excited to unlock the potential of Millennial employees. The following are two programs in particular that SAS employs:
- SAS Academies: Three academy training programs in sales, technical enablement or technical support for recent graduates enthusiastic about transitioning into the real world of business. Candidates get paid to learn on the job! They receive in-depth learning, real-world problem solving and lots of mentoring.
- The Emerging Leaders Program: A program to develop the talent and strengths of young professionals at SAS. Participants expand their job experience, learn to be stewards of healthy living and develop personal leadership styles and skills.
CGK: Why is it important to employ more than one generation at SAS?
Just like companies wouldn’t employ only one type of person, it’s important to have all generations represented in the workplace because they bring the following:
- Diversity and interplay of ages, backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and thoughts
- New ideas
…all of which are important to our core value of staying innovative.
CGK: Where do you see the biggest differences among generations?
- Communication preferences and style: Most people over the age of 35 prefer to have a face-to-face conversation, while Millennials prefer texting, followed by email and social media. They’re very willing to share openly on social media, where the older generations do not have that comfort level.
- Career tenure: Millennials are the first generation that has never been expected to work for one company their entire lives. It’s normal for them to frequently change companies, whereas older generations may have stayed at one company for their entire career.
- Here’s one just for kicks: The older generation, mostly Baby Boomers and Traditionalists, typically still read the newspaper. Millennials often poke fun at them for doing this “old people” activity because they are more likely to consume news via social media, smart phone apps or other online outlets.
CGK: What is the biggest misconception about Millennial employees?
Millennials often get labeled as lazy or entitled, but at SAS, we don’t see that at all. We see that they are very passionate about getting to work on something they believe in and that they want to make a difference from day one. They may challenge the status quo or prefer to work differently than the “traditional” nine-to-fiver—e.g., they may come in later but may still be cranking through a project at 1 a.m.
CGK: Why should talented Millennials seek to build their career at SAS?
First, SAS employees believe in what they do. Whether it’s using our solutions to detect fraud or tracking infectious diseases, our technology touches the world every day. Our employees are given meaningful, impactful work, and they are proud of what they do.
Also, SAS has a very unique culture. We believe the way we live matters, both on and off the job. We give our employees the flexibility to make sure they bring their best self to work every day and are given ample opportunities to grow.
CGK: What is the most unexpected insight you’ve learned from your Millennial employees?
Millennials want the same thing everyone else wants: to feel respected and valued, to work on something valuable and challenging, and to be given the opportunity for growth and development. One thing that’s a little different is that they want more frequent feedback to help them soar to new heights.
Also, Millennials want to “do” (as in, work and be productive), but they also want to “do good” (as in, give back to their community). It’s important for them to give back through work with nonprofits and in other ways that benefit the community outside of SAS.
CGK: What is a critical strength or asset that Millennials bring to your workplace or the workforce in general?
Millennials bring a fresh perspective, new insights and new ways to get things done. They understand that social media matters in terms of connecting with customers, marketing and selling to customers and helping us stay relevant. Furthermore, they’re constantly challenging the status quo.
CGK: What do you think are the biggest lessons Millennials can learn from other generations?
Here are some thoughts directly from Millennials working at SAS:
- “Learn to love and master your craft. I’ve learned from my mentors and parents how important it is to master your craft. You need to be able to repeat it and explain it to others easily. No matter how great the end result, if you can’t explain the process, you’ll hit a plateau.”
- “Face-to-face communication shouldn’t be undervalued. Sure, text messages and social media are effective forms of communication, but it’s hard to match the impact and value of face-to-face communication.”
- “Listen, formulate and then act. Not the reverse. Understanding more of the story, situation and/or problem can elevate your creativity and success.”
- “Learn about the history/culture of organizations for perspective.”
- “Respect the knowledge and perspective that accompanies tenure on this planet.”
- “Loyalty. I was raised with the thought that someone remaining at a company for a long time was a sign of character. Not moving on to the next new shiny object isn’t the cool thing to do, but I still think it has its merits. Showing a commitment to a company/team/project gives other people a sense of comfort knowing you are there to really make a difference, not just always being a stepping stone.”
CGK: If you could sum up in one sentence why working for your company is a great idea, what would that sentence be?
One of our Millennial employees, Andrew Lockhart, Manager of WW Alliances and Product Marketing, said it best: SAS is the best place for interesting, impactful work in a social atmosphere focused on healthy living and flexibility for families.
CGK: Where can I go online to find information and apply to join the awesome team at SAS?
Go to SAS.com/Careers.