“We don’t have trouble either hiring good employees or retaining talented staff. The staff we have are happy, creative and productive. SAS always places highly on ‘Best Places to Work’ surveys [run by publications such as Fortune] both in Australia and around the world. When surveyed, 90 per cent of our Australian workforce and 100 per cent of our New Zealand workforce said SAS is a great place to work.”
SAS isn't resting on its laurels. It quizzes its workforce annually about what SAS should do next and incorporates this into its business planning process.
“It’s not solely about benefits but the gist of the survey is: ‘What should SAS look like in 12 months’ time?’” says Gregor. “The responses aren’t kept confidential by management; they’re broadcast throughout the organisation.
“At that point, departments put action plans in place to make sure SAS remains the kind of place our staff want to work at. So when business owners and managers ask about how to do what SAS does, my response is they should start by consulting with their staff about what they want the future to look like.”
Gregor, who’s worked for a range of organisations over the course of his career, believes the SAS approach is scalable. “One of my first jobs was working in distribution for PepsiCo with a different sort of workforce to the one at SAS,” he says.
“I’ll never forget a manager there telling me, ‘If you treat people with respect, show you trust them and share with them high quality information, that will be repaid in spades.’ That has since proven to be my experience.”