FORTUNE magazine unveiled its annual rankings of the top workplaces in America this morning and, once again, NetApp found itself ranked in the top 10. Companies around the world understand that creating a vibrant workplace not only helps attract top talent, but also can serve as a differentiator in the market. NetApp 360 sat down with a few NetApp employees to hear about what makes NetApp a great place to work.
1. What’s the most important thing in your mind that makes a company a great place to work?
Sandy Wallace, Sales Representative: NetApp puts an extraordinary amount of effort when interviewing candidates to insure that all employees fit the “culture”. As well, there is a ton of emphasis placed on Leadership, Trust, Integrity, Teamwork, Synergy and “giving back”. We lead with our hearts but also with an urgency to “Get Things Done”. We are accountable and respectful all at the same time. I love it here.
Hassan Tahir, Technical Support Engineer: A culture of cooperation, collaboration and competition between the employees makes a company a great place to work. Enthusiastic and encouraging management that aligns employee’s individual goals with the company’s overall direction is another factor that I consider very important to make a company a great place to work.
Manjunath Mittha, Sr. Program Manager – Business Operations: NetApp provides an environment that encourages open lines of communication, visibility across the organization and most importantly a place where you can pursue one’s individual interests. Fostering an environment that encourages a common goal of doing the right thing for the customer and making them successful makes the essence of why NetApp is a great company to work for.
2. How important do you think culture is to the overall success of a company?
SW: The culture at NetApp is incredibly important. Last year, I was able to take my volunteer week to travel to Nepal on a Mission trip. I never felt the need to check in that week as I knew the company was behind me and trusted me to come back with full force to catch up and never miss a beat. I was so energized by giving back. NetApp is smart like a fox – we know that if you are passionate about a cause – you are probably passionate about your work.
HT: Culture plays a vital role in the success of a company. At NetApp, our culture creates commonalities between employees and brings them closer to work as a single team. Since management sits in open cubes with no doors or locks, it makes them available to the needs of their employees all of the time. I have never felt any hesitation to go and engage my peers, members from other teams or management when in need, and the culture at NetApp encourages this collaboration. This open culture is effective and efficient.
MM: Culture, being a core value, is directly proportional to how well each of us work towards a common goal – Making the customer successful. It’s driven from a desire to make a difference, in every little thing we do. I’ve been given the opportunity to attempt new things and influence the organization many times. It gives me a sense of “I belong here”.
3. Is there a particular moment or event that you either personally experienced or witnessed that exemplifies NetApp’s culture?
SW: When I attended the USPS sales kickoff meeting this year, we had a team building event where we built prosthetic hands for land mine victims. We learned team building skills while making a huge difference in the world. We were able to share our feelings and our aspirations as a team without feeling like we were exposing a weak side. This is a unique company and our culture is our competitive edge.
HT: I think the Friday Beer Bash is a wonderful example of NetApp culture. NetApp not only encourages us to work hard but also enjoy the company of those we work with. It is a perfect event to wind down at the end of the week and have a good time meeting fellow employees from all over NetApp campus. It brings everyone together where they can share their thoughts and get ready for the weekend ahead.
MM: There was a banner at the entrance of the building that I enter each day that said “NetApp saves lives”. It meant very little to me until I heard a story a while ago where NetApp technology helped save a young boy’s life – a moment that started off as pure agony to a family – to a moment where the work we do daily as a team that made a difference to them. That moment made me realize that it was more than just a job, it was being able to make a difference, one person at a time. The banner is long gone, but the purpose of why I am here and what I do is not.
4. Do you think NetApp’s culture has an impact on the people that you work with outside of the company like other vendors, customers, or partners? If so, how?
SW: Yes definitely. I find that our partners would rather work with NetApp than our competitors as we treat people differently. We are not all out for NetApp but are looking for a win-win.
HT: I work in Technical Support and my department is a customer facing business function. NetApp’s culture has a direct correlation with customer satisfaction when it comes to Technical Support. Usually, customers contact NetApp support when a NetApp product is either having issues or has failed. The technical complexities of NetApp products/solutions can easily make this a very tedious job but NetApp’s culture plays a key role in keeping the aura positive. The culture of collaboration enables engineers to resolve customer issues efficiently and effectively.
MM: Our culture impacts the communities that they are in. When I have walked into my kids’ school and told them I am willing to volunteer and am glad about the 5 day/yr paid volunteer benefit, other parents and teachers want to know more out my company and why such a benefit is provided. I’ve been able to be more intertwined with my kids’ life at school just because NetApp enables me to do so.
5. If you could describe NetApp’s culture to somebody using just one word, what would it be?
MM: Adaptable – With it comes opportunities to make great things happen.