The Strength of NetApp’s Culture: Gwen McDonald on NetApp’s Third Consecutive #3 Ranking on the “World’s Best Multinational Workplaces” List by Great Place to Work

NetApp 360 spoke with Gwen McDonald, executive vice president of Human Resources for NetApp, to hear her thoughts about why corporate culture is so essential to NetApp’s long-term success.


Can you tell us what this ranking means to NetApp? 

We are honored and excited to be on this prestigious list for the third consecutive year.  Our employees are the inspiration and the heart behind our thriving culture and I want to congratulate and thank them. Their dedication to our culture allows us to achieve incredible results, and their creativity and passion fuel remarkable success for our customers and partners.


The 25 multinational companies on this list represent over 3.7 million employees in 39 countries.* This award is a culmination of all of NetApp’s Great Place to Work rankings around the world. This year we expanded the number of countries in which we participated in the Great Place to Work survey, including the addition of Greater China, where we achieved a #1 ranking. 


We continue to participate in these surveys in order to measure our culture against that of the best. Culture is one of NetApp’s biggest competitive differentiators and we want to ensure that it stays strong and adapts as the company grows and changes. Culture is not static; it is always evolving. I see this recognition as a validation of our success in ensuring that our culture continues to promote pride, inspiration, and positive business outcomes in all of our offices around the globe.


What are some of the highlights you’d like to share with us that make the NetApp culture unique?

What distinguishes NetApp culture is the commitment from the leadership to cultivate an open environment in which employee input is valued and individuals are able to make a real impact on the business. Employees are respected at all levels and are given the tools to succeed. They are inspired by a shared vision and work together across the globe to achieve amazing results for our customers, partners, and communities.


We believe in recognizing employees who go above and beyond in their efforts to support NetApp. Our internal Living Our Values awards are a great example of this and of NetApp’s culture in action. Every year, employees nominate their peers for doing the extraordinary in their daily roles and for achieving amazing results. These awards are just one of the many ways we celebrate our employees’ dedication and commitment to NetApp.


How do you differentiate perks from a culture that delivers real impact and matters to employees?

Our company culture is all about creating an environment in which employees are happy to come to work and really feel their contributions are meaningful. Not only does our technology make a real difference in people’s lives, but the individuals from the top down live the company values and support each other. This results in a culture that drives business success while also making it a fulfilling experience to work here. While we do have terrific perks, we focus on those areas that employees tell us are important to them, like our Volunteer Time Off program in which employees receive five paid work days to volunteer within their communities. We want to hire passionate employees and, more often than not, that passion extends beyond the office. We want to support that by encouraging employees to give back to their communities in any way they choose.


How does culture impact customers and partners?

We strongly believe that engaged, passionate employees lead directly to business success for our customers, our partners, and for NetApp.  Our employees give us their best every day and that commitment can be felt by our customers. Besides our technology, our dynamic culture is one of the main reasons customers enjoy doing business with NetApp. You will often hear our CEO, Tom Georgens, say that some of his proudest moments are when customers and partners tell him that it feels different doing business with NetApp. That’s a direct result of our culture.


*2013 World's Best Multinational Workplaces © 2013 Great Place to Work® Institute, Inc. All Rights Reserved.