A simple expression of gratitude for a job well done is a big part of the NetApp culture, says Mr Day. PHOTO: TED CHEN
FOR three years in a row, NetApp has been named a “Great Place To Work” in Singapore.
This has not only cemented the tech giant’s reputation as a good employer, but also means the multinational company remains on track in maintaining a happy workforce.
Take for example, its flexible work culture, which allows each employee to create a personalised schedule.
Mr Kris Day, NetApp’s Asean senior regional director, says: “We do not want our teams to feel restricted by a nine-to-five schedule, so our policies are designed to foster creativity and innovation that ultimately help employees feel they are given the opportunity to create a work schedule that allows them to achieve and grow in their role in the way that works best for them.”
Creating a great company to work for goes beyond the standard remuneration and rewards, but these elements cannot be overlooked, says Mr Day. Showing appreciation is an integral part of NetApp’s work culture.
He adds: “We have forged a climate of appreciation by recognising good work, values and any extra effort.
“Even a simple ‘Thank you’ for a job well done is a big part of the NetApp culture and the most genuine form of appreciation that employees can give to one another.”
The company regularly recognises staff contributions with honours such as the Spot Award that acknowledges exceptional performance above the call of duty, and the peer-nominated Living Our Values Award that endorses inspiring teams or individuals who demonstrate NetApp values.
NetApp also has a platform, Catch Someone Doing Something Right, where employees can be recognised by anyone in the organisation via an e-card.
There are also regional and international accolades, such as Recognition at APAC All Hands, in which employees whose work has boosted the company’s bottom line are given the spotlight at townhall meetings to share their inspirational success stories; as well as NetApp Club, a global programme that rewards high-performing staff with an all-expenses-paid trip to an international resort facility.
NetApp began as a start-up in 1992 with 50 employees and celebrated its listing on the stock exchange in 1995. Today, it is a multinational company with 10,600 employees in over 50 countries, with 180,000 storage systems installed in over 150 countries worldwide.
No doubt, its work culture has evolved over the years. But to Mr Day, what remains the same is that everyone at NetApp understands it is a shared journey and that their individual success is the company’s triumph, and vice versa.
He says: “This is a result of the cohesiveness and trust NetApp has created through its flat organisational hierarchy and open community. Our people are empowered to actively engage in organisational-level decision-making processes, and can freely approach their senior managers for help or to make suggestions.”
When NetApp hires, it looks for candidates who are not just technically skilled and creative, but also those whose principles are in sync with the company’s ethos — trust, integrity and teamwork.
To boost millennials’ desire to create the “big idea and make it sing”, NetApp offers them the opportunity to innovate in a successful company with sufficient funds, in a culture that listens to new ideas.
Senior leaders also recognise that NetApp’s continued ability to innovate directly correlates to getting ideas from people of differing ethnicities, genders, ages and sexual orientations.
“In a culture known for open collaboration, everyone’s opinion counts, and that makes for more successful business outcomes,” says Mr Day.
Though the nature of the business is the constant, rapid technological developments and disruption, NetApp ensures its people are well-equipped through NetApp University (NetAppU), a continuous learning platform with more than 1,200 formal programmes that cover specific skill sets, general competencies and leadership development.
Some employees based in Singapore have attended programmes at NetAppU’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, in the United States and gained global exposure.
NetApp’s Worldwide Field Operations Academy, an educational initiative part of NetAppU, aims to provide a solid foundation of technical and soft skills for fresh graduates to enter the business confidently.
The Asia-Pacific region will have 12 graduates next year, and 30 in 2019.
Singapore is actively participating in the programme to drive greater talent generation in the tech industry, says Mr Day. Four of the 2018 graduates will come from Singapore.