Making a company a great place to work isn’t primarily about offering golf lessons or similar perks to employees, says Tom Mendoza
, vice chairman of data management company Network Appliance (NetApp) and benefactor along with his wife Kathy of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.
“The reality is you have to have an employee base that thinks you are trying to build a great company, that you keep their interests in mind, that you reach out to them and involve them in decision making,” says Mendoza, a 1973 Notre Dame alumnus, during an interview with Fox News Channel. “At the end of the day, they feel that this is the place they want to spend their life and contribute.”
NetApp’s philosophy has earned them a No. 1 ranking in Fortune Magazine’s 2009 list of “100 Best Companies to Work For,” the seventh consecutive year that the company has landed in the top 50 and the third year in the top 15. The ranking is based on employee surveys and operations data.
The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company – which employs about 5,000 people in the United States and more than 2,800 in Europe, India and Asia – was lauded for a down-to-earth management ethos and employee benefits such as five paid days for volunteer work, $11,390 in adoption aid and autism coverage. Fortune also noted that NetApp has “gained market share during the slump, hasn't had layoffs, and has more than $2 billion in cash on hand to help it ride out the global financial crisis.”
“The recognition of NetApp as the best place to work in the U.S. is a testimony to our phenomenal company culture and highly collaborative work environment,” Mendoza says, adding. “It also reflects our commitment to creating an environment that fosters creativity, innovation, commitment to our customers’ success and individual leadership around the world.”
Tom and Kathy Mendoza joined NetApp in 1994 and have worked for the company in a number of positions. Tom formerly served as company president from 2000 to 2008, vice president of sales, North America; and vice president of sales and marketing. Kathy, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, has served as director of worldwide Internet sales and senior director of worldwide strategic operations.
In March 2000, the Mendozas announced a $35 million naming gift to Notre Dame’s College of Business Administration to enable the College to recruit top scholars, support existing faculty, initiate new programs, and increase links between Notre Dame students and faculty and high-tech companies in Silicon Valley.