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It Feels Good.

HDS Recognized for its Culture of Leadership and One of America’s Best 100 Places to Work
By Asim Zaheer, senior vice president, worldwide marketing

It’s not often you get to work for and be a part of a great company whose values continue to earn global recognition. That’s why I am so excited and proud that HDS has won two of the most prestigious awards in the business community this week:
• FORTUNE’s “Best 100 Companies to Work For in 2013” for the second year, moving up 23 spots in the process to #63;
• Chief Executive’s“40 Best Companies for Leaders;” HDS ranks No. 7 under the continued leadership and innovation of CEO Jack Domme, moving into the top 10 from the No. 16 position in 2012 and No. 36 in 2011.

These accolades don’t just happen by chance. It takes a lot of hard work to create and build a corporate culture that lives up to these honors. And, it all starts at the top. Jack believes in empowering people and rewarding performance. He also believes in doing meaningful work that will make a positive impact on the community. In the end, it’s about raising the bar at HDS and holding one’s self to a higher standard.

One of the ways we are doing that is with a continued focus on innovation. Innovation has been an essential ingredient for positive change, for achieving tremendous financial success in the past year, for empowering our employees to do great work, and for helping our customers compete in challenging times.

Throughout all of this, information has been our fuel. We are constantly striving to produce new products and solutions that help our customers manage their growing mounds of information. We are also working hard at opening our lines of communication and being more transparent. This commitment to our customers and to our employees is part of building a winning team that people want to be part of.

To offer more perspective on the tenets of our success and winning culture, I want to share the spotlight with someone who has been a major champion of our success – Nancy Long, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at HDS. Following is a brief excerpt from our conversation:

We are hitting our stride cementing our position with consecutive placements on these very prestigious lists. What, in your opinion, makes HDS a great place to work?
When I came to HDS about seven years ago, one of the first and most prominent things I noticed about our culture was something that is very rare in today’s business environment. There was a sense of family and loyalty. Not a blind loyalty, but a sense of alignment and commitment toward achieving a bigger goal for all of us.

In both good times and challenging times, it is important for a global organization such as ours to effectively communicate a clear vision and values, which is what inspires people. This feeds our sense of pride and camaraderie. We are an organization that is willing to do what it takes. We hunker down together. We celebrate together. This culture of commitment and loyalty is what makes HDS the company it is today, and in my opinion, has been a secret until now.

How do you think HDS arrived at this approach as a company? How did we get there?
You noted it starts at the top with Jack and it does. Beyond Jack, our entire executive leadership team is committed to transparency. This involves constant communication to our employees about what we are doing as a company, and why we are doing it. Our words have to align with our actions, and that needs to stay consistent. And, we have built trust because we do what we say; that creates a winning team. Furthermore, we will change and grow as the industry and our customer needs do, and we will always turn to our employees to be part of that change. That in itself is pretty empowering, don’t you think?

How has HDS maintained this winning corporate culture as a subsidiary of our parent, Hitachi, Ltd.?

We are all very proud to be part of Hitachi. If you think about it, our founding principles from 1910 haven’t changed much. These principles, which have coined the Hitachi Spirit, focus on empowering people and treating them with respect. We are also a company that is mindful of our commitment to the community. This is in our DNA. And, as we work to deliver on social innovation with Hitachi, we will leverage each other’s strengths to help us move forward and make an impact in a host of industries that positively touch people’s lives. The power of that is huge. Our employees are very engaged and excited to be a part of this, and it’s a big differentiator for us.

HDS is now ranked among brands like Google, Wegmans Food Markets, Dreamworks and Zappos. What are some commonalities we share with these organizations?
To be a great organization, your employees have to have pride and feel as though they have the opportunity to succeed. All companies do things that are unique to their culture, whether that be creating a unique workplace environment or inspiring employees to get involved.

Our employees are very involved and many lead charitable causes of all kinds. One example in Santa Clara that makes us unique and employees enjoy is the Dog Days of Summer. We have a pet fair, raffles, vendors who specialize in animal health and wellness and employees bring their dogs to work for the day. There’s even a talent show. All proceeds from the event are donated to local animal charities and it is always a big success.

While we are a sizeable organization, we are still small and nimble enough to allow our employees to bring new and creative ideas to the table, and we help and support their efforts to bring these initiatives forward.

How do honors like these help HDS achieve its business goals?
Innovation is about bringing a new idea to life. Customers look to us for these great ideas and they want to work with a company that not only has good solutions, but also, a company that treats its employees well. Our people enjoy what they do and this feeds our success.

From a talent perspective, we also rely on the power of a reputational brand. And, these awards are helping us to cultivate and recruit strong talent across the globe. We want to attract, develop and retain the best people, and we are doing that.

You know, Jack always says, “Stay humble and hungry to avoid both.” To me, receiving these honors shows how deeply committed we all are to doing everything we can to ensure the employment experience people have at HDS is an excellent one. We spend so much time in the work environment, we as leaders should be good stewards of our employees’ time and provide them with the most rewarding experience we can.

What’s on the horizon to continue to keep HDS on the cutting edge as a great place to work in 2013?
Just because we have been recognized on these lists doesn’t mean we are finished. We are all living in a challenging global economic environment, and I would argue that communication and innovation will be even more vital this year than ever before.

In HR, we are working with leadership to ensure we have the organizational capability to continue to win in the market and be a great place to win. We are constantly looking for new ways to push the envelope to do new and different things that make our employees say “wow.”Our employees have made us say “wow” with this great win, and I couldn’t be more proud to be here.

Indeed, many of us feel the same way. Thank you to all of the employees that make HDS not only a great place to work, but also a place where we all have opportunities to grow and share in our successes together. It feels good.

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Asim Zaheer

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