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Flexibility Is Key: Inside Best Places to Work Winner Salesforce

Posted by Dominique Fluker

Content Marketing Manager, Editorial

Last Updated January 27, 2021
|8 min read

In 2020, many companies had to rethink their operations, products, and services all due to COVID-19, Salesforce included. The global cloud-based software company that provides customer relationship management services was challenged to think of ways to not only prioritize employee health and well-being but also support their customers through the crisis. In response, Salesforce donated more than $30M to combat the effects of the virus and help their surrounding communities. They also pivoted to create a new technology solution for their clients called Work.com in an effort to help the public and private sector respond to the pandemic. Last year, Salesforce further proved their commitment to their communities and the world with their response to COVID-19. For them, 2020 was about living out their values, finding new ways to support their employees, customers, and communities in the face of economic uncertainty. 

“We’ve had to rethink everything — from our products to our policies to philanthropy. We’ve prioritized employee health and wellbeing, guided our customers through crisis, and donated more than $30M to fight the virus and its effects on our communities,” says, Brent Hyder, President, Chief People Officer at Salesforce. 

Salesforce also focused on raising awareness for racial injustice. The company believes  their workforce should reflect current society and prioritizes fostering a company culture where everyone feels seen, heard and valued. To respond to the unique challenges their employees were facing with both the pandemic and systemic racism, Salesforce assembled a Racial Equality and Justice task force, with the intention of driving action in their four key areas: People, Philanthropy, Purchasing and Policy. They believe that their employees are their most essential partner and the power of working closely with employee resources groups and allies across Salesforce to drive change in their business and society more broadly. Salesforce continues to prove why they are a Best Place to Work with winning this accolade for an 11th time.  

For Salesforce, being voted a 2021 Best Place to Work (#17, 4.4 rating) is the confirmation they deserve for putting their employees and communities first, especially during challenging times. We caught up with Hyder to delve deeper into Salesforce’s values, their investments in their employees and how they were able to navigate the murky waters of a global pandemic and racial injustices. 

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Glassdoor: Congratulations on your win for being a Best Place to Work! What steps did your company take within the last year that may have led to this recognition?

Brent Hyder: The past year has been one of the most challenging in recent history. We’ve had to rethink everything — from our products to our policies to philanthropy. We’ve prioritized employee health and wellbeing, guided our customers through crisis, and donated more than $30M to fight the virus and its effects on our communities.

Our entire company pivoted to create a new technology solution, called Work.com, to help the public and private sector respond to the pandemic - whether it be schools that want to return students safely to campus or healthcare organizations managing vaccine distribution.

And in order to better understand the needs of our global workforce — many of whom faced extreme adversity in 2020 — we introduced new wellbeing surveys, which have helped us make data-driven decisions to better support our workforce in this new environment. The findings of these surveys have led to real change such as additional leave for parents, new time off opportunities, resources for employees to get their home offices set up and more.

This year was about living our values, and finding new ways to support our employees, customers and communities in the face of unprecedented economic and social disruption.

Glassdoor: What is your company doing to build and nurture the company culture? Have any strategies changed during the pandemic?

 Brent Hyder: As the world changed this year, so did the way we work. We’ve had to find new ways to connect and lead.

Leadership today requires much more than driving results and productivity — it means keeping company culture alive and serving as a lifeline to employees as they navigate the challenges of remote work. In fact, 75 percent of our employees cite their manager as their number one most valued source of information. So we’ve offered new trainings and resources to help people leaders manage new responsibilities and keep our culture alive.

We also haven’t forgotten to bring the fun. Whether it’s our talent show “Salesforce Has Talent“, our global Fitness Calendar or a reimagined bring-your-kid-to-work day, called "Salesforce Adventurers Club", we’ve worked hard to find creative ways to bring people together virtually.

Glassdoor: How have you encouraged employee engagement and retention amid COVID-19?

Brent Hyder: Flexibility is one of the most important ways we can engage and retain talent. This has been made especially true amid the pandemic when many employees were faced with new challenges like homeschooling children when schools closed or caring for sick family members.

We want to provide flexible options to help employees maintain productivity while preventing burnout. During the pandemic, we empowered every leader to implement ways to help employees find balance, which resulted in designated days off, no meeting days each week, reimbursements for lunches and dinners, and other wellbeing initiatives across the company.

We know employees will continue to need flexibility and support this year and we’re constantly exploring new ways to deepen our support for employees and their families.

Glassdoor: Many job seekers leverage the Best Places to Work award to help jumpstart their job search. What are some benefits and offerings that make Salesforce worthy of top talent?

Brent Hyder: The number one reason that people work at Salesforce is our culture. When I first joined the company in 2019, I could immediately see why Salesforce has earned top spots in lists like Glassdoor and others. And it's not about ping pong tables and snacks — it's about meaningful work, purpose, and belonging, which we cultivate through transparency in our business processes, our 1-1-1 philanthropic model, and initiatives on wellbeing and equality.

Glassdoor: Given COVID-19, what are you doing this year to prioritize your employees' health and well-being?

Brent Hyder: Employers took on a new level of responsibility to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees over the past year. Mental health has come to the forefront, and is an issue every employer needs to prioritize.

Through our wellbeing surveys, we were finding that the majority of our employees reported increased mental health issues. We created a task force early on into the pandemic to determine how we move forward as a company, and how we can best support our employees. Through the taskforce and data from our employee surveys, we rolled out new wellbeing programs and policies, including a half-hour weekly broadcast called B-Well Together, featuring experts like Larry Brilliant and David Agus; a meditation app available for all employees; a new global benefit program to help employees and their families strengthen their psychological and emotional health; and new time off strategies.

We’ll continue to listen, learn and find ways to help our employees stay healthy and happy into the new year.

Glassdoor: Why is 2021, the perfect time to join your company?

Brent Hyder: Adversity teaches you a lot about a company. In a year of historic social and economic disruption, I’m proud that Salesforce has risen to the challenge – showing up for our customers, our communities and each other in incredible ways. Now more than ever, we are living our values and looking for people who share our passion for doing good.

Glassdoor: What do you do to engender a sense of belonging at your company?

Brent Hyder: It’s important that our workplace reflects society, and creates a culture where everyone feels seen, heard, valued, and empowered to succeed. 2020 brought systemic racism, violence and inequality into sharp focus, and made it clear that we all have much more work to do to make our friends, colleagues and community members feel safe and valued.

To help us respond to the challenges our employees are facing with urgency and care, we assembled a Racial Equality and Justice task force last year. This task force, composed of leaders and employees of all levels, is helping us drive action in four key areas: People, Philanthropy, Purchasing and Policy.

Our employees are our most essential partner in this effort and we continue to work closely with employee resources groups and allies across Salesforce to drive change in our business and society more broadly.

Glassdoor: How do you ensure there are pathways for career growth for your people?

Brent Hyder: Talent development is something we care deeply about— in fact, we have an entire team dedicated to it! We provide development tools and resources for employees to cultivate their career path, professional development opportunities, and leadership trainings — from our managers to top executives.

Over the past year in particular, we’ve introduced individual development plans for employees to set long-term goals, instituted quarterly check-ins to keep managers and employees connected, and provided new training and resources to help managers learn to lead their teams remotely.

We also encourage employees to advance their career and learn new skills with Trailhead, our online learning platform. Over the last 6 months, 6,000 employees have achieved Trailhead Ranger status – the highest level of achievement on the platform.

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