Behind Salesforce’s recipe for employee engagement success

A company culture built around the spirit of Ohana, which means “family” in Hawaiian, has been foundational to the global success of Salesforce

A company culture built around the spirit of Ohana, which means “family” in Hawaiian, has been foundational to the global success of Salesforce, according to Edweena Stratton, VP of employee success for Salesforce APAC.

“Ohana” represents the idea that families – related or chosen – are bound together, with its members feeling a sense of responsibility for one another, Stratton explained.

A demonstration of this is the importance that is placed on equality as a key value at Salesforce, she said.

“Equality drives every aspect of our talent selection, acquisition and retention strategy – it ensures we are building a diverse and talented workforce and while at the same time, building a workplace where people can be their true authentic selves,” she said.

Given competition for talent in Salesforce’s industry is highly competitive, Stratton said that company (which was the number one Best Place to Work in Australia in this year’s Great Place to Work survey) takes a holistic approach to talent management.

“We find this goes beyond offering employee ‘perks’ but rather offering potential employees and our current staff a work environment that focuses on customer success, innovation, equality, giving back and  teamwork,” she said.

Key to this is setting new employees up for success, according to Stratton, who said Salesforce has a comprehensive onboarding program that drives employee attachment and provides early enablement.

“Having a genuine interest in an employee’s development is something we focus on at Salesforce”

“For example, our new starters all head over to San Francisco to attend boot camp and get immersed in the Salesforce world,” she said.

“Having a genuine interest in an employee’s development is something we focus on at Salesforce.

“We encourage all our leaders to have great conversations with their people so that they know what their goals and aspirations are and can provide opportunities to support them.”

For its developers, quarterly career fairs are held where specialist teams share what they do and how they have developed in their roles and the business.

“It’s a great avenue for our developers to explore different opportunities, gain new skills and try new things,” said Stratton.

Salesforce’s director of employee success, Jeremy Ing, said the business also employs a unique model which tightly aligns the company’s leadership and strategy with individual employee’s goals.

This model, called “V2MOM” (vision, values, methods, obstacles and measures), is led from the top, with founder and CEO Marc Benioff and his executive team determining the renewed vision and corporate strategies for the year ahead.

“The process follows a back-and-forth, give-and-take course of development so that everyone has input. Giving every employee a voice in its development is critical to its success,” said Ing.

“Each employee’s V2MOM is unique to them but aligned with the company V2MOM.”

“High levels of trust, retention, internal promotion and transfer rates across the business are the end result of such initiatives”

The V2MOM clarifies direction for the business and focuses collective energy on desired outcomes, and since its inception in 1999, Ing said it has allowed employees to map out their business plan to achieve goals.

Leadership is also a strong focus internally for Salesforce, and all new managers attend manager programs and managing success programs to equip them with the skills, tools and resources for success, Ing said.

The company is currently in the process of rolling out “new manager journey builders”, which provide automated onboarding roadmaps, tips and tools to each new manager, to set leaders up for success in their first 90 days.

Salesforce has also defined “great” professional, manager and leader criteria, tools and processes that help each person identify their current strengths and ways to develop further.

To help support this, the company provides numerous leadership and manager programs, such as: coaching for success; leading for success; leading for growth; multipliers as leaders’ framework; and “killer communicator”.

“These programs provide ideas on ways to lead and engage at all levels, and how to stretch and build intelligence and best practice across the organisation,” said Ing.

“High levels of trust, retention, internal promotion and transfer rates across the business are the end result of such initiatives.”

These are measured as part of program evaluations, 360 surveys and general engagement surveys, which are conducted globally twice a year.

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