Inside Salesforce’s ‘digital Ohana’

Inside Salesforce’s ‘digital Ohana’

After a decade of climbing up the ranks of Fortune’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For,’ Salesforce has finally reached the top.

For the US cloud computing company, it’s about working with the right people and leveraging data and technology through a close collaboration between HR and IT.

On top of that, there’s a strong feeling of family at the company. This sentiment is backed by 94% of employees who say Salesforce is a great workplace.

There’s a not-so-secret formula to its success shared by Jennifer Johnston Di Loreto, senior director of global employer branding at Salesforce: employee engagement = culture + technology + data.

Culture: The Salesforce Ohana

Salesforce knew it wanted to be different when it engineered the concept of ‘Ohana’ – Hawaiian for family – as its inspiration and model for employee engagement.

“Salesforce has forged an unusual corporate culture from the beginning,” Forbes said in awarding the top spot on the annual list to the IT giant.

Forbes’ recognition highlighted the abundant financial and ‘psychic’ rewards at the tech company, from the US$5.5 million paid out in referral bonuses to the college tuition reimbursements; from supporting employees’ philanthropy projects to creating mindfulness rooms.

Salesforce’s Ohana-centered culture, however, isn’t simply after bonuses and Zen-inspired office layouts, but also a stress-free employee experience built around this culture.

Technology: Intranet on mobile

When the fast-growing company increased its employee base by 35% in 2016, there was a question of maintaining an inspired and efficient Ohana just as the company was scaling up.

The challenge led to the creation of employee-centered apps such as Concierge, a cloud-based intranet accessible via mobile to simplify the way information was delivered to employees.

“What if we could create a Q-and-A app whose entire goal was to predict what you wanted and then get out of the way and let you do your job?” asked Andy Bean, lead UI/UX designer for Concierge.

The app functions intuitively, much like a search engine yielding hundreds of articles and guides. It aims to replace the so-called Support Desk ‘black hole,’ which often misrouted tickets.

Concierge was designed through the collaboration of Salesforce’s HR and IT teams. HR had a deep understanding of the Salesforce employee experience, while IT was adept at leveraging proprietary and third-party infrastructure technology to enhance the experience.

Data: Evolving knowledge

Salesforce has its finger on the pulse of the Ohana through workforce analytics. Data sourced through the dashboard of its cloud products provide insights into the way employees are using their tools and interacting with customers.

Apart from improving customer relationships through analytics, the cloud company also uses data to chart employee growth and development.

“We look at their goal setting, feedback, and learning data to understand their skills and strengths, and we make smart recommendations for mentoring, learning, and career growth opportunities,” said Johnston Di Loreto.

Forbes noted how Salesforce “ferrets out strong performers” who have not been promoted in the past 18 months to set them on track for new career challenges.

For the company, the culture + technology + data formula has made a positive impact across the business, most especially in nurturing its Ohana.Best Workplaces


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