Salesforce, the US tech company responsible for one of the world’s most popular CRM platforms, has earned more than 80 awards for its workplace culture. Its team has more than tripled in size in the past five years. Employer brand metrics may be infamously elusive, but these numbers paint a clear picture: Salesforce is doing something right.
What makes a company an exceptionally good place to work? Chrissy Thornhill, Salesforce’s Global Senior Manager of Employer Brand and Recruitment, has identified a few of the characteristics that have helped its employer brand thrive.
The environment at Salesforce isn’t a happy accident or convenient byproduct. “We are super intentional about our culture,” Thornhill says. “We write it down. We prioritize it. We build programs around it. We measure it. We constantly innovate on it.”
Hiring enough top-tier talent to keep pace with a growing tech company is a constant challenge for Thornhill’s team. To keep their recruitment strategy in line with the company’s vision, they turn to Salesforce’s values: trust, customer success, innovation, and equality.
They also resist complacency. “We’re constantly reassessing how we recruit, who we recruit, and if we’re on the cutting edge,” Thornhill says.
Salesforce’s headquarters sit in the US, but it operates global offices on six continents. An innocuous piece of social media content may not strike the same tone from one region to the next. The past nine months, Thornhill says, have driven that fact home.
“Being a US-based company, you get so immersed in what’s happening in your own world socially that you don’t understand the impact of other things that are happening around the world,” she says. Back in February, when a colleague in Japan suggested Salesforce adapt the tone and imagery it was using on its Jobs social channels, the US was just beginning to confront the gravity of COVID-19. Now, Thornhill says, they’re especially sensitive to details like images of people in groups, celebratory emojis, and other subtle signifiers of the company’s connection to the global mood.
Workplace equity not only impacts employees who’ve already joined the team, but also those still in their recruitment journey. It’s why Salesforce made Tony Prophet its Chief Equality and Recruiting Officer, who works closely with Thornhill’s team.
“It’s really helped guide our global recruiting initiatives with an inclusive lens at every single step of the recruitment process,” she says. “I think it’s what it takes to move the needle in hiring diverse talent.”
The team also understands that creating a more inclusive workplace is a learning process. Thornhill turned to Trailhead, Salesforce’s learning platform, and its free resources on cultivating equality to deepen her understanding of inclusive marketing practices.
Thornhill’s team promises candidates big things during the recruitment process. Then, they hold themselves accountable to delivering.
That accountability process involves collaborating with other departments, ensuring the investment in candidates doesn’t drop off post-hiring. “Before someone is ever an employee at Salesforce,” Thornhill says, “we work alongside that employee engagement team and employee success team to make sure we’re actually delivering on those marketing promises and brand promises that we made in the beginning.”
Sometimes, the success of the Salesforce employer brand team lies in what they don’t do. Rather than spreading their small team thinly across as many efforts as possible, they’re choosy about where they invest their time.
Yes, Thornhill says, you may have the budget to be present on every platform. “But it’s also very time-consuming to keep all of these brand profiles and marketing channels current,” she reminds us. “You don’t have to do everything.”
Twitter, for example, can be a labor-intensive channel for a brand that doesn’t produce a constant stream of new content. Rather than struggling to keep your company’s Twitter account as active as its LinkedIn or Instagram accounts, Thornhill suggests using something like a branded hashtag to collect employee- and user-generated content. This also nurtures employee advocacy and a desire to engage in employer brand efforts without draining the resources of the employer brand team.
These traits have kept Thornhill at Salesforce as its employer brand team has doubled. If her own enthusiasm for her workplace is any indicator, that growth is just getting started: “It’s been quite the journey, and I don’t think it’s going to let up any time soon.”
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