Today, more than 150,000 customers trust Salesforce to drive sales, service, marketing, and more. The company’s success is measured by its customers’ successes: putting customers first is Salesforce’s mission. And behind that mission is a company that places the highest premium on its employees and on its core values.At Salesforce, employee equality is a core value. The company has taken action to advance equality across four key areas: equal rights, equal education, equal opportunity, and equal pay. Recently, Salesforce executives shared the company’s equal pay journey in a special 60 Minutes segment on CBS. Salesforce Chairman & CEO Marc Benioff and Chief People Officer Cindy Robbins talked to 60 Minutes journalist Leslie Stahl and discussed Salesforce’s ongoing commitment to auditing employee pay to determine if gaps exist, and closing those gaps when they are identified.
Unequal pay between men and women is a persistent problem in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a woman made 60 cents for every dollar made by a man in 1960. Forty years later, in 2000, that pay gap had been narrowed by just a dime. And it has taken nearly two decades more to shave another dime off the gap. Today, women still make 20% less on average than their male counterparts.
Salesforce is a huge company – 30,000 employees, $10 billion in annual revenue – and it was just ranked by Fortune as the number one best place to work among big companies. One of the reasons Salesforce is considered such a great place to work is that founder and CEO Marc Benioff has emphasized philanthropy and social responsibility. He pays employees to give their time to local schools and charities, and Salesforce has donated more than $180 million to non-profits.
Benioff was incredulous when Cindy Robbins, who runs his Human Resources department, came to him in 2015 to discuss pay practices at Salesforce. When Robbins told Benioff the company might have a problem with unequal pay, Benioff didn’t believe her. Says Benioff, “I said it’s impossible because we have a great culture here. We’re a ‘best place to work.’ And we don’t do that kind of thing. We don’t play shenanigans paying people– paying people unequally. It’s unheard of. It’s crazy.”
Benioff had already made promoting and retaining women a priority at Salesforce. But Robbins says he’d never ordered an audit to make sure men and women were being paid equally. Says Robbins, “I suspected there was some level of disparity because we’ve never really had this as part of our pay philosophy or as our pay culture.”
Benioff told Robbins to conduct the audit to prove that she was wrong. Instead, the audit revealed that Salesforce did indeed have a persistent pay gap between women and men doing the same job. It was widespread throughout the whole company: in every division, in every department, and in every location. As a result, Salesforce made adjustments to gender pay inequality and more than 10% of the women at Salesforce got bigger paychecks. Over the last few years, Salesforce has spent more than $6 million in auditing pay practices and is committed to continuously auditing their practices to look for bias and disparity. Salesforce has also gone further than pay parity and is looking at gender parity in the senior leadership of the company. Currently, 20% of Salesforce’s leadership is women and the company is working to increase that percentage dramatically.
Benioff acknowledges that many CEOs remain resistant to looking at these issues. He says, “I believe as a CEO I can show other CEOs how to create a great culture in their company. You can’t be a great CEO and say you’re not committed to gender equality today.” Salesforce customers have the comfort and confidence in knowing the company adheres to its core values. Behind its exceptional customer experience, Salesforce is committed to providing equity in opportunity and pay for all its employees, a commitment that transcends across all their values.
As the CEO of Sifer Consulting, a local Salesforce Register Partner, I am so excited to represent the Salesforce organization and its product suite. The ability to implement Salesforce product solutions to small and midsize local business allows me the opportunity to represent a company that I admire as much for its business practices as their effective solutions.