We like to think we are pretty good at having fun here at Salesforce – most of the time for a really good reason. But a couple of weeks ago, on Bring Your Kids to Work Day, our littlest Ohana showed us how fun’s really done. From slime making to superheroes, yoga to karate, ballpits to balloon twisters, the extended Salesforce family turned the office into a giant playground filled with imaginative possibilities and creative opportunities.
I love seeing the toddlers weave their unsteady way around desks and chairs, making meeting rooms into mazes and staring in wonder at Astro, Einstein and friends. The slightly older kids are always thrilled to see where mum or dad works – their parents are still the biggest superheroes in their eyes – and even the teens let their guard down enough to have a laugh and of course enjoy the food on offer.
Some of these kids have attended enough Salesforce events that they know each other well – it was wonderful to see these kids reconnecting and getting to meet the newest and littlest additions to the teams.
My own children have declared they would love to work at Salesforce and they weren’t the only ones I heard on the day making plans to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Whether they do or not, hearing that enthusiasm for the kind of workplace Salesforce nurtures is music to our ears.
It’s also part of why we invite the kids into the office for the day – they see that work can be all kinds of things beyond the stereotype of a 9 to 5 job. It can be fun and playful, inclusive and diverse, innovative, challenging and inspiring, a healthy and balanced part of life, and it can be about giving back and contributing in a huge number of ways.
This day is all about that message, for our Ohana big and small, and it wouldn’t work if we didn’t live those values on the other 364 days of the year, and that our kids see the way employees are empowered to balance work with living our best lives outside the office.
This is not a workplace where you have to scuttle away, embarrassed to leave before 5pm to pick up your kids. I always feel proud to say when I’m leaving that I’m off to do the school pick-up or to cheer my kids on at their sporting events..
In fact, many of our employees spend their Volunteer Time Off (VTO) hours with family – whether that’s reading to kids at school or taking family to Cambodia to build houses together.
All those things are an extension of the Ohana and create a positive sense of what work means both to our children and to those in our team. As leaders, we need to be transparent about that balance and set an example for how it can be achieved.
After all, no one should miss their family’s milestones (or miss out on achieving any other goals outside work) for the sake of a job, and it’s not possible or sustainable to have a work life and a personal life entirely separate from each other. You’ve got one life. And a day like today really demonstrates that in a very vivid – and noisy! – way.
For companies trying to introduce this kind of approach and culture, a great way to start is by asking your employees what’s important to them. For people with families, that will often be flexibility around their kids. For others, it might be about having the time to exercise to achieve fitness goals, flexibility around a study schedule to earn a new qualification, the ability to work at home to see a new puppy settled in.
A dozen people may give a dozen different responses, but most can be sorted into one of a few buckets – each and every one of the examples above is related to flexibility. Whatever your employees’ goals, they should be empowered to be transparent about what’s important to their well being. Workplace culture is everyone’s business – each person is a steward of that culture. It isn’t owned by HR. So invite everyone to the table.
Bring Your Kids to Work Day at Salesforce is also a wonderful opportunity to see our core values at play. No two families are alike but every family – no matter how it’s made up and what it looks like – is equally treasured, and every member of the Ohana trusts in that. This respect for diversity feeds into our customer care. And the challenges associated with balancing our lives and making decisions about what to prioritise helps drive innovative ways to meet the same challenges faced by our customers.
Bring Your Kids to Work Day is so much more than a few activities, one day a year. It is a demonstration that our Ohana doesn’t begin and end at the front door to the office but embraces every aspect of our lives. It is a crazy, fun, chaotic, inspiring, moving and hilarious day that injects the office with the unique energy that kids (and a ball pit, face-painting and slime-making!) generate.
And it is a day of pride all round – in our workplace, in our children, and from our children in us. We get to be their biggest superheroes in the best playground. And the impact of that lasts much longer than a few hours.
Want to learn more about how to create the sort of workplace that wins awards for its culture? Take the Salesforce Ohana Culture module in Trailhead.