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How Salesforce and Canva Live Values of Equity and Inclusion

Hear from leaders at Salesforce and Canva on how their companies are living values of diversity, inclusion and equality, year-round.

Inclusive workplaces are good for employees and for business

Time and time again, research points to how diverse workplaces can improve productivity, retention and a boost to a company’s bottom line.

For example, one American study of 1,789 full-time employees across multiple industries found when employees felt like they belonged, there was a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk and a 75% reduction in sick days. 

There are also benefits from an innovation standpoint. One study of English workplaces found that businesses with culturally diverse leadership teams were more likely to develop new products when compared to those with homogeneous leadership teams. Meanwhile, a 2015 McKinsey report found that companies with more diverse management teams were 35% more likely to see financial returns above the industry mean. 

At Salesforce, one way we create this culture of community and inclusion is through our Equality Groups. These groups provide an important opportunity to build empathy, learn, and stand up for colleagues. 

Empowering employees to drive tangible impact

One such Equality Group is Outforce, a Global Diversity and Inclusion group with representation across the LGBTQI+ spectrum and allies who support those communities. 

From the Mardi Gras Parade to the Pride March on the Sydney Harbour Bridge — here are some of Outforce’s highlights from the past year.

As well as creating a community, the group sets goals. conducts internal reviews and creates partnerships with other organisations — including InterTech Australia, an organisation that represents LGBTQI+ communities in the tech industry. 

Recently, the Outforce team conducted comprehensive reviews of every benefit and policy at Salesforce. This included examining Salesforce’s parental leave and carer policies to make sure they accommodate all kinds of families. 

“These initiatives improve the benefit for everyone,” says Jacob Hkeik, Outforce’s Partnership Lead and the Head of APAC Sales Cloud Product Marketing at Salesforce. 

“For example, think of curb cuts at pedestrian crossings. These modifications make it easier for people using wheelchairs to get back on the curb. The amazing thing about curb cuts is they benefit the entire community too, such as parents pushing strollers and someone pushing a trolley — they can easily get back onto the footpath too.” 

Outforce’s work helps drive a culture of equality for the wider business, and this has been recognised — last year Salesforce achieved gold in the Australian Worker Equality Index and is consistently ranked as one of the best workplaces in Australia.

Equality Groups give our LGBTQI+ employees and allies the space to share our lived experiences, build awareness and empathy and give back to our communities

Karen Hendrickx
Director of Regional Success Architects | Outforce member

How Canva is working to build a more inclusive workplace

Canva is a fantastic example of these values in action, and its culture of diversity and belonging is driving real business benefits. The company receives 300,000 job applications a year and is consistently rated as a great place to work.

“True diversity takes work and continuous learning by every one of us. As a global team, we have focused on a cycle of listening, learning, setting goals, doing, reviewing to ensure our growing team is as inclusive as possible,” says Jennie Rogerson, Canva’s Global Head of People.

“We talk a lot about how it’s not on one or a few people to create an inclusive culture, and that each of us plays an important role in helping us become a true Celebration of Diversity.”

Surveys help us to hear directly from our team. Especially if they are succinct, not too frequent, and actions are taken quickly

Jennie Rogerson Head of People, Canva

Recently, the company created an Inclusive Language Guide that supports their team in learning, using human-first language and communicating with care.

Some of the other ways Canva is driving inclusivity is through inclusive hiring practices, onboarding, awareness and education, health and wellbeing, learning, as well as supporting parents and caregivers and the LGBTQI+ community.

Reflecting your values in your products and services 

Living your corporate values goes beyond internal policies. It’s also about how you show up in the marketplace. 

In addition to its impressive internal policies, Canva drives positive change through its Product Diversity Initiatives. One initiative, the Canva Represents Fund was designed to amplify creators and foster an authentic content library that represents and champions the wide range of human diversity. It was also recently the official Design Partner of Sydney WorldPride.

Salesforce has also acknowledged the need for better representation in design with a recent product release; new fields for gender identity and pronoun data in all Salesforce products.

The enhancements enable customers and their users to select, identify, and capture pronouns and gender identity. The new fields will provide Salesforce customers with easy, built-in pronoun and gender identity options, while also empowering each customer to tailor fields to best fit their unique needs. 

To create inclusive products, you need to involve impacted users and communities into the product design and development process.

Orlando Lugo
Product Inclusion Lead at Salesforce

“Using language and terminology that is affirming, people-centred, and inclusive is critical to obtaining accurate and reliable data — and creating better customer experiences,” says Orlando Lugo, Product Inclusion Lead at Salesforce. 

Looking to the future, Outforce is also collaborating with Salesforce’s Office of Ethical and Humane Use of Technology to support product teams on ethical AI principles, designing with inclusion in mind and creating best practice guidance on how to use gender-related data. 

These collaborations are crucial for driving innovation, says Lugo. 

“To create inclusive products, you need to involve impacted users and communities. Ensuring the LGBTQI+ community is authentically brought into these initiatives is key to creating better products for all users.”

Diversity and inclusion at work is all about the long-game

Business benefits aside, Hkeik believes one of the most important things about fostering diversity through ERGs like Outforce is that employees don’t have to hide their identities at work. 

“When employees feel like they have to hide a part of themselves, they’re locking away half of their potential,” says Hkeik. 

“The mental resources that could be going into your work or building relationships with your colleagues and customers instead get diverted into anxiety. 

Being able to express your true self at work relieves that anxiety. That acceptance means that all employees can feel included, supported and empowered to unlock that potential and do the best work of their lives.”  

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Salesforce Staff

The 360 Blog from Salesforce teaches readers how to improve work outcomes and professional relationships. Our content explores the mindset shifts, organizational hurdles, and people behind business evolution. We also cover the tactics, ethics, products, and thought leadership that make growth a meaningful and positive experience.

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