This is the story of an incredible group of working moms who all started their families while achieving phenomenal success at Salesforce.
As SVP of Accounting, I manage Salesforce’s revenue recognition department, and on my team are six highly talented and tenured moms who have each had their first child at Salesforce, returned after maternity leave, received a promotion (or two!), and continue to drive incredible success for the business … all while putting their families first. This has been possible because these women have been supported by me, my manager Joe Allanson, our #SalesforceOhana culture, and our company parental benefits.
Here’s how we are making it work:
“My team is very understanding and allows me to work from home two or three days a week. Yes, sometimes I work after my kids go to bed, but this flexibility holds me accountable to exceeding expectations at work and still allows me to be the mom I want to be at home.” Jessica G., mom to Brady and Chase
“I will never forget the conversation I had with Joe before I left for maternity leave. He said having a family is incredibly rewarding, and that I could set the pace when I returned … and then I got promoted while I was on leave! I came back knowing I wouldn’t have to choose between a career and family, and for that I am so grateful.” Jessica F., mom to Chloe
“I support sales teams in Central or Eastern time zones, so I get to work early and leave early. This gives me a few extra hours to spend with my children in the evening. I also love being able to quickly approve items in Salesforce1 – it saves a lot of stress when important family matters come up and I can’t be in front of my laptop.” Lynn R., mom to Sophia and Luke
“After I had my daughter, I worked part-time for four months while my family moved to France. This flexibility made me able to support a brand-new region in a new country upon my immediate return from maternity leave. It’s incredible what happens when people believe in you … you find yourself doing amazing things.” Elena R., mom to Violett.
“There are times of year in which I need to provide more attention to work, and there are times when a family member needs extra attention. It is the flexibility to work outside the confines of a rigid, structured environment that makes it possible for me to juggle the responsibilities of each.” Carol P., mom to Christopher and Nicholas
“Alex and Joe have made it clear since day one that family comes first, and they have truly stood by this value. The amazing support of my management team and the #SalesforceOhana make it possible for me to find the balance.” Brook H. F., mom to Josie and Millie
While these amazing stories are common across my organization, all too often I hear about exceptionally talented women who leave companies to focus on their families. It happens for many reasons – jobs cutting into family time, managers not being flexible, women not feeling supported. But it should not be happening at all, and it’s up to us to make a change.
Whether you’re at Salesforce or another company, every manager must make it a priority to retain their top talent – the people who know our company, systems, products, and practices. Hiring and onboarding a new person is a massive undertaking. So it only makes sense to work with our talented moms and dads to help them balance work and family life, and keep them at the company.
Make yourself accessible. Let your employees know that you understand family is a top priority, and that they can reach out to you anytime to discuss how to balance work and home life. Establish a level of comfort and transparency. If an employee has a sick child and needs to miss an important meeting, they shouldn’t think twice about talking to you and figuring out a way to make it work.
Discuss flexible work arrangements. That could mean nontraditional work hours, a part-time position, or something else. Be creative and compromise. I have watched an extremely talented woman at Salesforce almost leave the company after having her second child, but our team established a schedule that worked for everyone: she was able to take the summer off to spend with her children, and then came back part-time. She was happy, and so was I.
Leverage technology. I believe employees do not have to be in the office from 9 to 5 to do an amazing job. Provide your employees with the option to work from home and dial in via webcam. Record every staff meeting so that if people can’t make it, they can watch later to stay in the loop. Use Chatter or another social network to foster a sense of community with teammates across the globe. This will enable your employees to work smarter and faster together, from anywhere.
Treat all employees equally. When you show understanding and flexibility when dealing with employees who have children, you run the risk of alienating those who don’t. Make sure everyone knows that parents do not receive preferential treatment. Think about the priorities of your other employees – do they have elderly parents, visiting relatives, a regular class or activity that they love? Give those equal weight.
Practice what you preach. The reason working moms and dads excel on our team is that we don’t just speak about being family friendly … we actually are, and we have the track record to prove it. There’s a level of trust. Encourage your employees to spend the afternoon at their child’s play, or dial into calls from home when needed, or log off email at night. If you consistently support your people, they will consistently support you and the business.
To find out more about life at Salesforce, visit salesforce.com/careers.