Salesforce is a company that prides itself on its culture, and this is reflected and recognized in the business world in numerous ways. The company was recently ranked by Indeed.com as the best place to work in the U.S., while the company found itself at number eight on Fortune's best-companies to work for. The culture of Salesforce drives things like these rankings, and it's the Ohana concept that has made my experience as an intern as enjoyable and enriching as possible. Ohana is a Hawaiian belief adopted by Salesforce's CEO Marc Benioff that focuses on all components of a family being intertwined and bound with one another. To me, the thought of 'Ohana' represents togetherness and the idea that each individual is equal and deserves to be treated with the same amount of respect and kindness that one treats their own blood-related family. To put the concept in more simple terms, Salesforce's culture is one of unparalleled trust and equality that empowers its employees to excel and succeed both in the workplace and outside of it.
As an intern, though, I didn't think I was going to see this culture everyone raves about manifest itself. I had gone in with the mindset that I was the low man on the org chart and would have trouble receiving guidance from people on how to complete tasks and the projects that I was assigned to. It turned out that I couldn't have been more wrong in these beliefs about what my experience would be. I was treated on day one like someone who mattered and was valued by the company and organization. People were just as invested in the success of my projects as they were in their own personal projects, which was something that I was not expecting right out of the gate. I received overwhelming help in my onboarding process, assistance with acclimating to the technology that the company used, and friendship from people who weren't even in my group, yet wanted to make sure that I didn't feel uncomfortable or that I didn't belong on my first day. I juxtaposed my first day at Salesforce with my first day in college when I got home that night. The way I was treated and the level of help I received with Salesforce was much higher than my first day at school, a testament to the emphasis Salesforce employees place on how the success of each individual employee is important.
As my time continued with the company, I was able to see the Ohana culture in other facets of the business environment as well. I learned about Salesforce's 1-1-1 model, where Salesforce donates 1% of their time, product, and equity to non-profits. Before coming to Salesforce, I didn't recognize the heavy importance to give back to the community and wasn't heavily involved in efforts around giving back. My first week at Salesforce included a visit to an organization called Cradles To Crayons , where I helped sort toys that would be donated to local youth in Boston. The key thing that this event showed to me is that Salesforce backs up the things they say with actions, by providing their employees with ways to give back to the community. It infused within me the importance of giving back, and how I can change lives. I had heard extensively about the 1-1-1 model on my first day, yet seeing it in action made me appreciate what the company does for its neighboring communities even more.
I also saw Salesforce's central tenet of equality driving the happiness of its employees. The equality Salesforce strives to achieve is reached through the Ohana concept. Having a diverse and inclusive group helped me feel more comfortable within my role. I had immediate groups I could go to where I could champion causes that were important to me and be involved in the dialogue surrounding specific topics. The company makes it so that no group goes unrecognized, ensuring all employees feel that their causes are championed. I've been at both a high school and university that do an amazing job of inclusion via groups in a similar way that Salesforce does, yet neither does it quite as effectively or on such a wide-reaching scale as the cloud computing company. The inclusion is driven by the Ohana culture, in that no member of the Salesforce family has the things important to them overlooked in any way by the company.
When I first came to Salesforce, I expected the experience I would have at the company to be similar to my previous experiences with groups that championed themselves as having excellent culture. Salesforce is different from any other organization, though, when it comes to its business culture because everything that happens in the company is made with the Ohana in mind. All policies, any interactions, and communication between anybody that deals with Salesforce is done with the Ohana principle as a leading component of conversation. The Ohana concept creates a culture of inclusiveness and togetherness within Salesforce. As someone who was new to both the company and the industry, working at Salesforce was and still is the best thing for me. I'm with a community that cares for both my wellbeing and my success, and enables me to be a better person as I continue my journey from college student to full-time worker.
This piece is the fifth in a series that will be released titled “Re-Think: A Millennial's View On Current Technology”. It will highlight the viewpoints of a millennial who has spent the past three years interning at Salesforce, one of the fastest growing and most innovative technology companies in the world. The writer is a current rising senior at New York University's Manhattan campus.