At Salesforce, we are committed to building a world where everyone has equal rights, equal access to education, equal pay for equal work, and an equal opportunity to succeed.
We are on a journey and there is much work to be done, but we are committed to ensuring that Salesforce is a place that truly welcomes all.
As we often say, we believe that businesses are platforms for change — and so are the people who work there. At Salesforce, we consider all 30,000+ of our employees to be on one “Team Equality. We are building a culture of allies where every employee is empowered to ask others about their journey, listen to, show up, and speak up for one another.
Together we can create a more equal workplace for all.
There’s a great saying: “People go where they are invited but they stay where they are welcome.” Everybody wants to feel like they belong, especially in the workplace. When we feel we have a family in our co-workers, it can transform the way we work.
There are few things more powerful than feeling a true sense of belonging. We define belonging as feeling included, supported, valued, and empowered. In a recent Salesforce Research study, we found that employees who feel a sense of belonging at their company are 5.3x more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
Unfortunately, there can be some folks who don’t feel this sense of belonging in the workplace. Underrepresented groups often voice feeling like “the only” in their companies, which can lead to feeling isolated and marginalized.
A 2014 HRC study showed that one-fifth of LGBTQ workers reported looking for a job specifically because the environment wasn’t accepting of LGBTQ identities; close to one in 10 (9%) left a job for the same reason.
In today’s competitive job climate, companies that provide a sense of belonging to all of their employees — regardless of race, gender identity, ability, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin — will attract and retain the best people.
How do we ensure that everybody feels they belong? Equality allies are a huge piece. An ally is someone who stands up and supports a group or individual with which they don’t personally identify. When we build a community of allies we empower our employees to be equality champions, help ensure that nobody feels like “the only,” and cultivate a workplace where every single person feels they belong.
The first time I heard and truly understood the term ally was when I visited my son’s college campus. There, in his LGBTQ resource center, he handed me a badge that said simply, “Ally.” In that moment I was hit with the profound responsibility of being his ally. By accepting this pin I was publicly committing to an unwavering advocacy for the LGBTQ community.
Over the past the year, as we began to encourage our Salesforce employees to be allies, many began to ask us “how?”. We worked to distill allyship into four simple steps — ask, listen, show up, and speak up.
No matter where someone is on their ally journey, we are confident that if everyone practices these behaviors in their day-to-day interactions, eventually the culture will start to change for the better.
During my time at Salesforce I’ve been honored to witness some deeply inspiring moments of allyship, one being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Last January was the first time our company participated in the annual march in our headquartered city, San Francisco. In 2017 about 100 people showed up to the march — mostly Black. Just one year later, after encouraging our employees to be allies, over 1,000 people showed up to the march — many not Black.
Imagine being a Black employee, coming into work the next day, and seeing the 1,000 people who showed up for you at the march. What an amazing feeling to know that you have a community at work who unequivocally supports your identity and is willing to stand up as allies for your rights.
The notion of being an Ally doesn’t always mean that you always agree — but it does mean that you always stand beside one another when it’s needed. There is immense power in showing up and speaking up for your colleagues.
That Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march event was organized by BOLDforce, our company’s Black Employee Resource Group. Employee Resource Groups are at the center of our commitment to Equality. These groups create a sense of belonging by building community for underrepresented groups and engaging allies to stand beside them. At Salesforce, we have ten Employee Resource Groups (or Ohana Groups, as we call them). All employees are welcome to join any group and we are very proud to say almost 15,000 people at Salesforce — close to 50% of our employee community — have chosen to do so.
Outforce is our Ohana Group for our LGBTQ community. This year we launched an Outforce chapter in Hyderabad, India and marched in the local Pride parade for the first time. Before that day, not one person in the office was out. But after seeing so many of their fellow employees show up — one person came out. And in that moment, that person was free.
We remember that when we stand for one community, we have a responsibility to stand for all communities. Nobody is equal until all of us are equal. We all have the power to create meaningful change — everyone can be an equality ally and together, we can create a better world for all.
Learn more about how to be an Equality Ally.