January 16, 2019
Davos 2019: The Role of Employers in the Post #MeToo Era
By Cindy Robbins, President and Chief People Officer
Creating a safe environment
In my role as Chief People Officer, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to make sure that we're creating a safe, constructive, and welcoming environment at Salesforce. Our goal is to foster an open dialogue and provide employees with the channels necessary to address concerns quickly and effectively.
For example, we use Chatter, our internal communications tool, which is visible to the entire company. It has an Airing of Grievances group where employees are encouraged to raise their concerns.
I also listen closely to various social media platforms – I read Glassdoor reviews everyday. This allows me to keep a pulse on employee sentiment and address areas for improvement in real-time. If employees prefer a more private channel, we use a secure, third-party hotline where they can report any concerns anonymously and confidentially.
It's critical to foster a safe environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up. Through transparency and swift action, companies can mitigate bad behavior and maintain a healthy culture where employees feel welcomed, heard and included.
Utilizing data to expose the gaps
Three years ago, Salesforce made a commitment to ensure equal pay for equal work. Since then, we've conducted three global equal pay assessments, which have resulted in the company spending nearly $9 million to address any unexplained differences in pay between men and women, as well as race and ethnicity in the US. We found – and fixed – this gap by looking at data we had never looked at before. It was a major “a-ha” moment in my career.
Today, I'm asking for data that I wouldn't have thought about in previous years. For example, we're not only asking the question how many women and people of color are in our organization, but how many are we hiring? How many are we promoting? How many are leaving the company – and where are they going?
We also look at the breakdown of merit across genders and race. If there are gaps, we address them with our leadership team. In fact, our executive team now reviews the diversity numbers of their respective organizations on a monthly basis.
Data tells a story, and it empowers business leaders to reward progress and address areas for improvement in hiring, attrition, promotions and more. This helps keep everyone accountable for the company's progress.
As we face new challenges across industries and new threats to equality – employers, CEOs and business leaders are responsible for looking at the impact within their four walls.
Take equal pay at Salesforce for example – that wouldn’t have been possible without the championing of our co-CEO, Marc Benioff. It's the tone from the top that shifts the culture within the company.
As business leaders, employees trust us with their careers, their pay, and their protection. We cannot let fear dictate behavior in the workplace, especially if it leads to the potential discrimination of some groups. This is an incredible responsibility that should not be taken lightly – your culture, and ultimately your business depends on it.