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Quarterly Equality Update: Driving Racial Equality and an Inclusive Employee Experience


This past year was powerful — it made us hold a mirror up to ourselves as an industry and a company in many ways. At Salesforce, we had the opportunity to reflect on the way we work, hire, engage, support, and advocate for one another in the workplace and beyond. We had courageous conversations on the challenges we faced around equality, wellbeing, and leadership. And, as the world began to call for more empathy and accountability, we moved to take action guided by our values. 

Internally, we began to redesign our talent processes with inclusion and equity at the center —  starting with hiring. Our new work from anywhere initiative empowered us to find talent in new places. Alongside our Racial Equality and Justice task force, we accelerated this change through diversity recruiters, bias training, and increasing access to Black, Indigenous, and Latinx candidates in the referral process. We saw immediate results and today we share an update on our progress. 

As we process the profound changes that have taken place over the past year, we also recognize the need to focus on experience and culture. As representation increases and we become more dispersed, we ask ourselves: how can we ensure that everyone is supported and thriving, especially our most marginalized communities? We know that Black women in particular are experiencing the workplace differently across industries and intentional focus is needed to drive real change within our company. 

We also continue to work to close the racial wealth gap, address systemic inequalities, influence policy change, and support organizations fighting for justice through our philanthropy, purchasing, and policy pillars. 

Here is a summary of our progress:


We are intentional about building an equitable workplace that looks like society and where everyone can succeed. 

In our last quarterly update, we shared hiring and overall representation across Underrepresented Minorities (URM) including a focus on Black and Latinx communities. With these initiatives in place — diversity recruiters, bias training, resources for all hiring managers and employees — we’ve seen continued growth. We have more than doubled the hiring of Black employees and continue to increase the overall representation of URM communities.  Below is the latest data, including the hiring and representation of women globally. 

Creating a workplace where everyone can thrive

In addition to increasing hiring and representation of underrepresented minorities (URM) in the U.S. and women globally, we remain committed to creating a culture where our employees are valued and have the best experience. The global pandemic has changed the way we work and we’ve pivoted some of our initiatives to ensure employees are supported and empowered to succeed at Salesforce. This includes:

  • Launched Success from Anywhere to unlock new growth opportunities, and help us democratize opportunities and access to the technology sector. This location-agnostic strategy offers employees more flexibility in how, when, and where they work. It also helps us evolve our talent strategy so we can broaden our search beyond traditional city centers and welcome untapped talent from new communities and geographies.
  • During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, we had conversations around the rising acts of violence against the Asian community and shared actions to combat ​​anti-Asian racism. 
  • During Pride month this past June, some of our LBGTQ+ employees shared the significance of being out at work and the impact this has on feeling empowered to be their authentic selves at work. 
  • Later in the month, we honored Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, by reflecting on the significance of Black freedom and we explored actionable ways all employees can honor the day year-round. 
  • In July, we highlighted the importance of creating access to the technology sector for the Indigenous community. We also hosted conversations for our employees on the differences between cultural appropriation versus cultural respect. 
  • Most recently, we hosted our fourth-annual racial equality summit, Representation Matters. The event garnered over 2.3 million viewers and featured leaders from Morgan Stanley, Deloitte, Backstage Capital, Blavity, TransTech Social Enterprises, We Are All Human, and more, where we learned from Black, Latinx, Indigenous and LGBTQ+ leaders on how they’re not just creating space, but changing the space for future generations to follow.  
  • We continued to scale our leadership development program for underrepresented minorities, along with our mentorship and sponsorship programs
  • We trained over 20,000 employees through the Interviewer Certification Program to mitigate against bias during the interview process. 

A focus on the Black women experience gap

One opportunity area that came into focus for us was how Black women experience the workplace. Given the impact of intersectionality, which describes how race, class, gender, and other individual characteristics “intersect” with one another and overlap, we recognize that our diverse communities experience the workplace differently and we need to make the experience equitable and inclusive for all. Informed by external research and by listening to our employees, we created a cross-functional group to devise a strategy, because when we solve for the most marginalized, we solve for all. We are focusing on four areas

  1. Create Access – Given this new way of working, we have to be more intentional about increasing access as we know that typically, Black women have less access to senior leadership and sponsorship. We’re focusing on this through:
  • Action:  We will launch a formal sponsorship program for Black women by the end of 2021 to create touch points to connect with leaders who can sponsor, advocate, and invest in their career growth.  

2. Embed Equality – Through enablement and accountability we will equip our leaders and organization with the tools they need to foster belonging, have courageous conversations, and address microaggressions. Based on external research and internal feedback from our employees, we identified the need to start with a focus on microaggressions in the workplace as a key learning opportunity. 

  • Action: We’ve launched an all-company mandatory training on how to identify and mitigate microaggressions in the workplace. This will be rolled out via a phased approach with the goal of training all leaders by the end of 2021. 

3. Develop Black Leaders — Representation matters at every level, especially in leadership roles where key decisions are made. We remain intentional about creating and scaling standardized processes, from how we hire and promote to how we develop talent at Salesforce.

  • Action: Evaluate Black women experience through our core talent systems and processes by the end of Q3 (October 2021). Create tailored development tool kits and opportunities for both Black women and managers to help advance their careers. 

4. Innovate the Promotion Process – Across every identity we recognize the need to continue to improve our promotion process so that it is fair, consistent, and inclusive for everyone. Research shows that Black women in particular often feel they have to outperform their peers to receive the same opportunities and are less likely to have access to career sponsors and that are often key  to advancing their careers.   

  • Action:  We’ll be focused on innovating our inclusive promotions process guided by employee insights by the end of 2021. We will continue to scale tailored leadership opportunities and work with managers on succession planning and internal mobility to better support career development. 

5. Accelerate Representation — We more than doubled our representation of Black women hires from 1.8% in July 2020, to 4% in July 2021. According to Lean In, 54% of Black women say they are often the “onlys” — the only, or one of the only Black people in the room at work. We are intentional about not only increasing representation but also focusing on the overall employee experience.

  • Action: We’re continuing to focus on our diversity recruiting efforts and Success from Anywhere model to reach more untapped talent. This builds upon our existing goal of doubling the U.S. representation of Black leaders (VP+) and increasing our representation of underrepresented minority (Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Multiracial) leaders by 50% by 2023.

In addition to our people-focused efforts, we continue to drive racial equality and justice in our communities at large. Here’s our progress across Philanthropy, Purchasing and Policy:


We support organizations driving real, long-term change for communities of color.

Goal: $200 million and 1 million volunteer hours committed to organizations driving racial equality and justice over the next five years.

Philanthropy progress includes:

  • Since June 2020, we have donated over $51 million to advance racial equality and justice. This includes both Salesforce and Tableau donations. This quarter, we were particularly focused on advancing vaccine confidence and equitable vaccine distribution through donations to organizations like the Chicago Community Trust, UCSF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in support of COVAX. In addition, we continue to support nonprofits that are advancing economic opportunity, promoting civic engagement, and driving systems change for communities of color.
  • We kicked off the sourcing and selection process for the first round of Catalyst Fund grantees, a new initiative to support smaller, younger nonprofits led by proximate, representative leaders with an emphasis on leaders of color.
  • We wrapped up our latest Impact Lab on Equity in Education, which brought together 15 experts representing community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), student success-oriented nonprofits, K-12 schools and research institutions alongside 20+ employee volunteers who have contributed ~1,000 hours to this effort. Together, this team is sharing ways to support Black and Latinx learners in getting to and through their first year of post-secondary education and will soon launch a chatbot to ease the stressors of applying for financial aid.
  • We delivered $900,000 in pro bono services supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 10: Reduce Inequalities. In addition, launched a new Racial Equality & Justice Impact Management Cohort focused on equipping racial equality-focused nonprofit organizations with the tools, insight, and support needed to scale and measure their impact.
  • We delivered over 164,000 racial equality and justice-related employee volunteer hours. In addition, Salesforce U.K. launched a new, yearlong mentorship program to increase pathways for Black university students seeking careers in tech. 
  • Tableau Foundation released the Do No Harm Guide in partnership with the Urban Institute, which helps people collect and present data through a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive lens. The Guide is part of the Tableau Foundation’s Racial Equity Data Hub, which shares insights from leading experts and empowers anyone to use data to advocate for change in their own communities. 


We empower minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs of color to close the racial wealth gap.

Goal: $100 million committed to Black-owned businesses and $100 million committed to underrepresented minority founders through Salesforce Ventures over the next three years.

Purchasing progress includes:

  • Launched our first cohort of the Black-Owned Business Mentor/Sponsor Program on July 22, 2021. The 12-month program will support the competitive success of 25 Black-owned businesses through mentorship, sponsorship, education, and other corporate network connections. Some mentees are SMB ecosystem partners or current suppliers, and most do not currently have relationships with Salesforce. Fifty Salesforce mentors and executive sponsors from across the company are participating in the program. We are also engaging customers, partners, and suppliers to educate the mentees on their supplier diversity initiatives and how to do business in their industry.
  • We supported a National Minority Supplier Development Council CRM License Initiative by offering Essentials Edition CRM licenses and support services for up to 150 small URM-owned businesses through a partnership with six regional (Washington D.C., Indianapolis, San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago) National Minority Supplier Development Council offices. The program kicked off in May, 2021. Sixty-eight minority and small businesses have taken advantage of the one-year program to date.
  • Our Accelerated Pay Program shortened payment lead time from 60 days to 15 days for small businesses. Launched in January 2021, more than 430 small business suppliers are currently taking advantage of the accelerated payment term.
  • In honor of National Black Business Month, Salesforce is hosting the National Black Business Month Block Party, on Wednesday, August 25. The virtual summit is a celebration of Black businesses across the country that seeks to invest in Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, to help close the wealth gap and advance economic equality. The event will provide resources for business owners and will feature insights from some of the most sought-after business leaders and influencers. 
  • As part of Salesforce Ventures, our investment arm focused on creating the world’s largest ecosystem of enterprise cloud companies, we trained over 100 individuals across 18 states and launched two funds with at least one limited partner investment from a BVI Fellow. 


We use our platforms to help drive systemic change at every level of society. 

Goal: Advocate for the protection of voting rights, police reform, and criminal justice reform.

Across the United States, most state legislatures adjourned by the end of May. However, Salesforce was able to still be active on police reform, criminal justice reform, and voting rights. Our latest Policy progress includes:

  • Salesforce Government Affairs continues to advocate for federal police reform by sharing our support with Members of Congress as the bi-partisan negotiations continue to work towards this much-needed legislation.
  • In Washington D.C., we advocated for passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA). We joined more than 160 other businesses on a coalition letter in support of the VRAA, have participated in panels discussing this topic in key districts, and are reaching out to Congressional offices.
  • In Texas, we supported eight police and criminal justice reform bills this legislative session. Five of these are headed to the Governor: HB 385 removes arbitrary barriers to probation; HB 569 eliminates financial barriers to re-entry; HB 1938 reduces costs of body camera data storage; HB 3712 provides enhanced training for law enforcement; and SB 68 which is a duty to intervene.
  • We also supported police reform bills in Washington state as highlighted on the Tableau Blog

Our ongoing commitment: Creating a workplace that reflects society

We are committed to driving systematic change in our workplace and communities through action, advocacy and continued dialogue. We will continue to share progress and areas of opportunity as we work to meet our goals and drive change. 

Note: Our next Equality update will be in early 2022 to align with our fiscal calendar. 

Learn more about our commitment to Equality and the Racial Equality and Justice Taskforce


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