Salesforce... call us

26 May 2023

Like many organisations Saleforce is grappling with remote, hybrid work and how to find the best solution for their business and their people. You may be facing this challenge and many others of your own. Maybe you have even gone to the company message platform to share it, Salesforce's CEO did exactly that!

A Problem shared...

[Salesforce CEO] "Benioff openly complained in a companywide Slack memo that newly hired remote workers are not being productive." Here is his Slack message but re-imagined as a scoping call with me.

Benioff: “How do we increase the productivity of our employees at Salesforce?

Ben: "Can you explain a little more about where that issue has come to light?"

Benioff: "New employees (hired during the pandemic in 2021 & 2022) are especially facing much lower productivity. Is this a reflection of our office policy?

Ben: "What have you already tried regarding office policy during and since the pandemic?"

Benioff: "we introduced Success From Anywhere, providing employees with three new ways of working: Office-Flexible, Home-Based, and Office-Based. Now, we’re redefining how our teams work together with Flex Team Agreements. We’re empowering teams to decide how, when, and where they work — including how many days a week they come into the office and what kind of work they’ll continue to do at home. Teams can also decide how they communicate and what behaviors are most important to them. For instance, my team — Employee Success — has agreed to “No Meeting Fridays” and monthly Wellbeing days. We’ll also prioritize meeting in-person twice a year, as well as volunteer days and end-of-quarter celebrations to keep teams feeling connected.
It’s all about experimentation. We recently had our first “Async Week” where employees cancelled routine meetings to create space for more deep, focused work. Over 20,000 employees participated and 80% liked it. Moreover, 81% would like to repeat it quarterly. And we’re encouraging all employees to embrace flex behaviors like Focus Time and Setting Boundaries, to increase productivity and prioritize their wellbeing.
(Actually Brent Hyder PRESIDENT & CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER, Nov 2021

Ben: “Thanks for the context, so I hear that you have made adaptations and innovated and with some success and great feedback. So explain a little more about what you feel is not working with that approach now”

Benioff: “Are we not building tribal knowledge with new employees without an office culture? Are our managers not directly addressing productivity with their teams? Are we not investing enough time into our new employees? Do managers focus enough time and energy on onboarding new employees & achieving productivity? Is coming as a new employee to Salesforce too overwhelming? 

Ben: “Ok, that is a lot of open questions you have. I can definitely see a way forward. Are you looking to gather solutions from the wider team?”

Benioff: “I'm leaving this open-ended to get the broadest level of response.”

Ben: “That is great, we build our facilitated workshops to provide everyone with a voice and provide equity in those voices being heard. We can certainly build a series of workshops for you and the team. You could spend a lot of time and money throwing solutions at this, we can de-risk solutions by understanding the problem more clearly. The solutions to those questions will be in the collective creativity of your teams, we can help you find it more quickly.

I will leave you hanging as to whether he booked us…

Why is facilitation the right fit?

Those open questions are gold for a facilitator, we can reframe them into “How might we” challenges and then the workshop process we design can lead a team through a collaborative process to understand whether they are solving the right challenge, develop ideas together and answer those questions without spending a lot of money on solutions they didn’t need.

Reading about the companywide challenge direct from the CEO it gave us a great example of exactly the type of situation we help organisations with.

  • A sticky challenge with no simple answer
  • A challenge that is critical to the success of an organisation
  • A challenge that needs input from the wider team
  • At it's heart are people, real people and a human-centred approach is needed
  • The productivity is ultimately about happy motivated employees who feel valued and connected.

So, we wondered, what if Salesforce booked a call and work with us to find the most effective solutions to their big challenge....

Benioff's Slack message content is taken from this Fordes article

But there is much more to consider as we custom design a facilitated process for each situation...

A sticker on a wall says "Change is coming" in larger red letters on a black background. below in smaller letters "whether you like it or not". There are tares from the top right and bottom left corners where someone has tried to provide the sticker but only a small part comes away.

Change is the only constant

Looking back through Salesforce's own content reveals they are constantly adapting. For example, here is another extract from their chief people officer's blog from Nov 2021.

"Our employees are the architects of this strategy, and flexibility will be key going forward. It’s our responsibility as employers to empower our people to get the job done during the schedule that works best for them and their teams, and provide flexible options to help make them even more productive." Brent Hyder PRESIDENT & CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER

A scoping call can tell us what the client's current situation is and we can gather insights into what they have already tried. Here we can see attempts, as return to work was beginning, to provide flexibility. a year and a half on, the CEO's comments in Slack would suggest this isn't working as well anymore.

This helps us to design for an outcome that may not be a 'solution' but more geared towards approaches that provide the right ingredients for everyone to be productive. Often what the client thinks they need and what the process shows them they actually need can be different and a skilled facilitator is required to take the team on the journey to redefine challenges and make sure they are solving the right one.

What challenges are you, your team or community facing that don't have a simple solution, challenges you need to gether people together to understand better and challenges that could be expensive in terms of time and money if you don't pick the right approach?

We would be very delighted to talk them through with you and find a way forward... Book a call now, before we get too busy with Salesforce!

Enquire about a scoping call...

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Ben Rouse is the founder and head facilitator at Evolving Design, who help teams collaborate, problem solve and achieve their ambitious goals.

Ben worked as a teacher and trainer before moving into facilitation, bringing his expertise together to facilitate team experiences.