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Member Spotlight: The Four Pillars that Salesforce Uses To Drive Systemic Change in Its Workforce and the Community

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) has become an emerging force in today’s society. While some strides have been made over the past few years in this space, the U.S. still has significant work to do to become a land of equal opportunity for all. This summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and the Covid-19 pandemic, put the social injustices and inequities that Black Americans face in the U.S. on a public stage, and communities are holding companies accountable to drive change and make sure their workforce reflects a diverse world. The tech industry, specifically, which has long struggled with diversity, is also taking action to increase diverse representation in our workplaces. Our companies have made commitments to elevate the discussion around DE&I and incorporate it into their services and offerings, hiring practices, and how they impact their communities.

This Black History Month, ITI would like to highlight Salesforce. Salesforce was awarded the 2020 ITI Diversity Equity and Inclusion Award for its commitment to advance DE&I through hiring and training, STEM education, policy development, and community engagement. This U.S.-based cloud company has implemented several internal and external initiatives to create a culture where everyone is truly seen, heard, valued, and empowered.

Internally, Salesforce assembled their Racial Equality and Justice Task Force to be a powerful platform to help drive systemic change in its workplace and community. This employee-led collaborative team is focused on taking action in four key areas: people, philanthropy, purchasing, and policy.

Under each pillar, Salesforce listed a strategic goal:

People: Double U.S representation of Black leaders and increase Underrepresented minorities (URM) employee representation by 50%.

In 2020, Salesforce brought Equality and Recruiting together to bring Equality to the entire employee lifecycle, starting from how the company attracts and recruits talent — early results of this action are promising.

In January 2020, Black candidates made up 3.9% of Salesforce hires vs. 7.2% in January 2021. Over the last 6 months, the company has seen accelerated growth in the hiring of Black candidates due to their commitment to not just talking about DE&I but taking action. To address racial equality in their workforce, Salesforce implemented several new recruiting programs including the development of their new diversity recruiting team and piloting their underrepresented minority referral program. In addition, they have been able to make immediate impact by:

  • regularly reviewing representation data to identify gaps and build strategies to ensure a fair and equitable hiring process;
  • launching intentional URM-focused programs to engage Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Multiracial talent;
  • broadening their training for recruiters and hiring managers to expand competency-based hiring by focusing on the skills needed to be successful in that role; and
  • and celebrating and highlighting the accomplishments of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Multiracial talent.

Philanthropy: Invest $200M and 1M volunteer hours in racial equality and justice over the next 5 years.

Salesforce is committed to creating a society where everyone has an equal chance at prosperity, resilience, and representation. Through the Salesforce Foundation, the company is examining its philanthropic policies and practices to address unconscious bias, ensure their dollars are funding both immediate and long-term solutions, and support more Black- and minority-led nonprofit organizations. Since June 2020, Salesforce has invested nearly $23 million in philanthropic dollars to advance racial equality and justice. Their recent contributions included donations to the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund Inc., HBCUforce, and the Urban Institute.

Purchasing: Commit $100M to Black-owned business and $100M to URM-founded companies by 2023

Salesforce recognizes investing in its communities is integral to advancing racial equality,

Instead of “counting spend,” they are “counting impact” by investing in suppliers, minority-owned businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. This includes offering support training for URM founders, and establishing processes to build a deeper URM pipeline.

Policy: Advocate for police reform, civic engagement, and economic empowerment policies

Salesforce is robustly advocating at the federal, state, and local levels of government for policies to address racial inequality. The company is staying true to its civic engagement goals by:

  • ensuring Salesforce technology isn’t used in a way that could cause harm or racial discrimination;
  • supporting environmental justice and corresponding policies that address the disproportionate impact they have on Black and other URM communities; and
  • advocating for economic empowerment policies that work to close the equity gap and other policies that provide Black and URM communities with business opportunities and workforce development.

The Salesforce government affairs team has already been active in state legislatures and city governments to advocate for meaningful police reforms and hate crimes laws that would benefit our communities at large.

Leading by their core values of trust, customer success, innovation, and equality, Salesforce stands with the Black community against racism, violence, hate, and for justice and equality for all.

To learn more about Salesforce’s equality initiatives, please visit: