Each year, we’re tasked with identifying one company that epitomizes the ‘doing well by doing good’ philosophy upon which our organization was founded in 2002 to receive our industry’s highest honor: the ‘Golden Halo Award’.
While it may appear there are plenty of companies in the current sea of social do-gooders, the truth is that only a small handful truly rise to the top to fully integrate a social impact strategy into their business model in a way that meaningfully engages both customers and employees while simultaneously building the bottom line.
This year, I’m pleased to share that our honoree is Salesforce. Here’s what they’re doing right and what you can learn from their long standing and strategic example:
Incorporating A Foundational Value Of Giving Back.
Since its founding in 1999, the Salesforce philosophy has been about improving the world and giving back. In pioneering the 1-1-1 model, Salesforce contributed one percent of Salesforce’s equity, one percent of employee time and one percent of product back into the community, which gave rise to Salesforce.org, the social enterprise branch of the company. If your company wasn’t founded with a social mission in mind, it’s not too late to take a page from Salesforce’s value book and reassess your company’s foundational mission.
74% of employees say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact at work, according to Cone Communications’ Employee Engagement Study (more stats like this here).
Salesforce employees logged an impressive 800,000 volunteer hours in 2017 under the company’s generous program that grants all employees seven days of paid time off annually to causes they care about. As part of that model, Salesforce.org matches every employee’s personal donations up to $5,000 each year. The company also has a robust pro-bono system that matches employees to nonprofit Salesforce users to maximize their implementation (while also giving the employee information about how customers are using the product and additional hands-on experience). While many companies offer some form of employee volunteer program, Salesforce has gone above and beyond to truly engage employees in ways that are significant and personally meaningful to employees.
Going Internally To Ensure Equity
Salesforce pioneered a new model for corporate responsibility as one of the first companies in the U.S. to audit its payroll to ensure gender and racial pay equity, pledging to evaluate their workforce on an ongoing basis to ensure that employees performing similar work at the same level are paid consistently—and closing any pay gaps where they existed. Following the company’s second assessment in 2017, Salesforce spent approximately $3 million to address pay differences for 11% of employees. With increasing focus rightfully put on the issue of workplace equality, Salesforce is again ahead of the pack, putting significant and visible resources behind the concern.
Using Business As A Driver For Social Good
Outside of Salesforce proper is Salesforce.org: a self-sustaining social enterprise, powering the missions of 33,000 non-profits and higher education campuses. The ‘Power of Us’ program gives nonprofit organizations and education institutions access to Salesforce products and resources to help expand their impact, including 10 donated subscriptions and deep discounts on additional subscriptions, and Salesforce products and services. The revenue generated from Saleforce.org goes back into the community through strategic grants focused on education and workforce development, in what Salesforce.org refers to as “an endless circle of good”. While many companies create foundations to manage a one-way stream of dollars flowing from company to community, Salesforce has crafted a unique, self-sustaining model that uses a business strategy to generate dedicated dollars to power additional social impact programs.
For all these reasons, I’m thrilled that Salesforce is this year’s Golden Halo Winner and continues to provide significant leadership in the corporate responsibility space. Salesforce.org CEO Rob Acker will be accepting this prestigious industry award at this year’s Engage for Good conference in Chicago on May 23. Please join me in congratulating Salesforce!
David Hessekiel is Founder and President of Engage for Good (formerly Cause Marketing Forum) and Peer to Peer Professional Forum and author of Good Works!
Originally posted on Forbes.