Celebrating our Culture of Giving Back as We Open Salesforce Tower

By Jamie Olsen | May 22, 2018 | Grants and Philanthropy, Philanthropy Cloud, Volunteering

5 tips for Engaging Employees as your Company Grows

Announcing the Grand Opening of the Salesforce TowerToday we celebrate the Grand Opening of the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco alongside 5,000 Salesforce employees and members of our Bay Area community. Giving back has always been a core part of the Salesforce culture, and you see that come to life during today’s Grand Opening festivities. Throughout Salesforce’s downtown San Francisco campus, employees have the opportunity to support some of our longstanding partners and grantees, including Hamilton Families, United Way, and Oakland and San Francisco Unified School Districts.

Employee engagement through volunteering

Keeping our growing employee base engaged in the needs of our local community can be challenging. We’ve discovered five ways to boost employee engagement during times of high growth:

1. Tell the larger story.

Bringing employees together for hands-on activities is only a part of the Salesforce giving back experience. Telling the larger story helps encourage employees to develop a greater connection to the organization’s mission and to the community at large. For example, at our Grand Opening celebration we’ll connect the Hamilton Families Kit Build activity to the overarching issue of homelessness throughout the Bay Area. Our employees will connect to the major issue areas that homeless families face by building toiletry kits, back-to-school backpacks, and new mom diaper bags that will then be distributed to Hamilton Families’ clients.

2. Be responsive to community needs vs. company needs.

Staying connected to the needs of your community is key, especially during times of high company growth. It’s a proven way to ensure that giving-back opportunities stay relevant and impactful. We are doing this today with the Tower Opening by supporting our city’s homeless population.

Another great example is our Circle the Schools program. Piloted in the Bay Area five years ago, our employees have now circled 83 schools around the world. At the start of the partnership and each subsequent school year, our employees sit down with school leadership to determine what the school’s greatest needs are and how they can best provide support. This includes everything from coding clubs to career panels, beautification efforts to fundraisers, and much more!

Employee engagement through giving and volunteering
Students from local partner schools visit Salesforce to showcase their Age of Makers club projects at the annual Maker Faire.

3. Provide a variety of opportunities for employees.

Technology based employee giving and volunteering

Employees in Japan participate in a mapathon volunteer project

In a company with 30,000 employees and a wide range of interests, offering a variety of volunteer opportunities leads to more employees discovering their philanthropic passion and getting more involved in that area. Employees get 7 days of Volunteer Time Off (VTO) per year to volunteer in their community, and they can attend company-organized volunteer events or create their own and recruit colleagues to join.

One way we did this recently was by providing both in-person and remotely based volunteer opportunities to engage global employees. We also encourage employees to find ways to integrate CSR with day to day business, such as volunteering with a customer as an idea for a team building activity or offsite.

4. Use technology to keep employees engaged.

We “drink our own champagne” by using a number of Salesforce products to manage our programs, and Marketing Cloud is the latest addition. We are running a Citizen Philanthropist journey this year that connects with employees at various volunteering milestones throughout the year and provides resources about how to be an informed volunteer, donor, and community member. We are also excited about the launch of Salesforce.org Philanthropy Cloud and the great potential it has to transform corporate and citizen philanthropy.

Employee engagement and STEM education come together in a Salesforce employee volunteering event
Students showcase their Age of Makers club projects at the annual Maker Faire with Salesforce employees

5. Engage employees with a strong brand.

A great way to keep employees engaged is to have a strong and relatable brand. At Salesforce, our Future Ready program highlights our two key areas of philanthropic efforts: education and workforce development. Our employees are passionate about helping to prepare youth and young adults for the jobs of tomorrow, and this passion is represented across our philanthropic model.

As we celebrate the historic opening of the Salesforce Tower, we dedicate ourselves to focusing on these five best practices for making Salesforce employees a committed and powerful force for change in the Bay Area and around the world.