Off the back of KPMG’s recent HR Pathfinders research, UNLEASH caught up with workplace culture expert Linda Aiello, Executive Vice President of Employee Success at Salesforce to get her insights into how to make it all work.
‘Building back better’ is a refrain often heard as we move forward post-pandemic. How can HR take the lead on this?
Have empathy. It’s been a difficult 18 months for everyone. Companies that lead with empathy will attract and retain talent better. We’ve worked hard to build this muscle of empathy as we’ve all been going through this collective experience.
We took the time to check in on one another and really mean it. We shared openly and had a peek into each other’s lives in a way that we may not have before.
The key is to keep this habit going forward. The reality is that we all have something going on all the time – but those things may just feel unique to each individual.
Continue to check in on your people – and know that even at the end of the pandemic – we are all still going through something every day.
Embrace flexibility. Most white collar workers switched to remote work last year and collectively we learned that we can do it. At Salesforce, we’re stronger than ever. We believe the future of work is flexible.
We will still go into the office, but that will be intentional — because we want to connect as a team – for training, team offsites or fun! By not being tethered to an office, we can give our employees more flexibility and help them strike a work/life balance that works for them.
What can businesses do to foster a mentality of resilience, acceptance of change, and positivity in uncertain times?
Communication is so crucial. At the start of the pandemic, we held weekly all hands calls for the entire company. Employees were craving that connection and a weekly touchpoint with our executive team. The all hands calls proved so impactful that we’re still doing them 18 months in and will continue to do so.
While it’s critical for employees to hear from executive leadership, we’ve also found that the most trusted source of information is an individual’s manager. We have a big focus on empowering and enabling our managers to be this source of truth for their teams.
We’re prioritizing wellness. While remote work comes with so many benefits, people are also burned out after such a challenging time. We’ve put many programs in place to address it – monthly wellness days, Camp B–Well, mental health training and awareness for managers.
This focus is paying off and we’re seeing a decrease of burnout for our employees. Additionally, we are keenly aware of the importance of in person gatherings and bringing people together safely and with purpose.
Does a globalised remote workforce make building a people-focused culture harder, with less face-to-face contact? If not, what are your tips to make the working culture you build authentic and successful?
The future of work for Salesforce is flexible. We believe that our employees can be successful from anywhere. But we adamantly believe that face-to-face contact is still important. It needs to be intentional.
We encourage our leaders where / when it’s safe locally to get together in small groups in a safe way. We hosted an in-person Dreamforce this week for a small group of Trailblazers and it was magical. The joy people felt being around each other was palpable.