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How We Encourage Wellbeing at Salesforce

By May 3, 2019

Employee giving and volunteering programs are just one component of creating a thriving corporate culture.

By Jody Kohner, SVP of Employee Engagement at Salesforce

I care deeply about wellbeing — so much so that I somewhat successfully banished my smartphone from my bedroom in order to get a better night’s sleep. (Truth be told, the phone has a nasty way of creeping back in from time to time…the struggle is real!) If I’ve learned anything in my quest for good health over the last few decades, it’s that wellbeing is a journey. We all have days where living-well comes easy, but we are also all susceptible to setbacks. So to win the long game, it’s important to have a lot of support along the way.

I am fortunate in my role at Salesforce to be able to think about wellbeing. A lot. As a company, we are constantly measuring, analyzing, and investing in programs that build a healthy culture. We are working hard to reduce friction for employees to make good, healthy choices for themselves and their families, inside and outside of work.

We do this not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it just makes good business sense! According to the Gallup Business Journal, employees who thrive both physically and mentally are 13% more likely to do excellent work, 41% more likely to have lower healthcare expenses, and 32% more likely to stay with a company. You can’t ignore those numbers!

In the spirit of inspiring more businesses to prioritize health as a focal point of their company culture, here are some of the initiatives we’ve rolled out in the last year.

Cultivating wellbeing can be fun! Employees chatting on an exercise break

  1. Create Fun, Interactive Content
    Last year, we launched Camp Pono, a virtual destination and series of ongoing campaigns to shine a light on the many ways Salesforce employees can keep their health and happiness top of mind. Two examples of this are Camp Pono Kitchen, where employees can find healthy cooking demos and easy recipe ideas for those days when dinner feels like a tall order, and Camp Pono Studio, where they can explore new ways to move (including desk stretches and yoga sessions). Creating a central location for wellbeing resources and information makes it easy for employees and team members to engage in wellbeing activities whenever, wherever.
  2. Encourage Engagement With Activities
    Another Camp Pono tactic is to create excitement through challenges, speakers, and giving back. Throughout the year, we created challenges for our employees across all of our pillars of wellbeing. The challenges, which varied from spreading kindness to drinking more water, were fun ways to build a sense of community and to encourage people to push themselves. We also have a budget line item dedicated to bringing in inspirational speakers: Bear Grylls, Alice Waters, Jillian Michaels, Dr. Matthew Walker, and others have all lured our employees away from their desks for an hour or so to “Press Pause” (the name of our speaker series) and focus on their personal health.
  3. Make It Easy to Give Back
    It wouldn’t be Salesforce if we didn’t incorporate giving back. And why not? Doing good feels good! A study by UnitedHealth Group revealed that 76% of people who volunteer said it made them feel healthier, and 94% said volunteering improved their mood. Furthermore, giving back lets employees find their purpose and elevates the company culture. In an internal study, Salesforce found that employees who reported higher levels of engagement on the employee survey also had on average the highest number of volunteering hours and were least likely to have zero volunteer hours. We created Philanthropy Cloud, a digital platform that enables everyday employees to become citizen philanthropists by giving to and volunteering with the causes they care about most.
  4. Hold Yourself Accountable
    At Salesforce, we use our annual V2MOM process to stay aligned as a company and to prioritize our work. During the process, we publish our Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measures for the year. Anybody within the company can see anyone else’s V2MOM, which also helps hold ourselves and others accountable for their goals. This year, we encouraged the whole company to incorporate wellbeing into their V2MOMs, which means publicly stating that they will prioritize their wellbeing and have included ways in which to measure their success.
  5. Provide Flexibility
    Wellbeing isn’t one-size-fits-all. You have to meet employees and their families wherever they are in their own personal journey. That’s why every Salesforce employee is eligible for a monthly $100 reimbursement for activities that help them, their spouse or domestic partner, and their children be well. The reimbursement encourages them to join a gym or take classes, unplug and grab a massage, bring their family to a cooking class, subscribe to a digital meditation program…there’s something for everyone! This reimbursement provides flexibility to easily experiment with new methods and keep wellbeing fresh and fun.
  6. Have a Mindful Office
    Even though we work in tech and build the world’s greatest CRM software (shameless plug), we still recognize the need to unplug. So over the years, we have made it a priority to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into our regular routines. Every year we have guided meditation sessions each day of our two big company off-sites. We provide quiet spaces in every building across the globe for employees to take a short mindfulness break to find some calm. These Mindfulness Zones offer daily automated, guided meditations three times per hour. Meditation and guided breathing can help alleviate stress, boost creativity, improve focus, and more.

I can’t over-stress (ba doom cha – couldn’t resist!) the power of a healthy workforce. You can’t expect your employees to take care of your customers if they aren’t first taking care of themselves.

Interested in learning more about our approach to wellbeing and the Camp Pono initiative? Learn more on Trailhead.

Want to engage employees with a giving back program? Learn more about Philanthropy Cloud here.


About the Author

Jody Kohner is the Senior Vice President of the Employee Engagement team at Salesforce. The span of her work ranges from managing the employer brand reputation and recruitment marketing initiatives to on-boarding new hires, internal communications, and all sorts of awesome programs designed to make employees love their job. Connect with her on Twitter at @JodyKohner.