Salesforce’s new hires are less productive, says CEO Benioff • The Register

Salesforce founder and soon-to-be sole CEO Marc Benioff says newcomers to the payroll are less productive, and he’s trying to get a better handle on the reasons for this by asking employees if the lack of office time is a contributing factor contributes to it.

In a message posted to the company’s Slack channel late last week, the billionaire questioned how his organization could increase the effectiveness of its recent hires, first revealed by CNBC.

“New employees (hired during the pandemic in 2021 and 2022) are particularly facing much lower productivity. Does this reflect our office policy? Let’s not build tribal knowledge with new hires without office culture,” Benioff asked.

“Aren’t our managers directly addressing productivity with their teams? Are we not investing enough time in our new employees? Are managers focusing enough time and energy on onboarding new hires and achieving productivity?”

He concluded with one final poser: “Is it too overwhelming to join Salesforce as a new hire?”

The CEO signed off saying he was “asking for a friend.”

According to a September Microsoft survey, the number of meetings users have held in Teams has increased 153 percent globally since the pandemic, but some CEOs still have productivity paranoia.

Earlier this year, Salesforce hoisted its flag to the hybrid work pole, warning that back-to-office mandates don’t work. Then, earlier this month, Salesforce called hundreds of employees back into the office. This followed a slowdown in the company’s sales growth.

Benioff, on a conference call to discuss those findings, said some roles would occasionally need to be done onsite, but the world of in-person work will not return to pre-pandemic norms.

Salesforce headcount grew from around 35,000 in 2019 to around 49,000 in 2020, to 56,606 in 2021 and to 73,000 this year.

Other tech companies also recruited heavily at the time and are now coming under pressure. Google, for example, added 37,000 employees this calendar year alone, and Meta has grown from 58,000 in 2019 to 87,000 in the third quarter of 2022.

Meta is laying off 13 percent, or 11,000 employees, and Google is under fire from a large institutional investor who wants management to make employees more productive and pay them less. Amazon deletes 10,000 people.

Salesforce has itself begun to reduce its workforce, cutting hundreds recently, but this was a fraction of its total workforce and appears to have been a decision to cut its underperforming salespeople.

The movement of senior executives at Salesforce is perhaps more dramatic, where the company has confirmed in recent weeks that chief strategy officer Gavin Patterson has left, as have Slack founder and CEO Stewart Butterworth, Tableau CEO Mark Nelson and Salesforce co- CEO Bret Taylor.

As sales slow, these exits will no doubt help ease the pressure on operating expenses. ® Salesforce’s new hires are less productive, says CEO Benioff • The Register

Rick Schindler

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