offers 5 keys to engagement News added by Benefits Pro on April 11, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

My Company

By Allen Greenberg

ORLANDO, Fla. – Process doesn’t interest Monika Fahlbusch. But human interactions do.

Fahlbusch, the senior vice president of global employee success at, says she spends as little time as possible on traditional HR issues such as onboarding. Instead, her energy is mostly focused on helping to drive culture at the 13,000-employee San Francisco-based company.

That culture helped land Salesforce among the top 10 on Fortune magazine’s ranking of the Best Companies to Work For this year. It was the sixth consecutive year the fast-growing firm has made the list.

Speaking Thursday at the Human Capital Summit and Expo, Fahlbusch shared five “plays” Salesforce uses to engage and inspire its employees and customers.

She said the underlying imperative she tries to promote is to become more human, less corporate.

“We can kill the soul of our companies by over-processing. As we grow, it’s critical to ask whether we are continuing to make these one-to-one connections. … (Employees are) really uninterested in corporate-speak,” she said.

Here, then, are the five ways to create a “connected culture,” Fahlbusch said.

1. Build connections in person and virtually. When Salesforce was smaller, this was easier. As it grew, it turned to technology to help make that happen. Using an application called Chatter, it invites every employee to its leadership team meetings, organized town halls with Q&As and conducts instant real-time polls. Chatter has helped the company cut meetings and emails by 25 percent, Fahlbusch said.

2. Build trust with radical transparency. Salesforce has a system called Airing of Grievances where employees can vent about whatever is on their minds, in a way that everyone can see and comment on. Fahlbusch said the topics raised by employees allowed her to identify issues management needed to address. Doing so allowed the company to say not only did it hear its employees’ complaints, but it actually implemented fixes.

3. Build your brand with stories. On this score, Fahlbusch said companies need to do all they can to help their employees share stories with their networks, to help spread the word about the company and its culture.

4. Build radical alignment. A shared vision for employees to align on is critical, Fahlbusch said. Salesforce’s system allows every employee to receive an alert whenever there’s an important development to communicate on goals, so the company’s cultural DNA can be shared constantly.

5. Build meaning with purpose beyond profit. For Salesforce, this has meant giving back to the community, in terms of volunteer hours and tens of millions grant money.

In the end, Fahlbusch said, she tries to focus on “happiness and humanity, not process.”

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