back to article Salesforce's new hires are less productive, says CEO Benioff

Salesforce founder and soon-to-be sole CEO Marc Benioff says newbies on the payroll are being less productive and he is trying to get a better handle on why this might be, asking staff if the lack of office time is a contributing factor. In a message posted on the corporate Slack channel at the end of last week, as revealed …

  1. ravenviz Silver badge

    Maybe productivity/life balance is the new work/life balance.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Maybe new employees need some time to get up to speed? Maybe experience is worth something?

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Both good answers. ^^

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Marc it's because your product suite is a sprawling mess of barely-integrated acquisitions supported by one of the most cutthroat, hard-to-navigate channel and partner landscapes in history, and all your key executive and sales talent have fucked off for pastures new as growth has slowed.

    Look a bit closer to home. Ask why everyone uses Salesforce but everyone hates using Salesforce, not whether it must be your employees that are wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Too much time spent animating cartoon avatars….. too little time fixing the shit functionality.

      Lightning Experience .. step forward as exhibit A..

      1. ShadowDragon8685

        You cannot throw animators at programming and expect good results. Now, it may be a better idea to hire more programmers and UX people instead, but what's done is done, if you already have the animators, you might as well use them.

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Sounding rather like a micro-manager

    See title.

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Pay

    If someone isn't productive, likely they are not paid enough to be productive.

    If I have to worry about how am I going to pay the bills or whether I will be able to afford a holiday or that house repair that has been due for ages, then that will eat into my brain "processing power".

    If WFH does not increase productivity, then maybe after saving on the train tickets and lunches, the workers are still being short.

    Maybe they can't afford to live in a place big enough to support WFH?

    I mean I would still take working in the kitchen or utility room over going to office, but you know what I mean.

    edit: just checked at their website what kind of pay they offer, but they seem to be only showing the pay ranges where it is required by law (e.g. for jobs in New York). It means that their pay packages are probably not something to write home about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pay

      >It means that their pay packages are probably not something to write home about.

      Salesforce are in the top tier in compensation terms. Not right at the very top - they're not throwing cash at people like netflix or roblox or databricks, but certainly nobody there is looking at their TC and dreaming of working at Amazon one day.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Pay

        Are they?

        The ranges shown for the US states are nothing fancy and my guess is for the UK are lower than that.

    2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      Re: Pay

      -- If someone isn't productive, likely they are not paid enough to be productive. --

      Much as I dislike quoting wikipedia here's some light reading for you

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_X_and_Theory_Y

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

      and then again maybe, just maybe there are some jobs that are better carried out in a group session (and no I don't mean Teams)

      Lets think of sales. The pipeline starts with a wadge of cold calling and if you've ever done that you'll know how demotivating getting NO after NO is. It helps to have fellow sufferers in eyeshot.

      --Maybe they can't afford to live in a place big enough to support WFH?

      I mean I would still take working in the kitchen or utility room over going to office, but you know what I mean.--

      OK so you hate commuting, and probably your fellow man/woman/whatever.

    3. Friendly Neighbourhood Coder Dan

      Re: Pay

      "If someone isn't productive, likely they are not paid enough to be productive."

      Or maybe they have to deal with a clunky completely non standard ( not for the better ) environment infested by point and click "technology" that makes you waste hours to fix some text in an HTML page for customer self service. Trying to build a chat bot, which basically requires a few strings and a few if statements is created using a UI spaghetti graph that makes you wonder if you really are awake or having a terrifying nightmare.

      No real debug, no real sql, no real javascript, no real nothing...

      The whole system is a scam to lock in customers, some of which might fall for the sunk cost fallacy and be scammed a bit longer.

      I have been doing that for a whole year - as much as I adore my colleagues and the company I work for, I can't put myself through this for much longer.

  5. ElRegioLPL

    The best way to get your new employees to improve is by publicly outing them all as being slow, inefficient & unproductive

    I believe very recently someone else tried a similar tactic which resulted in 70% of their staff leaving and they're getting abused on their own platform, every day

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Indeed, and ...

      They have polled their own platform asking whether they should stand down and the platform has said yes.

    2. Fred Daggy Silver badge
      Facepalm

      I wonder what the results would be if they thoroughly and thoughtfully told the management to "fuck right off". Blaming new hires is a great way to get them motivated and sends a big signal to any potential new hire - eg "not in a million years".

      Going out on a limb here, I think the reason that productivity is down is (gasps from the crowd, envelope being opened) "incompetent management".

      1. Snowy Silver badge

        I agree if getting the "job done" is great management (who then are rewarded for it) then not getting the job done is also down to the management.

        They should not be allowed to reap the rewards of the hob going well and not have to take the pain when it is not going well.

      2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        -- I wonder what the results would be if they thoroughly and thoughtfully told the management to "fuck right off". --

        Absolutely brilliant when their next employer asks for a reference!

        --Going out on a limb here, I think the reason that productivity is down is (gasps from the crowd, envelope being opened) "incompetent management".--

        Have you noticed the world financial situation?

        1. Snowy Silver badge
          Facepalm

          I would agree with you if it not for the management saying that the new people (mostly WFH) where the problem rather than "the world financial situation" being the problem.

    3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      Do you think that might just have had something to do with them being removed from the payroll?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe under performing management (include #1) should be "volunteered" for the first "Mars mission" or whatever the next great project is.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Documentation and training

    They're both things, but why do that when you can just shove people together in an office and make the new guy or gal to go around and pester people until they get an answer thanks to random chance.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Documentation and training

      This. Almost all of my jobs over the last 10 years (contract/temp) have had NO training and NO documentation.

      And they expect, what? Fuck 'em. These idiots are killing their own companies.

  7. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Holmes

    So hire twice as many employees

    Seriously. Hire 2x the employees needed as remote employees, and then weed out the dogs.

    Of course, the pay grade for remote employees will be based on their geographic location. If an employee wants to live in BackwaterTown, they get paid the prevailing wages for a tech job in that area. They do not get paid the prevailing wages for the location of SFDC's corporate offices (all expensive areas).

    SFDC should have no problem making this math work when the entire costs of employing headcount is considered. Office space, urban & metro taxes, etc all play a part. Plus they have to pay outrageous salaries simply because that is the cost of living in that area.

    So they hire 2x the employees. Within a year, they have weeded out 50% of the unproductive ones. Now they have a fully remote workforce at half the price. This really is a no-brainer to reduce headcount costs if management can figure it out.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. John H Woods Silver badge

    "Lower productivity"

    No metric is supplied.

    As I like to KISS I'm wondering if the problem maybe that they are measuring productivity by a measure which is correlated more to presenteeism than actual quality* of output.

    In which case, yes, WfH, will tend to lower that.

    * I actually worked for a company once that had a question on the colleague peer-assessment form "Regardless of quality, what is the quantity of [colleague]'s output"

    I always refused to answer it.

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: "Lower productivity"

      Productivity is usually measured as dollars per unit time. Management has a $(sold)/t(sold) KPI, then ask the employee to log their t(actual) against individual projects without knowledge of the $(sold) and then tell them at the end of the project that their $(sold)/t(actual) is lower than the KPI, even when the employee has no knowledge of the $(sold) or t(sold), or any control over the t(actual).

  9. raving angry loony

    Productivity vs boss?

    I read this and weep: "the number of meetings users held on Teams was up 153 percent globally ". Gee, wonder why productivity went down?

    ps: what exactly does he MEAN by "lower productivity"? Lower sales? Fewer accounts? Less coffee being consumed? Cash earned per worker? Bugs resolved? "Productivity" is a really fluid concept.

    1. Snowy Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Productivity vs boss?

      Toilet breaks not being logged?

    2. oiseau
      WTF?

      Re: Productivity vs boss?

      ps: what exactly does he MEAN by "lower productivity"?

      Come now ...

      Everyone knows exactly what "productivity" means when it comes from the mouth of dicks like Benioff.

      ie: our shareholders are not getting a large enough dividends and I am not getting a big enough bonus.

      The rest is nothing but utter bullshit.

      O.

  10. ecofeco Silver badge

    CEO once again proves how out of touch they are

    No, Mr. BMOC, nobody really gives a fuck about a company that does care about them.

    Duh.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bye Gavin. You won’t be missed.

    Has Gavin Patterson been found out as fop-haired waste of space full of bullshit monger again ??

    Former BT Employee.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bye Gavin. You won’t be missed.

      Yes

  12. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Stop

    A dissenting opinion

    I suspect this will be an unpopular opinion (and, since I'm now on the moderation naughty step, it's questionable how many people will even see it), but the story at Salesforce is a common one, and it may not have anything in particular to do with low pay or incompetent management. In the Before Times, an employee would be seated with a group of people doing similar jobs, so it was easy to ask questions and get feedback from one's peers in real time. With employees working remotely, this becomes much more difficult, not because you can't get real-time information from someone via Slack or Teams but because it's a much less organic process and because it's more difficult to even know who one's peers are. I started a new job last April, and while, yes, the online training and documentation leave much to be desired, the reality of the position is that there are subtleties which are hard to effectively convey via static content. Many jobs are not just about creating a widget or cranking out a block of code, they're adaptive to a changing set of circumstances, and until one has experience with those circumstances, it's very helpful to have a more senior staff member (or multiple staff members, i.e. a team) to observe one's actions and provide immediate feedback. I've been on both sides of the relationship and heard plenty of feedback from friends and colleagues, and the challenge is real: onboarding new hires remotely is a much more difficult process.

    1. RTFM_UK

      Re: A dissenting opinion

      Not unpopular as you share some basic truths in a world of noise and bluster. There are absolutely a ton of jobs where WFH is both sensible and practical. But that does not apply to all jobs and a reality filter needs to be applied to the great WFH entitlement. Knowledge is gained via osmosis, which includes from your team around you. There are a good many jobs where being physically with the team, accelerates knowledge and therefore productivity. Work is an outcome, not a place, but in many instances, the place (and people) is required to do the work. WFH is not the great panacea preached by the Social Media masses.

  13. disgruntled yank

    Umm

    I can understand productivity of tech staff eventually leading to lower sales, but not quickly. And sales staff are not the people you want to keep in the office, are they?

  14. KimJongDeux

    "Are we not building tribal knowledge with new employees without an office culture?" Have we replaced our CEO with a 1997 chatbot? Or did we simply take an extract from "From Worst to First:", google translate it into afrikaans then urdu and then back to English?

  15. SimonGear
    Terminator

    It's interesting to see a company of Salesforce's stature dealing with the same challenges as many other companies during these pandemic times. One potential factor that Benioff mentioned was the lack of office time, which I can definitely see being a challenge for new hires who are trying to acclimate to a new company and culture.

    1. SimonGear

      It will be interesting to see what measures Salesforce takes to address this issue, as I'm sure many other companies are grappling with similar challenges. Perhaps partnering with a reputable software sales recruitment agency could help to identify candidates who are better equipped to adapt to remote work environments and hit the ground running.

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