Before Silicon Valley tech giant Saleforce.com became an over $64 billion leader in the booming cloud computing space, the startup was tasked with the job of creating a whole new category of software. The firm’s success story in pioneering the CRM space has been largely attributed to the unique culture created by founder and Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff.
Benioff, who started his first gaming company at the age of 15, leads his life and his business with a values-driven approach. The tech visionary, who turned the industry on its head by offering a subscription-based business model run on the cloud, has a larger goal for using his company to make the world a better place. The software CEO’s goal is not only to maximize shareholder profits, but to enhance value for all stakeholders.
Like many companies today, in the tech world and outside, the idea of a socially responsible organization isn’t confined to the non profit world. As conscious consumers demand more transparency and action from the most powerful corporations, Benioff is a believer that authentically integrating values in business and demonstrating that with tangible impact to his customers has helped Salesforce become one of the fastest growing software companies of all time.
In 2000, the CRM market pioneer, now with over 25,000 employees and customers worldwide, pledged a “1-1-1 model,” in which it sets aside 1% of equity, product and employee hours to philanthropy work, supporting over 30,000 nonprofits and NGOs working in a range of areas from healthcare to environmental action, all around the world. The “activist CEO” has also made a point to stand up for policy issues that he believes in, staunchly opposing discriminatory legislation and the ideology of President Trump.
Benioff foresees socially responsible business continuing to spread across the corporate world, noting that it not only helps retain the best talent but attracts Millennial employees, increasingly seeking out meaning in their work and a new type of work-life mesh.