Salesforce Recognized for Innovation

I think we can all agree that “innovative” is one of the most overused words out there. Pretty much any job applicant, ad campaign, department team or company will describe themselves at some point as “innovative.” It’s such a great thing to be, right? It means you’re daring, clever and productive. Yet most of the claims for innovation don’t really hold up in the end.

That said, there are a few places where the label still means something and one of those is the Forbes list of World’s Most Innovative Companies. So it’s truly impressive that Salesforce has made the list for the fifth year in a row.

The reason this ranking has so much merit is that Forbes makes their selections based on data. These aren’t just the trendy companies du jour. Forbes analyzes each candidate’s innovation premium, defined as the difference between their market capitalization and a net present value of cash flows from existing businesses. They also examine the company’s specific programs in being a true change agent in their field.

This time around, Forbes acknowledged Salesforce’s efforts in closing the gender pay gap and advancing women professionals in the workplace. That’s right, Salesforce isn’t just about helping sales teams make their quotas and drive ROI. Salesforce has stated that “a diverse and equitable workplace fosters innovation and creativity, and our goal is to ensure that Salesforce is a place where all people can do their best work.”

So what does that look like in practice? After all, lots of companies are striving to recruit, develop and retain a diverse employee population.

One way is that Salesforce supports programs like the #LeanInTogether Initiative, which involves men in empowering women in the workplace; they also just hosted the first-ever Women’s Leadership Summit at Dreamforce, and The Anita Borg Institute named Salesforce one of the top 13 companies for women in technology.

Pretty impressive, but Forbes actually sat down and conducted an interview with Cindy Robbins, Executive Vice President of Employee Success, and Leyla Seka, Senior Vice President and General Manager of They shared the back story of the company’s initiatives and how they’re going beyond empty statements on empowerment to achieving real transformation.

A few highlights:

  • The Salesforce leadership was more than willing to examine their existing employee base for any pay gaps. Though they didn’t find many discrepancies, “we are adjusting some male and female salaries.”
  • The initiative has impacted the Salesforce culture – not only in improving professional paths for women, but in developing Salesforce talent. “It’s ignited the movement, if you will, inside of Salesforce. We’ve found high potential women, we’ve set them up with mentors, we’ve encouraged them to learn more about Salesforce. The company is really embracing it – it’s a really interesting moment for Salesforce.”
  • They’re looking beyond the company walls and into business as a whole. The interview stated that a goal was “to make other companies take notice of it. We’re trying to magnify the attention on it and make sure it gets discussed.”

I encourage you to watch the entire interview. Maybe it will inspire you to think about your own company programs. How are you innovating today?