A CEO’s outspoken stances on social issues help his company win the talent wars.
CEO Marc Benioff practically invented the modern-day marriage of sincere do-gooderism and shrewd marketing for the corporate good. By instituting a 1-1-1 model early on—Salesforce donates 1% of equity, 1% of product, and 1% of employees’ time to charity—he institutionalized a culture of giving back. But the mindset paved the way for acts that also served the bottom line. Case in point: giving away access to applications to non-profits, a low-cost way to create a pool of potential future customers. Benioff also tapped into the zeitgeist of younger employees who want to work somewhere where they make a difference. Talking up Salesforce’s software and schlepping code are a lot more interesting when balanced with donating time and money to cherished causes.
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