Salesforce has impressive growth, always in the double-digits. Several factors are driving their growth, and one area is a focus on vertical markets that includes the public sector. One public sector contract is with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). More than 650 Salesforce employees signed a petition asking CEO Marc Benioff and the company to reconsider the contract.
The CBP contract is relatively new, signed in March 2018. Two primary products were sold to the CBP – Service Cloud and Community Cloud. While Community Cloud is intended to modernize the CBP’s recruiting and management of current employees, Service Cloud is aimed to drive efficiencies around border activities.
The petition focuses on the role of Service Cloud in the separation of migrant children from their families. Specifically, “Given the inhumane separation of children from their parents currently taking place at the border, we believe that our core value of Equality is at stake and that Salesforce should reexamine our contractual relationship with CBP and speak out against its practices.”
Salesforce employees are the not first. Over 100 Microsoft employees signed a petition over their relationship with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and how their Azure solutions were being deployed. Amazon employees also expressed dismay with their role with these agencies.
- Salesforce has stated that their solutions are not being used for the separation of children from their parents.
- Marc Benioff has been vocal and active in several social justice issues, including gender discrimination and equal pay.
- In their petition, the Salesforce employees highlight one of the reasons they work there, and it is because of Salesforce’s reputation for standing up against injustice. They state, “We agree that the business of business is to improve the state of the world.”
Quests and Actions (Q&A):
- Employee engagement is low. When employees engage in social issues within their company, what actions should a CEO take? How do the internal discussions happen?
- How much should a CEO listen to employee petitions? How can a CEO deliver on the business of improving the state of the world?
- When stated values and a customer contract do not align, what do you do?