Salesforce’s Bold Journey into HR

April 23, 2015 John Gorup


Salesforce is getting into the world of HR. On the surface, this may seem like an odd move for a company so dedicated to CRM that their stock symbol is “CRM.” But there are two ways to look at this move. First of all, Salesforce is a platform at heart. Sales Cloud and Service Cloud are just pre-built applications on a flexible cloud platform. Technology-wise, Salesforce for HR is just another suggested serving of Salesforce1. Organizations have been using Salesforce1 to solve business problems for a long time.

But why HR? Think of a company as an entity that connects the skills of employees to the needs of customers. A happy, engaged workforce creates happy, engaged customers. At Appirio, we have been calling the processes and technology to support this cycle the Worker Experience. Creating a platform for employee engagement is a solid business strategy which ultimately leads to a better customer experience. Put another way, software to support the employee is a deeper, sustainable way of supporting the customer.

Salesforce for HR is not a replacement of an HR system of record like Workday. But here are some of key scenarios Salesforce for HR covers:

Employee Journeys

Successful onboarding is the key to retaining great employees, and also impacts the bottom line. According to HCMag, “Turnover is a major problem in the first 120 days [for hourly workers] where approximately 50% leave their new jobs.” The first 90 days are critical for a new employee. Also, shortening ramp-up time leads to real cost savings. But beyond the economics, Salesforce for HR helps guide employees throughout their career and helps them grow into the people they want to be.

Employee Communities

Forrester Analyst Rob Koplowitz wrote in the report Mapping The Value Of Social Business And Collaboration, “On average, 40% of North American and European information workers spend an hour or more per day just searching for information.” While building a better knowledge repository can help, building a community for employees will help spread expertise. Chatter is a great tool for collaboration, but frequently the questions that need to be answered are on records that others can’t see. An employee can help build a culture of sharing, and help get new employees up to speed.

HR Help Desk

One question managers should ask themselves is: do they treat employees like customers? There is a competitive marketplace for talent, just as there is for customers. Social platforms like Glassdoor and LinkedIn are becoming the Yelp of the worker experience. And increasingly, employees want to be empowered to get their issues resolved at any time and on any channel. Just as you have a customer service team, companies need an employee service team that has access to a 360-degree employee view and the ability to solve issues quickly.

Salesforce HR Analytics

HR leaders need data to make smart ​talent ​decisions. Access to productivity metrics, utilization, head counts, and skills will lead to a better talent management strategy. Having this kind of talent data on the same platform that holds your sales pipeline can ensure you have the staffing to meet future demand.

Engagement Apps

Employees are starting to expect the quality of the applications they use for work to mirror the quality of the consumer apps on their phone. Salesforce is making it easier to create engaging apps that facilitate activities such as recruiting, onboarding, interviewing, and training.

It’s now time for a bold vision

Writing in Diginomica, analyst Charlie Bess calls on CIOs to be bold: “It is time for those in a business leadership position to understand that this is not a period to be passive about the leverage provided by the information technology capabilities of the organization. The goals cannot be just about cost. The initiatives need to be about business advantage and value.”

The technology is here. It’s time to stop thinking of Salesforce as just a replacement for your old, dying Siebel system. The companies that reinvent new ways of running their business will have the flexibility to compete in the cloud economy.


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