Moving on from the great resignation, there is now a growing clamour, particularly for learning new digital skills. The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of enterprises, creating enormous opportunities for all organisations. Emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are increasingly amplifying the need for digital skills, resulting in the widening digital skills gap. As this gap accelerates, re-skilling is becoming a priority for every organisation.
In a short interaction with All Things Talent, Michele Nyrop, SVP, Employee Success for India, APAC and LATAM, Salesforce discusses the latest survey on the digital skills gap, along with several employee initiatives that the company is taking, and its India plan for growth. The survey indicated a higher index score among the Indian workforce indicating a strong inclination to continue to upskill.
According to Salesforce’s Global Digital Skills Index, 72% of respondents in India say that they are actively learning digital skills to prepare themselves for the future of work.
This accelerated digital transformation has manifested into a widening gap between the demand and supply of digital talent, leading to a war for digital talent. With the continued shift toward a work-from-anywhere, digital-first world, it’s important for companies to offer support for upskilling and reskilling. How is Salesforce addressing this skill gap in the country?
We are committed to addressing the training and re-skilling imperative – equipping people seamlessly with tools to take on jobs that the digitally transforming economy demands.
The company’s online learning platform Trailhead has enabled the creation of partnerships with leading education providers and delivers a raft of apprenticeship, skilling, grants, and philanthropic programmes internationally. Globally, Trailhead has catered to nearly 3.5 million people by helping them learn in-demand skills for the future of work. It is part of a recognition that there is no one skills gap and no one-size-fits-all approach. The company supports the skilling imperative via strategic partnerships and initiatives with over 700 universities in India including Manipal Global, Stratos, NASSCOM, AICTE, and more.
How does the survey’s high readiness among the Indian workforce to learn digital skills impact your India hiring plans and where does the country stand in the global business?
India continues to be a critical market for Salesforce and we have invested significantly in the country over many years, adding more jobs, expanding our office space, and growing our partner ecosystem to support our increasing customer base.
At Salesforce India, we’ve doubled our headcount over the last two years and currently, we have 6500+ people across Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. The majority of our team is in Hyderabad, tapping into the region’s large community of strong technology talent.
From a business perspective, India is one of our fastest-growing markets and we are committed to digitally transforming businesses and redefining experiences by capitalising on the growing massive cloud opportunity in the country. As we grow, we will continue to invest in expanding our employee presence in the region making India a leading global talent and innovation hub for the company. Currently, all tech-based roles make up the biggest portion of our workforce at Salesforce.
The Salesforce ecosystem, too, is flourishing in India where we have a significant number of Salesforce developers and Trailhead users than in any other market outside the US. As per data from the recent IDC report, the Salesforce Economy in India will create 1.3 million jobs and $66.4 billion in new business revenues by 2026.
In an interview recently, co-CEO Bret Taylor mentions that Salesforce lists vacancies by time zones rather than cities. Many are looking at it as a way to attract talent and probably gain momentum in this war for talent. How is this working for you?
The last two years of the pandemic have given us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine how we work. This has also given us a chance to cultivate a cultural mindset of continual learning, champion diversity, and create an inclusive workforce. It has been particularly inspiring to see how each one of us, particularly employees and businesses alike has pivoted to be successful in a digital-first environment empowered to work-from-anywhere.
We understand that achieving our vision requires a culture that empowers everyone to do their best work — from home, the office, and anywhere in between — thanks to our ‘Success From Anywhere’ philosophy. Our physical spaces are critical to collaboration, innovation, and connection. While our employees resoundingly enjoy the flexibility our new approach offers, the option to get together in person with their teams is highly cherished. In an internal survey conducted, 77% of our employees said they wanted to get together with their team in person.
In line with our above philosophy, we have also implemented “Async Week” where employees cancelled routine meetings to create space for more deep, focused work, which has seen participation from over 20,000 employees. 81% of employees opted for this to repeat every quarter. We’re encouraging all employees to embrace flex behaviours like ‘Focus Time’ and ‘Setting Boundaries’, to increase productivity and prioritise their wellbeing.
Our Flex Team Agreements empower our teams to determine how, when, and where they work based on their unique needs and projects and help employees be their most productive and balanced selves. With Slack as our digital headquarters, we’re transforming the way we work and connect with our teams, partners, and customers — from anywhere. Needless to say, we’re doing all of this while prioritising the health of our employees and communities. Together, we’re leading the way in a digital-first world.
“The last two years of the pandemic have given us a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine how we work. This has also given us a chance to cultivate a cultural mindset of continual learning, champion diversity, and create an inclusive workforce. It has been particularly inspiring to see how each one of us, particularly employees and businesses alike have pivoted to be successful in a digital-first environment empowered to work-from-anywhere.”
What are the three trends you see emerging in the Human Resources space in the coming years and what would be the impact?
Work has shifted from a place you go, to what you do. An immersive workspace is no longer limited to a desk in our towers; the 9-to-5 workday is dead, and the employee experience and wellbeing are about more than ping-pong tables and snacks. People leaders now have an opportunity to create an even better workplace, that allows employees to be more connected to each other, find more balance between work and home, and advance equality.
Agility: The pandemic has had a significant impact on recruitment as we know it and will leave lasting impacts on how we recruit for years to come. As organisations shift to more remote work operations, employers need to explore the critical competencies employees will need to collaborate digitally, and be prepared to adjust employee experience strategies. In a recent survey by PwC, 50 percent of Indian leaders agree there is a need to plan for multiple possible futures around the workplace and workforce.
Digitisation: Recruitment technology too has brought about exciting new solutions to source, attract, nurture, and engage talent. In today’s candidate-driven market, time to fill will be a major differentiator when it comes to hiring top talent.
Business Value: People leaders across the board are emerging stronger as valued business partners by business leaders and managers. As we rebuild a post-pandemic workplace, we need to realise that employees today need flexibility to be successful, ultimately resulting in increased innovation and better business outcomes.
What kind of gender-inclusive policies does Salesforce have?
Our parental leave policy covers all types of parental leave, including birth, adoption, and surrogacy. The policy provides 26 weeks of paid leave to the primary caregiver and 12 weeks of paid leave to the secondary caregiver. Paid parental leave must be used within one year of the birth, placement, or adoption of a child. To deepen support for working parents, we have expanded family care leave, childcare stipends, and other resources to help working parents. At Salesforce India, in the last one year, 79 percent of individuals who applied for parental leave were men, 17 percent higher than the global average for the same period.
Another gender-inclusive benefit is our Gender Affirmation reimbursement which we launched after listening deeply to our LGBTQ+ community and consulting with Outforce. This includes comprehensive coverage for surgeries, prescription drugs, hormonal therapy, hair transplant and removal, and more. This new suite of benefits provides support in six key areas: medical reimbursements, legal reimbursements, recovery leave, counselling services, warmline support, and wardrobe reimbursement.
Year of Incorporation: Salesforce has had a presence in India since 2005. Salesforce was founded in 1999 in the US.
Number of Employees: 7,500
Founders: Marc Benioff is Chair, Co-CEO, and Co-Founder of Salesforce and Bret Taylor – Co – CEO of Salesforce
Key Executives: Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson & CEO, Salesforce India | Arun Parameswaran, SVP, MD, Sales & Distribution, Salesforce India | Sanket Atal, SVP and MD – Sites, Salesforce
Business Line: Salesforce, the global CRM leader, empowers companies of every size and industry to digitally transform and create a 360° view of their customers.