Just five years ago, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says that when it comes to acquisitions, it was the technology and product that mattered most.
Now, he says, he’s made a complete turnaround: The billionaire tech exec says that when Salesforce wants to buy a company, he first does his “due diligence” in looking at the company’s culture, how fairly and equitably it pays employees, and its ratings on popular employer review site Glassdoor.
“When you buy a company, you don’t just buy the technology. You buy the culture,” Benioff said onstage Thursday at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.
Benioff says that in this day and age, company culture is “more important than ever,” and Salesforce is doubling down. He believes that culture, equal pay for women, and how a company handles sexual harassment are all related, and says that employees expect CEOs to have clear positions in those areas.
Seeing Google employees walk out to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct cases last November was “eye-opening for a lot of people,” Benioff said. He added that Silicon Valley has already seen several executives get taken down for committing sexual harassment, or for not doing enough to fight it.
“We have CEOs who are not paying attention to their culture and allowed toxic cultures to emerge,” Benioff said.
Salesforce has spent $8.7 million on pay raises for women after a group of Salesforce employees, including Chief People Officer Cindy Robbins and executive vice president Leyla Seka, investigated the wage gap at the company. Benioff has also previously spoken about how he had to fire an executive for crossing a line in sexual harassment.
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