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  • Writer's pictureSaasy Sistah

Salesforce Ohana Culture: How has a company united so many people?

In the late 90’s, Marc Benioff took a break from his busy life of start-up entrepreneurship and took a trip to Hawaii. He reportedly spent time learning about the culture and traditions of the people there. This is where he first learned about ‘Ohana’.

Ohana is a Hawaiian term used to describe family. Benioff felt he could apply the concept to his growing enterprise, creating a bond between those who were part of the organization, a family with no blood ties but rather a sense of unity through shared passion.

How has a company been able to channel so much positivity and togetherness for its community?

The learning

Salesforce is consistently voted one of the best organizations in the world to work as well as being ranked as one of the highest payers in tech. Over the coming years, its growth is expected to create almost 2 million jobs within its ecosystem by 2020.

It has created a high functioning support system among their own staff, partners, and clients alike. Salesforce’s loyal fan base goes beyond even that of Apple and Microsoft; impressive considering they offer consumer electronics while Salesforce is a business-to-business service.

The organization has taken a unique approach to developing its knowledge base. Unlike most similar organizations, it has stepped away from user-initiated learning forums and instead pushed to create its own system of learning.

If you work with Salesforce, you almost certainly know Trailhead. This free to use platform was created to help develop the knowledge of roles including developers and administrators. When you engage in Trailhead, you’re awarded with badges and supported by other ‘Trailblazers’.

The inevitable significant investment required to create and develop this platform shows Salesforce has a long-term view in the interest of their community. This has obvious benefits for the company, going beyond a knowledge center or traditional forum that many other companies may typically utilize.

The People

Salesforce meetups, networking events, and user forums are common components of being part of this organization. A key element of their unity is encouraged by the community spirit cultivated through these networks.

Dreamforce, for instance, is an annual gathering organized by Salesforce to bring the community of users together in order to share knowledge, information, and, importantly, socialize. It’s bigger than any other tech conference open to such a wide range of stakeholders.

Beyond this, Salesforce has a very active online community. The aforementioned Trailhead is connected through social media and allows you to publish the badges you have won.

Hashtags are also very widely used across Twitter to generate conversations with #SalesforceOhana regularly populated with positive stories and the odd crazy act of commitment to the community.

Thoughts from the community

The best way to discuss Salesforce Ohana is by involving those who create it. Here are some thoughts from the community on what it means to them:

“Salesforce Ohana is a completely unique approach to a technology community. It creates a bond between Salesforce professionals which encourages positivity, communication, and unity. As part of the formula to help grow the Salesforce Ohana, we see this unique community support each other through deeply ingrained networks, online and offline.

“Ohana helps develop the company itself. Staff are fulfilled with their work and are clearly one of the factors attributing to the huge success of Salesforce as an organization. The investment Salesforce is making in its working community is influential and revolutionary. We’re very proud to include ourselves in #SalesforceOhana.”   

James Lloyd-Townshend CEO of Mason Frank International

“I’m a newly adopted member of the Salesforce family. Something that hit me like a train when starting out on my Salesforce journey was just how a person- the organization is. By promoting innovation powered by people first and technology second, Salesforce has created something that is open and accessible to all. For me, the community has been an endless supply of knowledge and support, with its underlying strength being its inclusiveness and a passion for the technology.”

Dan Pearce @danocpearce

“It is my belief that the reason Salesforce has been so successful in their community and following is because they listen and are transparent about their business.

“They listen to the customers and admins which, in turn, has helped them improve their product. Having a voice in how something should/could be done is always going to be appealing and Salesforce has done a great job in this and in my opinion are Leaders in this field.

“Also, by implementing applied innovation they have been able to create dynamic disruption throughout the industry with everyone ‘trying’ to follow suit.”

Tom Blamire @Salesforce_Tom


This IS NOT a sponsored blog post from Salesforce. It’s not here to convince you to work for Salesforce or to subscribe to the platform. It’s about focusing on an organization which is conducting itself differently in the corporate landscape.

High pay, transparency, and opportunity can all be attributed to the employee satisfaction and growth of Salesforce. Its employee-centric approach is very likely to be a huge contributing factor in the successes of the organization.

Guest Blog by, Maria Baranowska  @mazbaranowska

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