Salesforce ‘Ohana’ is in question after CEO Benioff dodged questions about the layoff

billionaires Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff often promotes the Hawaiian concept of “Ohana” as part of his company’s culture. It gives the idea of ​​family bonds that encourage people to be responsible for each other.

After an all-out Salesforce call on Thursday in which Benioff reportedly dodged questions about the recently announced layoffs in a rambling, two-hour speech, the appropriateness of that concept came into question.

A day earlier, the software giant said it cut about 10% of its workforcenoting that customers are “taking a more measured approach to their purchasing decisions” in a “challenging” environment.

In an email to staff about the thousands of layoffs Wednesday, Benioff also evoked “Ohana” and the idea of ​​family bonds:

“Employees who are affected are not just colleagues,” he said WRITES. “They are friends. They are family. Please help them. Offer the compassion and love that they and their families deserve and need now more than ever. And most of all, please trust your leadership, including mine, as we work together through this difficult time.

‘Avoiding the subject at hand’

But judging by the reactions to his speech and the unanswered questions, employees are not feeling “Ohana.” In an internal Slack channel intended for questions during the meeting, according to Insideran employee asked:

“Given how little this call has addressed the layoffs, the questions being asked on this channel, and the ‘family’ being laid off, should we consider retiring the words ‘Ohana? ‘”

Other posts in the Slack channel reportedly included, “Is Marc picking on today’s 47,600+ employees by talking in circles and avoiding the topic at hand?” and “I’m sure many of the 10’s of thousands of people on this call could do things rather than listen to an unstructured conversation about business when most people come in with specific questions that they hope to answer.

Benioff seemed to briefly refer to the layoffs in his speech, but in a way that likened them to deaths, according to Insider:

“At kickoff every year, you know, we, um, have a moment where we always say goodbye to everyone who died during the year,” he said. “And, um, losing is very difficult, and losing people, and especially losing our trusted partners and our managers or employees, it’s the same, uh, in a lot of ways for me. We have to recognize that and give ourselves time to grieve and be able to move on.

A company blog post from 2017 entitled “The Real Meaning Behind ‘Salesforce Community’” states: “In Hawaiian culture, the Ohana represents the idea that families—related by blood, adopted, or purpose—come together, and that family members are responsible for each other. When [Beniofff] created Salesforce in 1999, he ensured that ‘Ohana’ was at the foundation of the company.

Salesforce did not immediately respond luckThis is a request for comments.

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