Welcome to your first day of work! Here's your new desk. The bathrooms are down the hall. Now grab a LaCroix, and let's get your calendar booked full of meetings so you can start learning the ropes.

This may be the norm at some workplaces. It's not at Salesforce.

Those meetings will have to wait until tomorrow, because you will leave the office entirely. Salesforce employees spend their first afternoon of their new gig doing service work instead.

"They'll go to a homeless shelter or they'll go to the hospital or go to a public school," Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told New York Times. "This is a very core part of our culture."

Employees also get paid 56 hours a year to volunteer in their community, Fortune reports. Encouraging employees to give back is part of the company's "commitment to creating a uniquely rewarding work environment," which earned Salesforce the top spot on Fortune's 100 best places to work list this year.

It's unusual for Silicon Valley, but helping others is one of Salesforce's top perks.

Feel-good culture over boast-worthy perks

Google and Facebook might get all the attention for their chef-made meals and other swanky perks. That's not Benioff's style. He's less into tangible perks to motivate and retain employees. Salesforce doesn't even have a cafeteria.

Why work here when you could get free breakfast, lunch and dinner at one of the other tech companies?

Because Salesforce offers something the others don't. Instead, Benioff strives to create a culture that prioritizes a more intangible benefit, but one he believes people value much more than free meals: a sense of purpose and a mission.

"I want a company where people are excited to come to work every day, where they feel good when they get here, where it doesn't take from them, but it's giving to them, it's giving to others," he told New York Times.

Incentivizing employees through service

Nearly 20 years ago, Benioff spent six weeks in India studying with Buddhist monks. When he returned to San Francisco to co-found Salesforce, he knew from the start that he wanted to embed service and philanthropy into the company.

Every company seems to tout their values. Benioff wants employees and the company as a whole to embody them. He believes you can be profit-driven and mission-driven at the same time.

"This idea that somebody put into our heads -- that companies are somehow these kind of individuated units that are separate from society and don't have to be paying attention to the communities they're in -- that is incorrect," he says.

As the biggest tech company in San Francisco, Benioff said he feels it is his responsibility to invest heavily in his community -- and encourage his 30,000-person workforce to do the same. Simply put, doing good for others makes you feel good. Salesforce has found a way to turn altruism into a perk.

Not chaining people to their desks

We all know why providing three delicious meals is so effective for tech companies like Google and Facebook. It keeps people at their desks. You never need to leave campus if you can eat all meals there. It's also more reason to show up early and work late.

Salesforce gives employees more than a week of paid volunteer time. That's valuable time Salesforce employees are not spending at their desks working.

Benioff seems to think it's worth it. People care about culture and values -- the two top predictors of employee satisfaction, according to Glassdoor. A company's success is fed by happy and satisfied employees -- especially when you have 30,000 of them.

Published on: Jun 25, 2018