More than a year after testing the HR waters with the launch of Work.com to help employers with workforce and return to office planning in the midst of the pandemic, Salesforce is diving headfirst into the HR and employee experience market.
The latest iteration of Work.com, announced on June 17, puts Salesforce more directly in competition with other human capital management vendors like Workday, SAP SuccessFactors and Oracle as organizations move to new hybrid work models.
Put that together with the acquisition of collaboration and communication specialist Slack late in 2020, and it's clear Salesforce is assembling a suite of products and services that go far beyond the traditional customer relationship management where the San Francisco-based company made its name.
The new Work.com products focus on employee growth, well-being and employee service tools, Jodi Innerfield, director of product marketing for Salesforce, told ZDNet. Those needs "went from reopening the office to work from anywhere — from work from home to this hybrid working world. And what we're hearing is that the technology that our customers used for employee experience, when everybody was in an office, just isn't cutting it anymore."
The new features, which are aimed at both employees as well as management and HR, include Work.com Talent, Work.com Wellbeing and new employee self-service offerings.
Work.com Talent gives employees a single view of skills, development goals and potential career paths. It also provides career guidance, learning recommendations and content from Trailhead, Salesforce's online learning platform. Workers can use the Talent tools to find internal roles suited to their interests and career goals.
Managers and HR teams can use Work.com Talent to get insights into the workforce and connect workers who have the skills needed with a specific project or help them identify and take on a new internal role.
Tools included in Work.com Wellbeing allow employees to complete confidential wellness checks and personal planning reviews in their workflows. Based on how employees answer questions, they will receive tips on how to reduce stress from wellness partners including Thrive Global or connect with a financial advisor.
Managers will also be able to analyze aggregate data to identify workforce trends, such as a spike in work-related stress. To alleviate privacy concerns, Salesforce is working with its Office of Ethical Use to ensure the tool keeps workers’ data confidential, Innerfield told ZDNet.
New Employee Service offerings include an HR Service Center that streamlines HR processes, such as onboarding or short-term leave paperwork. Service Catalog automates requests for products and services in a consumer-style menu employees can use to take care of common tasks such requisitioning a new laptop or help with fixing their mobile device. Employee Concierge Bots aim to help users find answers by surfacing articles and escalation paths.
The new HR tools were inspired by customers that have used Salesforce to build their own customized talent solutions, Innerfield said to ZDNet. The new tools "definitely take us more formally into the category of tools that help support HR teams," Innerfield said, but "the real differentiator here is we're taking an employee-centric approach."
Salesforce’s approach to employee-centric workflows and tools mirror the product developments of other companies. Workday introduced Workday Journeys to guide employees through transitions such as onboarding, promotions or maternity leave. Oracle also introduced its own platform to offer employees personalized HR guidance, and Cisco has added digital wellness tools to Webex.
“The employee experience has become a central tenet of modern talent management strategies, and is a paradigm that has the potential to drive better business outcomes in recruitment, retention and employee development,” according to Conner Forrest, senior analyst with 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, in a quote provided by Salesforce. “Workers want to be provided with the same contextual, relevant, feedback-driven experiences they are offered as a customer. The employee experience is an avenue through which that can be achieved.”
HR Service Center and Employee Concierge Bots should be generally available in July, according to Salesforce. Wellbeing, Talent and Service Catalog are expected to be available in November.