A top Salesforce executive sent an email suggesting that employees would see financial repercussions if they failed to meet an internal training goal to become “rangers.”
“Hopefully all of you are rangers — if not better get going if you want your stock grant and bonus,” Srini Tallapragada, Salesforce’s president and chief engineering officer, wrote in an email sent to his direct reports on January 10 and later viewed by Business Insider.
Salesforce did not respond to a request for comment.
Salesforce set a goal for all employees to achieve “ranger” status on Trailhead, the company’s internal training software, in 2023, BI previously reported. A company spokesperson said 91.4% of employees hit the goal.
Becoming a ranger requires the accrual of 50,000 points on Trailhead, earned by completing various training modules, quizzes, and challenges. Trailhead has 12 levels of achievement; the ranger level is the seventh.
In January, Salesforce employees took to a companywide Slack channel named “airing-of-grievances” to bemoan an upcoming deadline for achieving ranger status. One employee mentioned a “rumor” that staffers who failed to earn ranger status would have their bonuses withheld.
Meanwhile, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff appears to be in the minority of company employees who didn’t achieve ranger status in 2023. An image of Benioff’s employee profile page taken last Thursday showed he was a “scout,” meaning he’s achieved zero points on Trailhead.
Salesforce plans to lay off 700 employees, or about roughly 1% of its workforce, The Wall Street Journal reported last month.
The downsizing comes after a year of aggressive cost-cutting and mass layoffs in early 2023 that reduced the company’s workforce by 10%.
Salesforce’s head count and associated costs ballooned as demand for cloud software boomed at the height of the remote-work movement sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. By late 2022, the company’s profit margins were under scrutiny by activist investors including Elliott Management and Starboard Value.
Benioff, who for over two decades led Salesforce with a growth-at-any-cost mentality, has shifted gears in the past year to focus on the bottom line. As a result, employees say the company’s formerly laid-back culture has become increasingly cutthroat and performance-driven.
Benioff himself has attributed the company’s increasing profit gains to “performance culture.”
Salesforce started its new fiscal year on February 1 and is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings and full fiscal-year results in March.
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