There is no excuse for the gender pay gap, said Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, during CBS’ 60 Minutes interview recently.
“CEOs, with one button on one computer, can pay every man and every woman equally. We have the data. We know what everyone makes. There is no excuse,” added Benioff.
Benioff should know. He has implemented gender parity for his 30,000 employees globally since 2016. Men and women are being paid equally for the same work across Salesforce’s various multinational offices. Salesforce which has offices in over 26 countries, recently revealed a $3 billion profit for the first quarter of 2018.
Benioff has since become a persistent advocate for gender parity and is showing other leaders how it’s done.
Benioff’s eyes were opened to the large disparity in 2015 when his chief of personnel, Cindy Robbins, brought the issue of unequal pay to his attention.
He initially didn’t believe his employees were being unequally paid and discussed with Robbins the benefits of reviewing the data.
Robbins persisted and asked what would happen if they did an audit and found disparities.
She proposed a deal that if they found a gender gap, the company would commit to paying men and women equally even if they did not yet know the cost to the company. Benioff then did something remarkable; he agreed.
He stuck by his commitment and when the company audit revealed the unequal salaries across Salesforce’s employees, Benioff increased the salaries of women who were earning less for performing the same work as their male counterparts. Correcting the salary imbalance cost Salesforce $3 million.
However despite the salary adjustment, a second audit a year later found that the salary discrepencies had emerged again. Over the past year, Salesforce had procured several smaller companies along with their inherent unequal pay structures. Salesforce then spent another $3 million to remedy the gap.
Benioff realized that the company would need to be continually audited to ensure its commitment to pay parity.
Successfully implementing a powerfully inclusive and supportive work environment has secured Salesforce a place on Fortune’s annual list of the 100 Best Companies to work for list for the past 10 years. This year, Salesforce is ranked No.1.
Benioff believes he can show the way for other corporate leaders to implement similar workplace cultures. As he does, company leaders should be ready to listen and learn.
Could your company benefit from a diversity and gender audit? Find out more here.