Salesforce Refutes Reports of a Hiring Freeze

The CRM giant sets the record straight

CRMLatest News

Published: January 15, 2024

James Stephen

Salesforce has rebuffed claims it has imposed a hiring freeze within its company, including its subsidiary, Slack.

The move comes after Fortune alleged it had paused hiring in its technology and product divisions, citing a leaked memo.

The business magazine, Fortune, based its report on a leaked memo from Ross Harmes, Chief of Staff to the Slack CTO, which read:

This isn’t our first rodeo with hiring pauses, but it’s definitely disruptive and will affect our plans in Q1 and beyond.

“Remember, we won’t ask you to do the same amount of work with fewer people, so adjust plans accordingly.

“Headcount that you currently have isn’t going away, it’s just being delayed. We’ll maintain the list of open roles, and continue to add to it when people leave.”

Harmes continued: “The good news is that we’ve made a ton of hires over the last six months.

“The bad news is that managers with open roles will feel the pain for a while with understaffed teams.”

Now, a spokesperson for Salesforce has hit back, telling Business Insider that “we are not freezing hiring in any departments”.

Although Salesforce did not dispute the veracity of the memo, it described it as a ‘misstatement’.

That may come as a relief for members of the Salesforce team, after a rollercoaster of a year in 2023, which started with mass layoffs, impacting over ten percent of its workforce.

More recently, however, Salesforce has recently displayed impressive signs of recovery that suggest Harmes’ words had been taken out of context, such as making a layoff U-turn in September 2023 when it announced its intention to hire 3,300 new employees. That included bringing back some of its former employees.

The Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, did not rule out more layoffs, however, which may worry those who believe the company is adopting more of a ‘hire and fire’ culture.

Moreover, Salesforce staff reported significant cultural concerns in an internal survey conducted at the time.

The survey of 57,000 Salesforce employees, published in June 2023, found widespread dissatisfaction with job security, management, trust, and more.

For instance, 34 percent believed the company is performing well at retaining its most talented staff and only 37 percent saw security in a long-term future at Salesforce.

Putting the context to one side, Salesforce is clearly keen to dispel any notions that it has a hiring freeze in place, with its spokesperson adding:

We have made rapid progress on our hiring goals in technology and product to support strategic growth areas like AI.

He also revealed that Salesforce is “continuing strategic hiring” to ensure it meets critical business objectives.

From a product perspective, Salesforce still seems to be as active as ever, recently announcing the release date for its Einstein Copilot as February 12, 2024.

That followed the acquisitions of the low-/no-code bot platform Airkit and the incentive management platform provider Spiff.

No doubt time will tell just how far from the truth Harmes’ leaked memo actually was.




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