Slow employees are troubled by the “culture clash” with Salesforce

William of England
By William of England 3 Min Read

During an internal Q&A hour with Slack employees on Thursday, Slack’s senior leadership team, including outgoing CEO Stewart Butterfield, answered a series of questions that revealed members’ anxiety and dissatisfaction of staff for Slack’s position at Salesforce, a $136 billion public company with more than 70,000 employees.

“There’s a huge culture clash between Salesforce and Slack,” Slack chief of staff Robby Kwok said, reading aloud one of the questions submitted by employees during the meeting. “How did we get here culturally? How do we go from this? And how are the remaining Slack leaders doing, how can they help us stay connected to our core Slack values ​​within Salesforce that seems to ignore so much of those values?

Butterfield responded to the culture clash question by admitting that he “hasn’t been very successful” at integrating the two cultures.

“The problem has been that there is no incorporation of the Slack culture into the Salesforce culture,” Butterfield said, according to an audio recording of the meeting obtained by Fortune. “And unless there’s some element of that, then it’s not integration in any sense. It’s just the elimination.

Butterfield announced plans last month to leave Slack, which he founded in 2009. He is being replaced by longtime Salesforce executive Lidiane Jones, who was also at Thursday’s meeting with Slack staffers. The meeting followed a separate all-hands meeting Thursday for the entire Salesforce organization to address the company-wide 10% layoffs announced the day before.

Salesforce, known for its flashy conferences and over-the-top marketing for enterprise products, bought Slack for $27 billion in late 2020. A number of top executives have left Salesforce in recent months, including including co-CEO Bret Tayloras well as Butterfield.

Concerns about Slack being a strategic priority within Salesforce was a clear theme that emerged from employee questions during Slack’s general meeting. Employee questions asked for clarity on Salesforce’s financial health, Slack’s role within Salesforce’s broader business, potential reorganizations, and plans for office space, including Slack’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco, which it is separate from the Salesforce offices.

“We shouldn’t have to worry about going out of business anytime soon,” said Butterfield, who noted that while Salesforce’s business is healthy, some of its financial metrics lag behind those of its competitors.

Salesforce declined to comment on the meetings.

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