Salesforce recently updated its internal policies to make it easier for managers to terminate employees for performance issues without HR involvement, Protocol has learned, a move that comes as the software giant looks to shed as many as 2,500 jobs.
Previously, Salesforce’s employee relations team was heavily involved behind the scenes in the process of putting employees on performance improvement plans or terminating them for failing to hit certain metrics, including prior to any formal discussions with workers.
Now, managers will be able to put employees on performance improvement plans, or PIPs, and ultimately terminate them with little HR oversight, according to sources with knowledge of the deliberations. Managers were recently asked to sign a document indicating that, under this new system, they would treat employees fairly, one source added.
A Salesforce spokesperson and Chief People Officer Brent Hyder did not respond to request for comment.
Salesforce’s HR team was scrambling last week to update the company’s policies ahead of Monday’s layoffs, according to sources and internal documents reviewed by Protocol. As part of the so-called “Performance Improvement Framework” revisions, internal resources including “Termination Talking Points” and the “Global PIP Template” were changed to reflect the greater authority given to managers and provide additional resources to help leaders act with a degree of autonomy.
By empowering managers, Salesforce can more easily shed its ranks as it looks to trim potentially thousands of jobs. Such a system is not unheard of in the industry, but it could open Salesforce up to legal challenges if, for example, someone in a protected class believes they are wrongly terminated.
Salesforce is taking cost-cutting measures seriously. Salespeople who were laid off on Monday were given two months' severance, according to both a current and former employee, a much less lucrative package than the company previously provided. It’s also noticeably less generous than others. Meta, for example, offered 16 weeks of pay to the 11,000 employees it laid off this week.
And while Meta based a portion of the severance on tenure, Salesforce employees who had been at the company for over a decade received the same package as those who had been there for much less time, the sources said.