Salesforce adds more HR, employee tools to

Salesforce to release more employee experience tools on to support the onboarding and well-being of workers who remain remote after the pandemic passes.

Salesforce claims it will stay out of the human resources cloud business for now, but the company continues to add features to that directly affect HR and employee experiences.

Coming in July, Salesforce will release HR Service Center, a package of tools that enables users to customize processes such as onboarding or applying for short-term leave. Also coming are AI-powered Employee Concierge Bots, which can answer common questions, search content repositories and escalate problems that can't be solved with automation.

Planned for November release are Wellbeing, which includes a bot that checks in on employees, points them to content that may help reduce stress and gives managers a heads-up to help take steps to prevent employee burnout; Talent, which organizes skills' development into Trailhead-style courses, complete with badges; and Service Catalog, which takes requests for things like office supplies and new furniture and creates an IT ticket-style workflow.

Salesforce resurrected the long-dormant domain during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Salesforce aggregated disparate tools for remote workers under the umbrella, including an online desktop, contact tracing and a place for employers to post return-to-work policies.

Most of the features were borne from Salesforce's own needs, homegrown to support Salesforce employees who worked from home during the pandemic, said Patrick Stokes, Salesforce Platform executive vice president and general manager.

Salesforce Service Desk
Salesforce's Service Desk enables users to configure requests for basic office needs, similar to how an IT service desk does tickets.

Salesforce created the Wellbeing bot, for example, as a method to assess, measure or address remote employee burnout. While the company had "top-down" ways to do that with management meetings, the bot provides a more proactive, confidential "pulse check" for individual employees, Stokes said.

Content to help employees manage stress and anxiety will be provided by expert partners such as Thrive Global and others.

No HR cloud in sight, for now

Salesforce will continue to roll out features to support the remote employee experience, because many employees will choose to continue to work from home after the pandemic is over, Stokes added.

The big [acquisition] bets have to pay off.
Jason WongAnalyst, Gartner

This is not to say that Salesforce plans to move into human capital management (HCM) systems and compete with Workday, Sage and SAP SuccessFactors. Stokes confirmed Salesforce has no plans to release an "HR cloud."

"There may be some HR-like products that we develop, but the goal isn't necessarily to just go down the category of what [analysts] would define as 'the HR products,'" Stokes said. "Our goal is to think about the experience that sits on top. ... Salesforce is attempting to streamline the employee experience on all of those systems in the same way we try to streamline the customer experience."

The coming features augment other tools Salesforce has rolled out to help users' employees work together more closely in the Salesforce environment, including Quip and, coming this summer, Slack, said Gartner analyst Jason Wong. Salesforce Service Cloud also includes HR engagement features and employee support.

"The big [acquisition] bets have to pay off," Wong said. "The question for Salesforce always is, what's the multiplier effect? They don't want to sell individual products -- they want to sell bundles, multiple products in one big bang. Something like HCM kind of hangs off to the side, and it doesn't really get them into a multi-cloud sale."

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