Workspan Daily |

Leading with Purpose: Salesforce’s Benioff Issues No Layoff Challenge to Fellow CEOs


WorldatWork last week launched the #KeepTheWorldatWork campaign on social media to bring awareness to organizations that are committed to protecting the jobs of their employees despite the economic calamity and continued uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning this week, we will be highlighting individual leaders and employers that have made these bold people-over-profit decisions. An obvious place to start is Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who went a step further than ensuring his own workers’ job security.

In a Twitter thread on March 25, Benioff called on his fellow CEOs to take a 90-day “no layoff pledge” as a part of an eight-point plan to end the coronavirus crisis.

To come up with the plan, Benioff said he collaborated with David Agus, a doctor and professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California, who has also written books on health and wellness.

Salesforce has also exemplified good corporate citizenship amid the crisis by donating $1.5 million to San Francisco to support its response to the coronavirus crisis and $500,000 to the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund, which is addressing needs around the globe. The company has also offered free access to its Health Cloud product to emergency response teams, call centers and care management teams affected by COVID-19.

Then on April 5, the software company donated scores of personal protective equipment to the area of the Unites States that’s been hit hardest by COVID-19, as a 747 cargo aircraft from China loaded with goggles, face shields and protective suits landed in New York City. The equipment, which was facilitated by Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, was delivered to health care workers grappling with a lack of critically-needed medical supplies.

In an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC’s “Mad Money” Benioff emphasized why it’s important for businesses like his to do their part during the pandemic.

“This is a moment where business has to be the greatest platform for change,” Benioff said. “Because you have incredible resources with enterprises that have relationships like we do with Alibaba and we can use that to help alleviate the suffering of those who have been hurt so badly.”

Benioff and Salesforce’s commitment to no layoffs while also using the company’s vast resources across the globe to aid in the fight against COVID-19 embodies the spirit of the #KeepTheWorldatWork campaign.


Marsh & McLennan CEO Pledges No Layoffs
As job losses from COVID-19 were already mounting in mid-March, Marsh & McLennan CEO Dan Glaser became one of the first executives to pledge to his workers that there would be no layoffs at his company. Additionally, Glaser announced a $5 million fund that would offer grants to employees facing financial hardship and reminded people of the "formidable resources and financial strength" of the company.

ServiceNow CEO Makes the Pledge
On Thursday, ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott became one of the most recent CEOs to take the “no layoffs” pledge issued by Benioff. However, McDermott took it a step further by pledging not to lay off a single employee in 2020 and announced the company is also hiring. The company plans to fill 1,000 jobs worldwide, as well as hire 360 college students as interns this summer. 

Cisco CEO Won’t Cut Jobs 
On April 10, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins joined a growing number of tech companies that have pledged not to cut jobs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Robbins is also calling on other companies to make the pledge as well.

See the full list of organizations WorldatWork has identified as a part of our #KeepTheWorldatWork campaign. If you know of a company we missed, email us and we'll add them to the list. 

About the Author

Brett Christie Bio Image

Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily.

About WorldatWork

WorldatWork is a professional nonprofit association that sets the agenda and standard of excellence in the field of Total Rewards. Our membership, signature certifications, data, content, and conferences are designed to advance our members’ leadership, and to help them influence great outcomes for their own organizations.

About Membership

Membership provides access to practical resources, research, emerging trends, a professional network, and career-building education and certification. Learn more and join today.

Have Questions?


+1 877 951 9191

USA and Canada

+1 480 951 9191

Other Countries


Email Us