The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

251: Supporting Working Parents with Karen Schwarzbach, Global Program Manager for Wellbeing and Life Stages at Salesforce

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This year Salesforce has been recognized on the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies To Work For®” list for the 14th year in a row. With philosophies such as “we don’t define family for you” and “success from anywhere”, they are driving business success while supporting the wellbeing of 80,000 employees across the globe. This episode gives you a peek inside one of Salesforce’s many employee benefits – parenting support (and a whole lot of it).

Guest, Karen Schwarzbach, serves as the Global Program Manager for Wellbeing and Life Stages at Salesforce. Her work at Salesforce encompasses the full life cycle from family forming through elder care support. Previously, Karen worked as a National Workforce Health Consultant at Kaiser Permanente and as a Health Improvement Strategist at Cigna, in addition to owning and operating her family wellbeing consulting practice for over 15 years. 

In this interview, Karen talks about her role at Salesforce and the drivers behind the focus on parents. She explains some of the inventive resources she offers the 80,000 employees across the world and how she determines what to offer. If you’re worried this interview doesn’t apply to you because you don’t work in big tech, fear not, Karen offers wonderful advice for any organization wanting to support working parents.

Episode Highlights:
  • Karen approaches her offerings through the lens of the Salesforce philosophy – “we don’t define your family for you”.
  • When it comes to returning to the office, Salesforce believes in “success from anywhere”. There are working team agreements in place where each pillar leader sets the expectations on the frequency of being in office. The overarching message is – we aren’t returning to the office on the regular or even part time but rather according to what is needed by role.
  • Karen relies on regional partners help determine what program they want to see in their countries. This includes cultural considerations, political happenings, and governmental mandates.
  • Some benefits Salesforce offers includes Milk Stork (breast milk shipping within U.S. for employees, partners, surrogates), Cleo (parent coaching from birth to age 18; global offering), and Brightline (youth mental health from 18 months to 26 years old).
  • Communication is an understandable challenge with such a large workforce. There is a Communications team that monitors what’s communicated to employees, such as The Daily newsletter (ask ahead of time) and Slack Weekly Roundup.
  • There’s an annual employee opinion survey including five wellbeing questions with a report that goes to the CEOs, then filtered down. 
  • Karen’s goal is increasing awareness of resources by 15%. Currently, Backup Care (15 days) and Cleo are most utilized resources (under her programs).
  • If you don’t have a large budget, leverage your health plan and EAP for parenting resources.
Links Mentioned:

Resilience for Self-Leadership

Camp B-Well

Karen’s LinkedIn

Full Bio

Karen Schwarzbach serves as the Global Program Manager for Wellbeing and Life Stages at Salesforce.  She brings over 20 years of industry experience to her role, with a focus on parents and children. Karen employs a holistic, compassionate and insightful approach to the myriad challenges facing families today. Her work at Salesforce encompasses the full life cycle from family forming through elder care support. 

Previously, Karen worked as a National Workforce Health Consultant at Kaiser Permanente and as a Health Improvement Strategist at Cigna, in addition to owning and operating her family wellbeing consulting practice for over 15 years. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of BonfireDW and is a member of Client Advisory Boards for Bright Horizons and Wellthy. Karen is the mother of three adult sons, including fraternal twins, and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.