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Raising Morale – an Interview with Joe Galuska

pp_default1 At the forefront of the HR professional’s mind at a time of skills crises and lower unemployment is “keeping the talent” argues FTdynamo in the second of a series of columns written for HR Zone from this new management education portal.

Joe Galuszka was one of Scient’s earliest recruits, joining in April ’98 after the firm’s January ’98 launch. He has 20 years experience in sales and recruiting in the IT industry (Hewlett Packard and Gartner Group). Initially Galuszka was Scient’s VP of recruitment, a role which grew into his present one of Chief Morale Officer. Scient’s web site says Galuszka is ‘responsible for helping everyone at Scient having a blast while delivering massive value for our clients!’

FTdynamo: Scient has grown incredibly fast in the past two years. How have you managed this process?

Joe Galuszka: We started out in January ’98, when we had 33 employees, and by the summer of 2000 we had 1200 people.
I come from a sales background, not HR, and we have really taken recruitment away from HR in our drive to get the talent in. There’s such an urgency to recruiting right now. We have brought in the sales mentality. It is a ‘customer-focused’ emphasis that informs our recruitment decisions.

FTdynamo: What exactly does a ‘chief morale officer’ do?

Joe Galuszka: Once people have been recruited, we have to think about retention. That’s where the CMO comes in. It’s the core of the job.

  • First you are there to measure colleagues’ morale and satisfaction. We do this regularly through a range of channels.
  • Secondly you are there to promote and support the values and culture of the organisation.
  • Third is managing communication, upward as well as downward (although we tend to talk about outbound and inbound communication).
  • And fourth is co-ordinating all the other morale officers in the business, the people on the ground who are doing the job locally.

FTdynamo: How does the CMO regime work in practice?

Joe Galuszka: We had a CMO from day one – it was always a peer colleague position. You act as a temperature gauge, you are there to provide recognition of colleagues’ contribution. Now as we’ve grown we need CMOs on the ground. The CMO gets elected – it’s a voluntary position – for a six month period, and we have two per office. My role is to co-ordinate all this activity on a global level. The key point is this – this has all grown out of the company naturally, it wasn’t a management reaction.

FTdynamo: Why is this approach necessary in your market?

Joe Galuszka: There is a war for talent out there. Hiring is expensive. And retention of talent is a bottom line factor. The people we hire can expect very good compensation wherever they go, so we have to provide something more. The differentiators are: culture, environment, design, energy, emotion, enthusiasm.
There are broadly three different types of company culture – there are companies that are a great financial success but it hurts to work there; there are companies that provide a great environment but they go bust; and we’re trying to combine the best of those two. I call it ‘building a legendary company’.

FTdynamo: What sort of activities does the CMO co-ordinate?

Joe Galuszka: We’ll go out – go-karting, sailing or whatever. Have a happy hour in the pub. The team gets branded apparel, we have office rallies, awards and recognition, clubs, and ‘colleague care’ for what we call our ‘road warriors’ – the people out on the road. There are also feedback mechanisms that we hope are fun. And the company ‘bulletin board’ is a knowledge management system that is a lot of fun too.

FTdynamo: What are the priorities for your business?

Joe Galuszka: Our people are either strategists, technologists or they are in ‘customer experience’ (brand managers). We work on end-to-end solutions – from conception to innovation. Our most radical exercise is our VC game where we take a business, ‘fire’ the CEO and get everyone to come up with a new business plan to present to us as VCs – a very liberating approach!

FTdynamo features writing and research from leading business schools and management consultancies with expert insight and analysis fromF Tdynamo. A free trial of its services is available at

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