Episode 14: Encouraging Employee Collaboration with Salesforce

Cathal Divilly

In the latest episode of The Red Cube Podcast, Great Place to Work CEO Cathal Divilly is joined by Mary Gallagher, Director and Employee Success Business Partner at Salesforce. Mary delves into Salesforce's latest people strategies, including encouraging employee collaboration in the new Salesforce Tower, and the electrifying energy the new space has brought for its employees. Mary also speaks into the topic of individual ownership for team members and how its inclusive culture has helped to drive performance at Salesforce.


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Mary Gallagher

Director & Employee Success Business Partner



Cathal Divilly

Great Place to Work Ireland



Cathal Divilly: Welcome, Red Cube listeners. You're all very welcome to our latest installment of the Red Cube podcast. And I am delighted to introduce from Salesforce, who leads up the employee success for Salesforce, Mary Gallagher. Mary, you're very welcome. 

Mary Gallagher: Hi Cathal, thanks so much for having me. Excited to be here so thanks for the invitation. 

Cathal Divilly: Thanks for joining us. Mary, you're heading on holidays soon. 

Mary Gallagher: I am. I'm very excited, as you can tell. 

Cathal Divilly: Yeah, I knew you were excited when you said it was your second last day before holidays. That’s always a good sign. 

Mary Gallagher: Yeah, I think particularly for your summer holidays you need that extra excitement and get into the mood early! 

Cathal Divilly: Absolutely. Well, listen, I hope you have a great time. We appreciate your time and thanks for joining us Mary. For our listeners, you might give us a sense of your career history to date into your current role. 

Mary Gallagher: Yeah, absolutely. So I now call Dublin home, but I am very proud to be a Limerick woman. So I spent a lot of my career based in Limerick and it's only in the last number of years that I've actually moved to Dublin, since I joined Salesforce. I started my path in HR very early, so back 20 years this year, I can't believe it's that long. But I completed my degree in UL and I actually majored in HR. So I've actually spent my entire career in HR and particularly HR business partner roles.  

And as part of my time in UL I had a really fantastic opportunity to do an internship in GECAS, which was then part of the aviation leasing part of GE, I think it's kind of part of AerCap now. And I suppose that experience, fast forward a couple of years, I actually rejoined GE as the HR lead for their oil and gas and energy divisions in Ireland. So it was a real mix of industries, it was everything from oil and gas manufacturing to power plants around Ireland. So GE really provided me with some really great development opportunities. And I even got spend a six-month assignment in Malaysia and I also did a year in their healthcare business, which was slightly closer to home down in Cork.  

Around 2015 I made the transition into a completely new industry in terms of joining Tech. People probably don't know Limerick as you know, we're not exactly known as the Silicon Valley of Ireland! But at the time Uber chose to open their first community operations hub outside of the US and they chose Limerick. At the time their strategy was really to locate outside some of the kind of traditional tech cities. In that role I joined as the Site Lead to set up their Limerick operations, which I think still has about 500 employees based in the city centre. 

But you know, you join a startup, inevitably what happens is your role grows quite quickly, and as part of that then my scope grew into an EMEA role, where I had responsibility for scaling their community operations strategy for all of Europe, Middle East and Africa, and I was very lucky to get involved in setting up hubs in Krakow, Cairo, Lisbon, and I was also part of the team that was responsible for setting up UberEats for the first time in Europe as well. Also as part of that experience at Uber, I got to make the move to Amsterdam. So Amsterdam is very close to my heart and it remains so! So I spent nearly three years based out of the HQ in Amsterdam. My time at Uber really coincided with quite challenging times for the business, but I have to say I worked with some just phenomenal leaders and talent during my time there.  

It was then it came a point where it was time to come home; I’d been away for a couple of years and I was fortunate that my friend and former manager had moved to Salesforce and was heading up the HR business partner team here. So I suppose it didn't take a whole lot to persuade me, she persuaded me over a glass of wine and some cheese in Amsterdam that Salesforce was going to be the right next step for me. And that's how I landed at Salesforce.  

I've been here for almost five years in a role that we call Employee Success Business Partner, so employee success is our equivalent of human resources or people team. And I've had a number of roles during the time, so most particularly partnering with our EMEA SMB sales organisation and also our EMEA COO organisation. And then last October, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to move into my current role and my current role is partnering and with responsibility for Salesforce’s hub and operations in Dublin. I partner with Carolan Lennon, who joined us as country leader just under a year ago. So I work closely with Carolan and our site council on the strategy and operations then for the entire hub here in Dublin. 

Cathal Divilly: Wow Mary, so lots of international travel as part of that career history to date. And then as well the more local piece, a Limerick lady right? As a long-suffering Dublin hurling fan Mary, I envy the success of Limerick for sure! And actually on the sporting theme, last night I brought my son to the Irish Gibraltar, the mighty Gibraltar game, Ireland Gibraltar three nil win. And it was one of those post game pieces where you couldn't get a taxi or an Uber. So we walked from Aviva and we ended up down in the docks in Grand Canal, across from the new Salesforce tower and we were both admiring it actually last night, so it's an incredibly impressive building Mary. 

Mary Gallagher: Yes. So Salesforce was based out in Sandyford for many years but in February this year we officially moved into our Salesforce tower. I would say that some people point out that it's not really a tower, it's more of a campus! It is only 10 floors compared to the 30 plus that we have in our towers in London or San Francisco, but I think the Dublin team are very much proudly standing by the fact it is a tower! I think the nice thing about the tower is it's not just an amazing building, it's actually, I would say, extraordinary. I suppose we're so used to it, but it's really the reaction when people come in, external to Salesforce and they come in, when they come in and just see the amazing facility and the design that's gone into the building, everyone is absolutely wowed.  

It's really allowed us for the first time since pre-COVID to have all of our employees under one roof. It is one of the most sustainable buildings in Ireland and we have 6 dedicated employee floors and we have two what we call Ohana floors. Both those floors have rooftops and we're going to be shortly opening them to both local community groups and to not-for-profit organisations so that they can avail and use those floors for different events. And on top of that we also have over 60,000 bees on our rooftop, so you know, the building was very much designed with collaboration first – sustainability and employee wellness in mind and slightly moving away from the more traditional office just full of desks and monitors.  

It really is a phenomenal building. We are very fortunate to have custody of it right now and it was great, we had an amazing official opening last month. We had over 10 different faith leaders join us for the official opening and blessing of the building, and we were also delighted to have Leo Varadkar and many other politicians, Mary Lou McDonald joined us as well together with dignitaries including the Italian Consulate. So it was just a really fantastic celebration of what is just an amazing building and I suppose it's a real milestone for Salesforce, we've been over 20 years in Dublin, which I think a lot of people are surprised to hear, but it was an amazing next milestone in the Salesforce history here in Dublin. 

Cathal Divilly: And Mary, you mentioned the Ohana floors there. I’m familiar with sort of why Ohana is important to Salesforce. You might just give people a sense as to the relevance there with Ohana. 

Mary Gallagher: So Salesforce has had a very close connection with Hawaiian culture from the foundation. So Marc Benioff, our CEO, has always very much looked to the Hawaiian culture in terms of setting our values for Salesforce. So Ohana is how we refer to our Salesforce community. And that's not just employees, that's customers, that's partners, it's the communities that we work in. And our Ohana floors are these amazing spaces – in Dublin we're fortunate that employees can use these spaces – that we provide free of charge to not for profits and local communities so they can come in, they can use our facility to run amazing events and it really allows us then to be really at the heart of the communities that we're involved with. 

Cathal Divilly: Wow, that's really unique to offer space in the building, in the tower, to communities to come in. And do Salesforce team members get to see that in action and interact with the work that's being done? 

Mary Gallagher: Absolutely. So we're just about to open from this month onwards to not for profits but employees, if they're involved with a not-for-profit or community group, they'll be able to register on our portal and request. So people can book events up to six months in advance, there are certain events that we don't cater for, obviously to make sure that it remains like a really special space for people to use. But we have employee events such as all hands with executive visits, we have customer visits on site that our employees participate in.  

We have a huge emphasis on volunteering at Salesforce. Employees are encouraged to do at least 56 hours of volunteering every year. We track volunteering across our employee population and we're really fortunate that we have a great citizenship and Philanthropy Council in Salesforce in Dublin. And we're partnering with them to really look at the strategy around volunteering and then, how do we use our Ohana floor as a central part to really support that giving back. 

I suppose it all ties back then to, Salesforce is known for its 1-1-1 model. It was one of the 1st global companies to really adopt the, you know, 1% of time, equity and product goes back to not for profits and our community. So that giving back is something that is central and we really hold that sacred. Our equality strategies and our volunteering, we try and make sure that we keep those prioritised no matter what the wider business context might be. And I think that's something then that really resonates with employees and something that's really valued. 

Cathal Divilly: Thanks for sharing that Mary and I noticed the language of custodian of the building as well which is really interesting. I suppose people listening hearing about the Salesforce Tower, incredible building, 50,000 bees, the community element, which is really, really unique, the 1-1-1 model, and then they're sort of hearing about the debate around where people are working and where they want to work and post-COVID and all of that. What's your experience been Mary, are people coming into the tower to work or how is that working out? 

Mary Gallagher: It’s been interesting because, you know, I've recently been on one or two panels where it's really around the future of work and, is remote still the number one direction we're going in or where are companies? I think people have been interested when we've shared our experience. I suppose the thing is Salesforce was always a hybrid work environment, pre-pandemic and during the pandemic then it did obviously shift to more remote work environments. Particularly for Dublin I suppose the nuance was that probably 45% of our employee base are supporting markets across EMEA, maybe they’ve relocated to Ireland to work for Salesforce to support those markets. So in the pandemic, we did see the shift where people returned home, there was more of an emphasis on supporting that remote environment.  

We engaged what we called a “Success from anywhere” strategy. And that was critical to ensure that we got through that period of time. It wasn't necessarily our long-term strategy, but it was really critical to ensuring that people were set up for success in that environment. So we spent a lot of time helping managers to, you know, how do you manage that transition to managing your team remotely, versus, you know, prior to that everyone kind of was in the office at least four days a week. So I suppose that was a big shift for us at the time and our CEO was very public that we needed to transition to that to get us through that that period of time.  

Now we have moved to what we call returner remote. This isn't about, you know, HR or the business dictating what teams should do. We really try to empower our leaders to make decisions on their teams, about how and where they work. So we set guidelines around the numbers of days per week or quarter that your team may be expected to be in the office, but we don't just count it as days in the office. So we also count, you know, the time that people spend on the ground with customers or for example, next week we have a Salesforce event, London World Tour, or recently for Ireland, we had a huge innovation day where we had some of our Irish customers come and spend a great day in the tower. 

So it's not just about coming in and doing heads down work. It's really around that combination of time in the office with your team collaborating, spending time with your manager, collaborating with other functions. And then it's also about that time with our customers, really putting customer success first. And then it's also been about that wider Salesforce cultural immersion, so our events play a huge part in that. We really do allow our leaders to make the best decisions for their team and we try and do that as collaboratively as we can.  

I think what's encouraging, what we're seeing is over 1,000 employees a day come into the office in Dublin. We’re I think the 4th most utilised office in Salesforce globally and the atmosphere is electric, it is so energising. We have nearly 2,900 employees, we have 100 different functions on site. We have over 30 different languages spoken. We are one of the most diverse Salesforce locations globally and in EMEA. When you come into the office, that hits you straight away, whether you're at the barista bar downstairs, there’s just constantly people milling around, you know, having their team conversations, having their one-to-ones, bringing customers around it. There really is a real energy, a palpable energy that you get when you walk into the building. People are enjoying being back, we don’t have to encourage people to come back.

We obviously spend a lot of time thinking about employee engagement and how we can make it the best experience when you're in. But what we’re really finding is that people are really enjoying coming in and they really see the value of connecting in person, they really get that value of meeting people that they haven't seen in a long time, whether that's at a customer event, at a volunteering event, at an all hands … They just really love that sense of getting together and that sense of community, and I think that's something that we lost a little bit during the pandemic. But it's absolutely back, I would say with a bang and just the energy is just there for everyone once you walk into the building, it's amazing. 

Cathal Divilly: More and more we're seeing that shift Mary, back to sort of team ownership, team responsibility in terms of designing your way of working. Because leaders are different, right? Some leaders may be better at adapting a style or an approach better than others. Any experience Mary with maybe how you would support a leader in terms of figuring out their ideal way of working, like any interventions? 

Mary Gallagher: Yeah, again what we do is we encourage leaders to use what we call a flex team agreement. So that's really where you know they bring their team into that discussion. So we ask leaders to talk to their team around why are you coming into the office? Is it for heads down work, is it to collaborate? Is it for teaming events? So what we do is we ask them to really flesh out to have, I suppose guiding principles and behaviours that the teams themselves want to live by. So we encourage leaders to really use those flex team agreements as living documents.  

Particularly when we first moved back into the building, it was that transition of maybe people being in the office one day a week because we were spread across different offices to then suddenly maybe being back two or three days a week. And it did take a while to settle in and we found that those flex team agreements really helped teams kind of focus on, what type of work do we want to do when we're in the office, what is it that we want to get out of our time in the office? And really then saying, OK, well, this is focused more around collaboration, it's about peer-to-peer learning, it's about that proximity to your manager. And I think that really helps anchor leaders and their teams to all be on the same page. 

The other thing that we're very cognisant of for Dublin is, we have a large early career population and we do feel it is important, that face time, and that proximity to your manager is really critical for your longer term career building blocks. So again, it's not about just heads down work – obviously sometimes that's what you just need to do – but we really encourage people to come into the office for more than that. And it really is great to see just teams sitting around, you know, talking through a problem, using our project bays, you know, whiteboarding issues and that's really what the building is set up to be 70% collaboration space. 

We're still trying to find the right blend within that, we're now realising OK, maybe slightly too much towards collaboration, we may need a little bit more traditional desk space! But we give high level guidance from the executive level in terms of the average expectation, and then we really leave it to managers to then design that with their teams and to agree on what makes sense for them. So what will make sense for our sales organisation is not going to be what makes sense for our tech and product group or a HR function. So it does vary. And we've also created neighbourhoods, to make it as easy as possible for managers and leaders to really agree ways of working with their team and for them to be as successful as possible. 

Cathal Divilly: And that flex term agreement creates a good sense of ownership for team members and actually forces a discussion around well, how do we exist as a team, like how do we operate, what's important? 

Mary Gallagher: Absolutely. And you know it's a great way because it is a living document, we don't want this to be just a point in time. As things change or as we go through different cycles in the year, that might change. So what it looks like at the end of the quarter versus the start of the quarter, all of that, we really leave it to managers to find the right balance. And we're very pragmatic around that as well.  

I think the other big thing is, the benefit of our success from anywhere strategy during the pandemic was that we really had to also not just rely on real estate. We had to rely on technology and our people strategies together with real estate to kind of unlock, you know, how teams will work together and new ways of really being that high performance culture. We use a lot of our own technology to really support leaders to simplify the employee experience. And I think that's been critical in terms of not just during the pandemic, but as we switch back to more of an in-person experience, we use products like our Slack platform and that's really a central driver of our employee success. So things like for example, I rarely use e-mail now, you know except for Cathal, if you email me, I keep an eye on my e-mail for that! But internally, I use Slack for over 90% of my communication and collaboration, so I probably send less than 10 emails a week at this point.

And Salesforce overall, employees are sending 43% fewer emails than they did pre-pandemic and we've reduced the number of meetings by 20% and it really helps employees feel more connected. But it also means that when they're in the office again, it's not about just being in a meeting room on a call with your teammates who are somewhere else, it's about how you are really prioritising that in-person experience when you are in the office. 

Cathal Divilly: And of course, what we're all pursuing is that level of performance, right, high performance, right, performance is important for every organisation, whatever industry you're in. You touched on it there, Mary, what sort of method structures do you have in place in Salesforce in terms of trying to understand and support those performance levels? 

Mary Gallagher: Yeah. So, you know, at Salesforce, as most companies do, we really look to drive a really high performance culture and we try and balance that with work class execution. As you might expect, we are extremely data-driven and we do measure all elements of what makes performance culture. But I think what is central is how do we ensure that all 70,000 plus employees are moving in the same direction. We do that through what we call our V2MOM, and that stands for vision, values, methods, obstacles and measures. And this is something that Mark Benioff created at the very start of Salesforce, so this has been something that's been part of our 25-year history. And you know, it's been adopted by many other organisations since then. 

It really starts with the CEO and it's about cascading that vision. We have a saying, if it's not in the V2MOM, it's not happening. So this really helps drive our strategy and our execution and the result is that everyone can trace their individual contribution all the way up to the impact that it has on the overall company vision and strategy. And it really helps create purpose, it creates meaning and accountability for all employees, regardless of what role or function or level you might be at. And we track and review progress throughout the year. 

To partner with that, we also believe in ongoing feedback and we do that through quarterly check-ins, individual development plans … And that's also built into the same V2MOM tool. So again, leaders are held accountable for ensuring quarterly check-ins happen, we track to make sure that everyone has published their V2MOM. And it's interesting because, maybe dissimilar to some other companies, you can go in and review the V2MOM of any employee at Salesforce. So it's completely open, you can go in and look at the company V2MOM at a Mark Benioff level, you can look at your manager level, at a peer level, so it really helps to drive that complete picture so that all employees should be really clear in terms of the purpose and expectations for them in their role. 

And again, obviously our real estate does help in terms of acceleration performance. With that though we also, as I mentioned earlier, we also try and make sure performance and wellness are not mutually exclusive. And we've invested a lot in benefits and programmes that really help our employees and their families be happy, healthy … We want to make sure that all employees can bring their best selves to work every day. Actually later this year, hopefully in October, we'll actually be opening the next phase of our Dublin Tower and that's going to include a dedicated wellness space and we're going to partner with vendors to deliver a full range of wellness events, using that space for all of our employees. 

Cathal Divilly: So no matter where I am in the organisation, I can get a sense of connection in terms of the overall Salesforce purpose, which is great, but that transparency about being able to see "for all” is a really big step as well in terms of transparency. Is there anything done then in terms of a community around performance improvement or how we learn together around how we make that extra step and step forward? 

Mary Gallagher: Yeah. And again, Dublin is a little bit unique in terms of its role going forward. So Dublin is actually going to be the home of our in-person onboarding. So we started with some pilots back in April and May and basically all new hires will come to Dublin. They will complete their onboarding in person in Dublin. That commitment has been given by the CEO, our CFO, the money is being invested so that all new hires come to Dublin. The reason is that they can get that cultural immersion from day one. So Dublin is really going to be that example of what it is like to live and breathe Salesforce culture and our role will really be to help new hires get that from day one.  

So they really feel brought into our company and vision and mission. So Dublin is going to be unique. It's going to be one of only a number, you know, four or five hubs globally that will deliver that in-person experience. Also Ireland has over 400 managers so again it's got a big population, a lot of them are first time managers and we're fortunate that Dublin has also been identified as one of our hubs for global enablement, so we will be delivering training to our sales, sales developments, customer success groups in Dublin really around leadership skills and development as it relates to a sales organisation. 

And on a broader level, Dublin will also be the home for the delivery of our people leadership programmes when they restart in the second half of this year. So we're really going to be the epicentre for onboarding, culture, getting that cultural immersion and also, you know, kind of regrouping on what it means to be a great leader, what it means to drive a high performance culture in a new era for Salesforce. So it's really exciting because it's a great opportunity for us to not only use our real estate, but also I think it has a unique culture in Dublin, we have that long legacy, we were the first location outside of the US for Salesforce. So we have a really unique perspective and obviously there's a very warm Irish welcome that I think everyone appreciates as well, so it's great because we're going to be really at the heart of driving that performance culture in a really positive way and making sure that everyone has the tools from early on to be able to execute on that, for themselves individually and for their teams. 

Cathal Divilly: Brilliant. And this is where Ireland can really come into its own in terms of that welcome and that storytelling, that experience, that immersive experience. 

Mary Gallagher: Absolutely. And it’s great, sometimes I joke that I do feel like we’re at Fáilte sometimes because everyone is coming to Dublin! But it's really rewarding when you just see the reaction that people have, it's not just about the bricks and mortar. I think it is that unique sense of community and culture that people experience when they come to Dublin and we really want to make sure that we continue that tradition. And again as we said, we’re only the custodians, we really want to make sure that it's set up for the long term and that others are carrying that, not just through maybe their time in Dublin, but also when then a lot of those who will onboard in Dublin go back to their own locations outside of Ireland and we really want them to carry that back and be advocates down the line as well for the value that Dublin places. 

Cathal Divilly: There's a pay it forward element as well. So I know the journey to equality, that focus on equality is a big focus for Salesforce, right? Have you seen any linkages between the great work you do around equality and performance? 

Mary Gallagher: Yes, absolutely. And you know, equality is something that has been super important for Carolan and I, particularly over the last 12 months. And again, post pandemic and post being in multiple different buildings, we've had to really prioritise reenergising our equality strategy for Ireland. And again, it's something that's probably been the most rewarding part of my first 10 months in the role. At a simple level, we know we have the data and we know that embedding equality into our performance culture, we know that our values differentiate us, we know it helps to inspire our teams to better serve and support our customers and each other with purpose. 

Last year our data demonstrated that having that inclusive culture has a direct impact on our company performance, and our most inclusive sales teams on average had 12% better performance. So as we say, we measure everything. So we've looked at this from all different angles and I think particularly equality and customer success, they’re two of our core values and I think they're absolutely interconnected. And again Marc Benioff from very early on adopted the mantra that business is the greatest platform for change. Ireland has now been designated as one of the six strategic countries as part of our EMEA equality strategy. The approach that we're taking is that 80% of our strategy is driven by global or regional programmes, and then we've developed 20% at a country level with a dedicated task force. 

So we started, we looked at a lot of data. We looked at attrition, we looked at retention, we looked at performance, we looked at productivity … We spent several weeks really getting into the data to really kind of understand where our hotspots were. And you know, we did have to take into account the business context, it has been a difficult year for Salesforce in Ireland. It was the first time we've unfortunately had layoffs and we had to be sensitive to those changes and what it meant for the business. So you know, we weren't doing this with everything is where we want it to be. We understood the impact that that would have. 

And it wasn't just like ES reviewing the data, there was this task force, there was representatives from the business, there was colleagues from recruitment, we had our office of equality were participating in this. So it was a real combination of different perspectives and out of this then we have identified 4 key pillars for Ireland that we will look to advance over the course of this year. The first was around women's advancement and retention and we're starting with looking at our director plus population. As part of this, we're completing focus groups and 1:1 interviews with over 70 employees. And we were really cognisant about not rushing off to create another new programme; we really want to understand what it is that this group need, what are their barriers, what are the obstacles to progression.  

I think this is the first time that we've really looked at that. In the past we kind of looked at the data and said, yeah, you know that programme is going to fix that problem. Now we really want to understand it a lot more holistically and really kind of hear from a broad spectrum of people who are actually living the experience right now, so that we can really then add value in terms of whatever actions and programmes we do deliver on post those sessions and. 

Right now I suppose at a very high level, the sentiment is really positive. So I think firstly, people are absolutely delighted that we're doing this, so I think that sense of being part of this, being given that opportunity to have a voice, to provide input, I think that's really helped. It's not like just something that's coming down from HQ or regional. So I think that's the first wide feedback that we have that people are just really excited that we're taking the time, we're not just rushing something out; we're really looking to really understand.  

And I think overwhelmingly, it's positive. Obviously this will help us really identify where we need to focus, but I think it is nice to hear that, look, overwhelmingly people are positive about their experience, but they want to make it more positive and that's what we want. I think we're just excited in terms of where that can maybe help us refine and really focus our strategy in the second half of the year and also next year, if this is like a longer term strategy, this isn't just a “this fiscal year, fix and run”, it's very much, this is something that we'll see that we'll then look to expand to next levels or different demographics in the organisation.  

So I think the second group then that we really want to prioritise was our employee resource groups and again during the last couple of years, it was really difficult for those groups to keep momentum. So what we've done is we've really focused on supporting our employee resource leads and helping them to align to an overall side strategy with very aligned events. And again, one thing that we as a group agreed on is we really wanted to look at the intersectionality. So it's not just about women, it is not just about, you know, other diverse minority groups. It's like, where do we find the intersectionality, where do we run programmes and events that appeal to those who are part of our outforce community, those who are part of our women's network, those who are part of our boldforce resource groups … So we really wanted to find that intersectionality so that we can appeal to as many people as possible.  

We want to make it easy for people as well, we want to make it easy for people to feel like they're part of that community and we also want to make sure that we can scale and reach as many people as possible. So instead of our resource groups kind of running their own programmes separately, this year we have Pride 40th anniversary, we have 75 people representing Salesforce this Saturday, we're really excited for that and that's going to be supported by all of our resource groups and they're all going to show up for each other. And I think that's something that is really exciting. And I think they really feel as well that impact that it really helps even further enhance the sense of community.  

We also then wanted to make sure that we had exec sponsors for each resource group, so we have senior leaders who help to support each of those groups, making sure that they help them develop their strategy, that they show up to events, that they act as that additional advocate for those groups, and also to help remove any roadblocks that they may have. So we've seen a lot of progress. We're about to have our first quarterly equality business review. So this is our first one and we're just really excited. We're going to have that focal point every quarter where we look back at what we've achieved, what's coming ahead and everyone will have the opportunity then to spotlight and showcase the work that they're doing. So again, it's really around reenergising that sense of community and really using our equality strategy and our equality groups to really enhance that experience of being an employee both at Salesforce, but particularly being an employee for Salesforce in Dublin. 

Cathal Divilly: And that sense of ownership and involvement flowing right through the new solutions to decisions that are being made is great to see Mary. Maybe it's early days but is there anything coming back as to what is it about that diverse team that's actually driving that level of performance? Is it decision making or is there things driving that? 

Mary Gallagher: Yeah, I think the research will show, having a high level of cognitive diversity is hugely important. Having different perspectives, different backgrounds, different work experiences, bringing all of that together, like the value of a team will most times outweigh the individual decisions. Interestingly enough, I'm part of a programme at Smurfit and we did an exercise on this. It was about subarctic survival, and the biggest learning for 26 of us in the room was the team score was always higher than the individual score and that proves, you know, we're looking in Ireland, we're ahead of our global ESG targets for female representation and we're actually at nearly 50% women's representation for new hires this year.  

So again we track and we can see the absolute impact of having diversity of all types within our teams. And you know, it is something that we do track, we do measure, we look at our hotspots. So it is something that it's not just a tick and done. It is something that constantly we're looking at that intersection between, for example we look at the impact of our employee survey results. We look at how those from underrepresented minority groups; women, we look at how they score different to males, we look at non-underrepresented minority groups. So we're very cognisant of really keeping an eye on all of those measures because if we don't measure it, we're not going to improve it.   

And it really drives that accountability at all levels of the organisation, but I think again, having those diversity of experiences, backgrounds, cultures, languages. Sometimes it's hard to quantify – we measure it, but I think all of the research and I think what our experience definitely demonstrates that it has that impact. And I would say it feels like it has more impact than just 12% - that's the average but I think again we can see that correlation, whether it's employee survey results, whether it's productivity results, whether it's sales, delivery results, we see that across all of those measures. 

Cathal Divilly: Thanks Mary. So starting out in your career, you chose to major in HR if you like. Are you happy you chose that path? 

Mary Gallagher: Yeah, I suppose I'm 20 years in and I haven't changed path! I think my other career would have been in the guards, so I don't know whether there's some correlation there, but no, you know, I have to say, I've been very fortunate with the companies I've worked for. I think I'm very fortunate with the people and leaders that I've partnered with so I think I’ll probably stick it out in HR for another while, unless I win the Lotto, might have to change my opinion. But you know, I think it's served me well so far. 

Cathal Divilly: We can all dare to dream about the Lotto, Mary. How do you like to unwind? I know you’re going on holidays soon.  

Mary Gallagher: Yeah. So I do love to travel, I always have a next trip booked. I go to a great little gym in Glastule. We have a great little community, do a lot of training. I'm sure they're worried about the fact I'm not progressing despite my time there! So that’s a great outlet during the week. I've also recently started to kind of get back into reading. So back in the day I was a huge reader on an ongoing basis, and I think sometimes over the years it can be hard when life gets busy to kind of factor that in. So I'm trying to get back to incorporating reading and not just turn to Netflix at the end of the day! So really getting back into that as I said, big Munster fan so, we'll be back on the road this year, hopefully with a spring in our step after the end of the season. So all of that together, I always have something planned. 

Cathal Divilly: Of course, Munster had a great finish to the season. 

Mary Gallagher: We did, we did! So I think that's definitely given us momentum for next season. So looking forward to getting back to Thomond Park. 

Cathal Divilly: Mary, you've been really generous with your time and your insights. Thank you very much for joining us. 

Mary Gallagher: Thank you. Thanks for having us. It was a pleasure.