Greg Samios, CEO of Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S., on making employees really count

Employee engagement is a key tool for Greg Samios. (Wolters Kluwer)

Since joining Wolters Kluwer as CEO of its Legal & Regulatory U.S. division three years ago, Greg Samios has accelerated his employee engagement efforts to make staff feel needed and appreciated.

These measures have boosted employee morale and paid off in greater productivity and light turnover.

“I want employees to enjoy what they do and be engaged in what they do, mainly because more engaged employees are more productive and drive better company results,” Samios told FierceCEO.

Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. provides lawyers, compliance professionals and law students with software and content to put together briefs and contracts, among other things.

Samios came to Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. from Kaplan Test Prep, where he was president of health programs. He has also held senior executive positions in professional publishing at Reed Elsevier (now RELX Group) and was senior vice president of strategy and development for Elsevier Health Sciences.

When he arrived at the division, “It seemed like there was a big piece missing,” Samios said. “In any organization, you hear about revenue and profits, but you don’t hear about employee engagement. I think that is a very important metric.”

So, he set up a program with his executive team, showing them the importance of an engaged employee base, and also established six teams across the company, which has between 600 and 700 employees, to make them a part of the effort.

The goal was to improve worker satisfaction through measures like recognition programs, bringing speakers in, company outings like bowling nights and upgrading facilities.

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“It really made a difference,” Samios said. The company said voluntary turnover was over 9% when Samios joined, and has been 5% to 6% for the past two years.

Samios said he “consistently challenges the teams” and allocates money for things like training and events. “No idea from them is too small or too large,” Samios said. “It's crucial to listen to everything the team proposes, and try to fund as many ideas as possible.” 

He also meets with employees “frequently” in large and small groups to hear how they are doing.

Engagement scores from surveys the company takes annually have gone up 20 points on a 100-point scale, Samios said.

The company also uses more frequent, targeted pulse surveys to collect data, assess successes and weaknesses and work to remediate and improve efforts. 

“Our goal is to make people feel good about where they work and more engaged in the work they are doing,” Samios said.


Fast Five with Greg Samios

When did you know you wanted to be a CEO?

In business school. I really liked solving problems, and at the CEO level there was a good opportunity to solve some really big problems.

What keeps you up at night?

Ensuring my business stays ahead of the changing technology landscape.

What is the chief trait of a leader?

Integrity. If you don’t believe your leader has high integrity there is no way you can follow them.

How do you hire?

I like to ask candidates something they’ve worked hard at and failed. It lets me understand if they’ve challenged themselves in the past and if they are comfortable talking about failure.

How important is diversity?

Very. At the senior level and the workforce as we are hiring it is a priority.