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Corporate Wellness

Sir Richard Branson talks employee wellbeing with millennial workplace expert Dan Schawbel

Millennial career and workplace expert and NY Times Bestselling Author, Dan Schawbel recently sat down with Sir Richard Branson to discuss the value and importance of Why Companies Should Care About The Wellbeing of Their Employees and how Virgin Pulse is leading the initiative globally.

Branson, Founder & Chair of the Virgin Group, has been a long-standing believer in actively working towards better health every single day. When you take the time to relax and recharge, you can bring your best self to both your personal and professional life. Just last year, Branson took his entire family on a backpacking adventure across Switzerland enjoying the beautiful scenery, outdoor adventure, mental relaxation and time with loved ones.

Branson fundamentally believes that a healthy lifestyle is foundational to productivity. When asked about the correlation between employee wellbeing and the bottom line, Branson stated, “We have a company in Boston called Virgin Pulse that encourages companies to get their employees healthy and fit. It also saves companies money because it reduces their insurance bill and means that people are not going to be off sick so often. It’s quite an easy sell to companies. Any good and sensible company and will come up with clever ways to try to incentivise their employees to get fit. We give people air miles for flying a lot, so we should give people miles and rewards for keeping healthy and fit.”

In the interview, Branson also highlights the importance of valuing employee wellbeing including the physical workplace and schedule. “If you want to have flexible working, with 50% work, 50% home, you should be able to do that, or job share with somebody, you should be able to do that. An employer is only going to get proper rewards from an employee if they love what they’re doing.” Beyond flexibility, Branson has underscored the importance of purpose-driven work. “The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated. People want to work on projects that mean something to them and be surrounded by colleagues who treat them with the respect they deserve. If all companies took this approach then employee wellbeing ratings would be much higher.”

With workplace stress levels at an all-time high and employee engagement levels at an all-time low, these philosophies on employee wellbeing and engagement have never been more critical. Business leaders must consider how to show employees they’re valued and have a purpose within the organisation to drive productivity and retain talent.

Interested in learning more about the future of wellbeing and engagement? Check out our upcoming 2018 Predictions in Wellbeing, featuring thought leaders from around the world.

Lindsey Hudson is a Marketing Communications Manager at Virgin Pulse. She enjoys weightlifting, playing the piano and baking in her spare time.