gender parity, freedom and responsibility, wonder at life rule at virgin disruptors event

April 23, 2015

in wellness

three hours of discussion about workplace well-being at today’s virgin disruptors event and here’s what i didn’t hear: health risk assessment, biometrics, incentives, penalties, health care, health risk reduction, ROI.

the lineup told you this panel on workplace well-being would not be your typical one. arranged by richard branson and the virgin group, the main panel was rounded out with sheryl sandberg (facebook/, tony hsieh (zappos), arianna huffington (the huffington post), jim clifton (gallup), and jackie reses (yahoo). the “warm-up acts” were BJ fogg (stanford), rachel thomas (, and a panel on happiness and joy with patty mccord (formerly of netflix), duane bray (IDEO), and raul leal (virgin hotels).

naturally, actual HR policies came up. arianna huffington mentioned their email policy that makes clear email should not be checked after work, and referenced a new policy that ensures employees see no emails while on vacation. sheryl sandberg highlighted facebook’s four-month paid leave employees can take anytime during baby’s first year. (she was of course asked about facebook’s egg-freezing benefit.) virgin’s unlimited vacation time benefit was mentioned. zappo’s holocracy progress.

but no time was spent debating how to engage employees in challenges, incent them to complete a health risk assessment, measure their biometrics. it’s not as if these companies don’t do these things. after all, richard branson owns virgin pulse. zappos touts onsite health screenings and wellness coaches on inside zappos. yahoo gave employees a free jawbone up if they agreed to walk 100 miles in 30 days.

but what these leaders of hugely successful and innovative companies suggested is that well-being is affected by one’s freedom and responsibility to do amazing things, one’s ability to bring one’s whole self to work and wonder at life, one’s right to have and attend to family, one’s firm knowledge that the customer experience and the employee experience align, and one’s just expectation that pay is not a gender issue.

how profound is that?






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