It’s no secret that Sir Richard Branson, an English business magnate/investor/philanthropist/founder of the Virgin Group, is my hero. Why? Because he is a CEO who “gets it” and has the courage to shout his thoughts from the rooftop. What’s “it?” Branson understands that in order for a company to flourish, it must put employees first because engaged workers breed engaged customers. By putting employees first, you are essentially putting customers first.
Imagine my delight when I recently flew from the United States to Malaysia to speak about the global employee disengagement crisis and the least expensive 19-hour flight was on Virgin America. It wasn’t the cost of the flight that excited me, it was the opportunity to experience Branson’s vision of what airline travel should be and interact with his No. 1 priority – his people.
From the moment I boarded the plane, everything was different. I was greeted by soft blue and pink mood lighting, and was welcomed to my seat by “Red,” Virgin’s interactive portal.
Red is quite the brand ambassador for Virgin. In addition to serving up movies, TV shows and games, it enables you to tap “Eat” and order food that’s delivered right to your seat. And if that isn’t enough, you can treat anyone on the plane to a snack, meal or cocktail using Red’s seat-to-seat delivery feature (move over Match.com). Nice vision that you turned into a reality, Branson, but what’s it like interacting with your employees?
In one word – wonderful. Adorned in stylish red dresses, the crew was attentive, sophisticated, efficient, professional, attractive and warm. Clearly, they were engaged and I immediately knew I chose the right carrier for my marathon journey abroad. Kudos, Sir Richard Branson, for getting it. If you were here, I’d use Red to thank you for your leadership.
BE AWESOME! What’s your vision for your business and for your people? I’ve never met a leader who doesn’t have a vision for what they want their business to be when it grows up, but I meet leaders every day who don’t have a vision for their most valuable asset – their people. If you don’t know where to start, Red can’t help on this one, but I can. Let’s start the conversation and you’ll soon be following in the footsteps of Branson, driving enormous levels of customer satisfaction, retention and profitable revenue growth.
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She was recently named a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.