Richard Branson: The best way to engage employees

Sir Richard Branson sits in an armchair looking deep in thought with his chin resting on his hand. He is wearing a light blue, casual button down shirt
Branson family
Image of Jack Preston
by Jack Preston
9 November 2016

Whether you’re a first time entrepreneur or an experienced business leader, getting the best out of your employees and getting them to engage with the business can be tricky at times. Here the Virgin Group founder shares his top tips...

"There’s no secret formula for entrepreneurial success, but I tell everyone who is starting out in business that they must put purpose and passion at the heart of their plans. We spend about 80 per cent of our waking lives at work, so it’s important that we do what we love and love what we do," writes Richard Branson in a recent blog.

"But it’s also important that you figure out a way to turn what you love doing into something that benefits others. This will align your business better with the needs of your customers, as well as give you a competitive edge."

Purpose is something which has been given a lot of airtime as of late, but how does it actually benefit your business? For the Virgin Group it’s a key tool in getting the best out of employees, as Richard Branson explains.

"Purposeful businesses also have, in general, significantly higher rates of employee engagement, retention and productivity. And while you might not be in a position to employ people just yet, it’s important to think about structuring your business with purpose at its core, as this will improve your future prospects.

"Once you’ve created a business that offers a product or service that truly resonates with customers, you’ll need to hire people to help grow the enterprise. Seek out people who understand your passion, want to add to your ideas and can envision ways to make improvements."

When it comes to finding those people, Branson offers up a couple key factors that you need to take into consideration when starting the search.

"Focus in particular on people who have strong views on how to scale up your business. But make sure that they have the skills and presence of mind to push the company forward in the short term and the ability to manage crucial day-to-day tasks. Most importantly, hire people who you’ll feel comfortable delegating to. That will give you more time to get out there and discover new ways of thinking and new places to take your business.

"Modern entrepreneurship - in particular, the creation of businesses driven by an equal concern for people, profit and the planet - is an inclusive and sustainable path for economic stability. What’s more, new businesses support productive and empowered employees."