‘Expectations have been significantly raised’: What CEOs think about the increasing focus on employee wellness

October 28, 2022, 10:08 AM UTC
Updated October 28, 2022, 10:09 AM UTC
Francis deSouza, chief executive officer of Illumina Inc.
Francis deSouza, chief executive officer of Illumina Inc., during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California on Oct. 19, 2021.
Kyle Grillot—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Good morning, and happy Friday.

One of the most important changes in business that has arisen from the ashes of the pandemic is an increased focus on employee “wellness.” And the definition of that phrase has broadened significantly. A CEO roundtable held by Fortune and Salesforce yesterday highlighted the importance of the trend. Some excerpts:

“I would say that it’s really about the future. It’s really about: what does health and safety need to look like as we think about the economy where it’s at, as we think about the conversations around mental health, and frankly, productivity, and employee retention and acquisition. We want the best talent, we want them to stay with us and we want them to thrive with us because we know that that’s the same we’re going to give our customers and be able to do as a business.”
Geeta Nayyar, chief medical officer, Salesforce

“So this concept of Mind, Body, Spirit—an example would be something we’ve recently implemented where once a month, our physicians come into a grand round setting and talk about how they have felt from a behavioral and mental health perspectivethe stresses and the strains that they have felt through COVID and in a post-COVID world.”
John Couris, CEO, Tampa General Hospital

Employee wellness is an imperative. It is one of the criteria that people use to choose a job and whether to stay at a job or not. And it covers a lot of ground…Safety was sort of the lowest bar…to help us navigate through the pandemic safely and make sure the environment is safe. But it also covers psychological safety and emotional safety. And even that’s too low a bar now. You have expectations that have been significantly raised around employees’ needs for agency and flexibility. And they start talking to us around articulating what the business does, in a purpose-driven way. People are looking for companies that have a mission that they can connect to.”
Francis deSouza, CEO, Illumina 

People want to have purpose at work. And when you’re transparent and trusting of your employees…they understand that you’re going to bring your total unique self to work, and that you’re going to provide flexibility in work hours, whether it’s in the office or working from home… People understanding that we embrace their uniqueness actually drives better connection to the company and better employee performance.”
—Michelle Keefe, CEO, Syneos Health

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Alan Murray



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This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. 

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