Virgin Pulse Review: Is It Worth It? [Insider Facts]

Virgin Pulse Review: Is It Worth It? [Insider Facts]

Over the last 15 years, all business leaders have heard the name ‘Virgin Pulse’ at one point or another.

Since 2004, this company’s primary goal has been to encourage employees to make better lifestyle choices.

By developing software services that employees can easily access, Virgin Pulse gives them a gentle reminder that they can stay on top of their professional lives while keeping fit.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that throughout the years, employers have sought partnerships with this company.

After all, the perks are endless.

From the employees’ perspective, having access to such a unique platform makes them feel valued at your company.

It also lets them know that you care about their general wellbeing both on and off the job.

For employers, offering such a relevant service to your staff is an attractive incentive that will improve your employee retention.

But what’s the deal?

Should you bother to partner with this company? What are people saying about Virgin Pulse?

If you want to know whether Virgin Pulse is worth it, you’ve come to the right place.

Welcome to the ultimate Virgin Pulse review.

We’ll cover the basics of Virgin Pulse before we give you the final verdict so that you can get a comprehensive understanding of this company.

Let’s get right into it.

Virgin Pulse Review: A Reader’s Guide

Before I dive into the nitty-gritty of this Virgin Pulse Review, here’s a roundup of what I’m going to discuss:

  1. What is Virgin Pulse?
  2. Virgin Pulse For Businesses: How It Works
  3. Breaking Down The Virgin Pulse Platforms
  4. Virgin Pulse: Is It Worth It?
  5. Giving Employees The Supreme Benefits Package
  6. FutureFuel – The Student Debt Crusher
  7. Virgin Pulse – Wrapping It All Up

Without further ado, let’s answer the million-dollar question: just what is Virgin Pulse?

What is Virgin Pulse?

Virgin Pulse is a global entity which designs and creates technology geared towards improving a person’s wellbeing.

It happens to be a subsidiary of Virgin Group Ltd, a multinational capital conglomerate started by Sir Richard Branson and Nik Powell.

In 2004, Virgin Pulse was launched as an answer to the vast number of health issues that were affecting employees in organizations all over the country.

During that time, all employers were worried about two things: absenteeism and presenteeism of their staff.

To explain, absenteeism refers to employees who miss work either due to health reasons or some urgent personal matter which clashes with their work schedule.

On the other hand, presenteeism describes when employees underperform at work because of a medical ailment that they’re suffering from.

For years, businesses had understood that absenteeism of their staff came at a cost. This is because when a member of your staff is absent, your business loses 100% of that staff member’s productivity.

workplace absenteeism

That said, things weren’t so clear-cut when it came to figuring out the cost of presenteeism.

In one report, statisticians worked out this cost to be around $180 billion annually in lost productivity.


Presenteeism - the invisible costs

Given the context, you can understand why over 1,440 clients have used Virgin Pulse as of 2019.

According to their website, 87% of their 2.1 million members claim that since Virgin Pulse came into their lives, they have not been the same.

They also boast a 95% retention rate on existing clients.

Those clients seem to be raving about the company’s technology solutions.

But how do they work? Just what are the solutions that Virgin Pulse offers?

Let’s find out.

Virgin Pulse For Businesses: How It Works

As I mentioned, Virgin Pulse is all about helping employees make smarter decisions for their overall health.

How does Virgin Pulse do it?

Easy: they create multiple, attractive products and market them to companies who see the value that they will bring to their workers.

At present, they offer five similar-yet-distinct programs that foster healthy lifestyle habits among employees.

These programs make up what they call their ‘Virgin Pulse Product Suite’. Businesses can select any of these and offer them as part of a benefits package.

Beneficiaries can access any of these five packages from Virgin Pulse’s desktop website, mobile app, or fitness tracker.

They are as follows:

  • Virgin Pulse Core – Employees who are at risk for different health diseases are the main targets of this package. Virgin Pulse Core issues disease management programs and resources to beneficiaries of this program. That way, they get to keep up by understanding their health risks and what they need to do to get help.
  • Virgin Pulse Ignite – Virgin Pulse Ignite sparks that competitive edge among your employees. This package uses corporate challenges that must be done by several members of your staff. These challenges are all related to doing something healthy. For example, under this program, employees can compete to see who does the most number of steps in a day. They will use their fitness tracker to determine who’s leading.
  • Virgin Pulse Engage – This package aims to instill long-term healthy habits among employees, something which will positively impact on your workers’ productivity in the long run. Featuring tools that build daily habits into the user, the Virgin Pulse Package also has strong customization properties that zone in on the specific needs of each user.
  • Virgin Pulse Hub – As the name suggests, the Virgin Pulse Hub is a portal which acts as a central hub, disseminating health resources, tools, and information to all employees who are on board. Although it is a centralized communications hub, Virgin Pulse has tried to eliminate the ‘one size fits all’ issue that affects similar programs by including options for streamlined, authentic consumer experiences.
  • Virgin Pulse Global Challenge – Take this to be the ‘Virgin Pulse Engage’ program on steroids. The Virgin Pulse Global Challenge is meant to provide employees with the tools to build healthy habits to last a lifetime. This package is all-encompassing in the sense that it provides employees with information on every aspect of health, including physical activity, diet, nutrition, rest, as well as mental wellness.

These are the programs which you can offer as part of your compensation package for your staff.

In all fairness, the programs are attractive: these are perks that show employee appreciation and help to boost employee morale.

Nowadays, people are conscious of the need to optimize their physical and mental health.

6 years ago, Forbes reported a study conducted by Workforce Management Magazine and Virgin Health Miles. That study revealed that close to 80% of employees believed that wellness programs had a positive effect on the working environment.

Those findings still stand today.

Still, as appealing as these programs are, we still have to take a look at the platforms that Virgin Pulse uses: their desktop website, mobile app, and fitness tracker.

Breaking Down The Virgin Pulse Platforms

Now, it’s time to turn our attention to the platforms that Virgin Pulse beneficiaries use to access their perks.

Let’s break them down one by one.

  • Virgin Pulse Desktop – Up first is Virgin Pulse’s website. Users who have desktops or laptops can use this website to get all of Virgin Pulse’s benefits. Members can log into the site’s portal and retrieve all their personal data at a moment’s notice. 

Users haven’t offered much commentary on the website as most of their reviews have been centered around the mobile app and fitness tracker. That said, they did mention that they had liked the option of accessing Virgin Pulse across three different platforms. In fact, one reviewer appreciated the fact that users could integrate their data on all of these platforms.

  • Virgin Pulse Mobile App – Now, let’s move on to what has polarized users the most: the Virgin Pulse Mobile App. Virgin Pulse members can download the app on their smartphones to stay connected to Virgin Pulse in much the same way as they would with Virgin Pulse’s website.

For a lot of users, they love that they can use Virgin Pulse from a device that they’re connected to all the time: their smartphones. Some also praised the app for the persistent reminders and encouragement it gave them through push-messages to stay on top of their health goals.

However, as you can imagine, not everyone is happy with the app. Users have expressed their frustration at the app’s incompatibility with other fitness apps. Others described the app as being very ‘glitchy’ as it often had difficulty connecting with the Virgin Pulse Fitness tracker. Granted, there are users who are sympathetic to the Virgin Pulse app as it is relatively new. The hope is that the IT team will work on rectifying these bugs so that users don’t experience these flaws in the near future.

  • Virgin Pulse Fitness Tracker – Back in 2014, Virgin Pulse issued a press release announcing the arrival of ‘Virgin Pulse Max’, the official fitness tracker for Virgin Pulse.
  • The app was marketed as a tool which enhanced the Virgin Pulse fitness experience, namely allowing users to create multiple fitness challenges that are customized based on a user’s needs. For the most part, people are happy with the tracker, lauding Virgin Pulse for creating a useful add-on to their fitness service.

Having said that, there have been a few complaints from people who used the app. In one review, a user noted that the fitness tracker’s settings have a tendency to reset at random periods. That and the sheer magnitude of options given by the app was an overload to those who wanted a more simplistic interface.

With differing opinions on Virgin Pulse, it’s easy to understand why employers are thinking twice about their service.

Here’s our verdict.

Virgin Pulse: Is It Worth It?

In short, a partnership between your business and Virgin Pulse can only benefit you and your employees.

Just ask any HR manager who specializes in compensation management: the key to employee retention isn’t an occasional salary increase or a pat on the back when a staff member accomplishes a goal: it’s in your benefits package.

Employees love perks. if your’s are relevant to their needs and wants, they’ll want to continue working with you.

Rest assured that Virgin Pulse meets that criteria. Physical and mental health are some of your employees’ top priorities. Offering them a service that keeps them looking and feeling healthy is a step in the right direction.

The complaints about glitches and other bugs are minor defects which we can be sure that the Virgin Pulse team will be resolving in the periodic updates and maintenance that they do of their products.

There is, however, a ‘but’ in the equation that you need to factor in.

Although offering services from Virgin Pulse to your employees is great, what Virgin Pulse brings to the table isn’t everything your staff wants.

You can do one-up on a Virgin Pulse partnership by collaborating with an additional company that targets exactly what your employees are looking for from your business: help with their student loans.

Giving Employees the Supreme Benefits Package

The student debt situation in the U.S is critical. There’s no point in sugar-coating it.

A report from Forbes reveals that the U.S government is dealing with a whopping $1.5 trillion student debt crisis.

As horrifying as that is, it gets worse: a study from the Institute for College Access & Success showed that in 2017, the average student loan borrower was in the hole for $28,650.

What’s more, with student debt steadily on the rise, the amount owed by the average borrower will increase.

Therefore, as debt-riddled graduates enter the workforce, they’re not just looking for a company that understands their problem. Rather, they’re looking for leaders who will do something about it.

As a business leader, you need to create a compelling benefits package that covers your employees’ needs on all fronts, and that includes helping employees with student loans.

That involves careful study of your staff as well as frequent consultation with your management team, something which can be long, arduous, and challenging.

There are lots of enterprises that your company can partner with to get your employees the assistance that they need with student loans.

FutureFuel is one of them.

FutureFuel: Student Loan Repayment Benefits

FutureFuel works to help employers offer student debt repayment programs to incentive higher employee retention and engagement.

Laurel Taylor used her experience as an active contributor on the Student Debt Task Force to bring this company to life.

Backed by a team of debt-crushing experts, Laurel has high hopes for FutureFuel. The company hopes to eliminate $30 billion in student debt over the next two years.

The team is always ready to share with other companies just how they can provide solutions to their staff’s student debt issues.

A Virgin Pulse Review Conclusion

To bring this review of Virgin Pulse to a close, I’ll reiterate the following: you should consider offering it as part of your benefits package.

Without a doubt, the offer meets the criteria of what your staff is looking for when it comes to compensation: attractive, relevant, and worth their while.

In doing so, if you’re looking at creating the pinnacle of what a compensation package should be, don’t just stop at offering your staff the benefits of Virgin Plus: go one step further and add in the amenities that FutureFuel brings to employees suffering from student debt.

By partnering with both Virgin Pulse and FutureFuel, you’ll be covering two major demands that your employees have: a health package and a student loan repayment option.

But act fast! Otherwise, you might lose the very workers that you’re trying to keep.