Six years ago this week, we launched Thrive Global with the mission to end the stress and burnout epidemic. I love using birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones to reflect — both on the progress we’ve made in the past year and how we can use what we’ve learned for the years ahead. And that’s what I’m doing as Thrive marks our sixth anniversary. It comes in the middle of a profound culture shift — a Human Energy Revolution founded on the science of how humans actually achieve peak performance and what we need to live a thriving life. 

Collectively, we’ve come a long way in the past six years, no longer seeing employee well-being as a warm and fuzzy perk, but as an essential strategy for success. But it’s also clear we still have a long way to go. At Thrive, we’ve been driving this shift forward for our growing global customer base with a unique combination of our behavior change technology and cultural activation that embeds well-being into the fabric of our customers’ employee experience and workflow. Guided by our brilliant Chief Product Officer Christopher O’Donnell, we’re building cutting-edge products used by companies like Accenture, Pfizer, Microsoft, Salesforce, Bank of America, Cisco, Hilton, P&G, Paramount, and Walmart. But even the most innovative and sophisticated software can’t transform a company’s culture if it’s not integrated into employees’ daily lives. It then needs to be paired with leadership that role models and inspires behavior change and an acknowledgment that we are more than our work. That’s why I’m so grateful to be working with forward-thinking partners who are leading the culture shift, bringing Thrive’s whole human approach to their companies so that we can support their people at work and at home — as parents, as caregivers, with their sleep, food and movement as well as in their relationships (including their relationship with their phones!). Again and again, we’re seeing clear evidence that helping employees reduce stress, connect to their larger sense of purpose, and make time for the things that bring them joy in turn helps drive greater business performance.

Human Insights, Powered by Meeting Users Where They Are

As Thrive has grown, we’ve built up a first-rate product and engineering team from Boston and Dublin to San Francisco and New York. And our platform has evolved into an integrated suite of products that come alive in the workflow, with a robust data engine at the center. The launch of Thrive for Microsoft Teams and Thrive for Slack has fueled dramatic growth in users and engagement by allowing us to meet our users where they are. That engagement starts with one simple question each day — Thrive’s Pulse check — which prompts a moment of reflection and serves as the entry point to Thrive’s platform. There are dozens of different questions, some about personal well-being, some about work. Depending on the employee’s response, Thrive offers personalized Microsteps and content recommendations. These responses are then aggregated and anonymized into a dashboard that gives leaders unprecedented real-time insights into their people’s mental health and well-being. We launched Pulse check in April, and by November, we’ve had over 1 million Pulse check conversations with employees in 73 countries around the world.

Six years after our launch, we now have a data engine that proves the idea I founded the company on: that taking care of our well-being actually improves our performance. Since launching Pulse check, we’ve seen a 6x increase in users taking advantage of the Thrive platform, including Microsteps, storytelling, Resets, Learn content and Challenges. Employees engaging with the platform have also seen:

  • 76% increase in productivity
  • 102% increase in engagement
  • 104% increase in burnout prevention
  • 233% increase in stress management 

Supporting Frontline Workers

One of the most effective features of the Thrive platform is Thrive Reset, which helps users prevent cumulative stress by taking breaks of just 60 to 90 seconds. And one of the most powerful uses of Thrive Reset is Thrive for Support Teams, which launched this year and brings our 60-second Reset product directly into the workflow for contact center representatives. Contact centers are one of the most stressful places to work, with high rates of burnout — in a study from Cornell University, 87% of contact center agents report high stress and 40% turn over each year. Thrive for Support Teams is helping combat contact center stress, stopping burnout in its tracks by pushing a Thrive Reset to agents at the moments during their day when they need it most. We’ve partnered with contact center leader Genesys to launch Thrive for Genesys, making it simple for Genesys customers to implement Thrive for Support Teams and begin seeing results, both for individual well-being and for business metrics. Since launching eight months ago, we’ve seen a 98% engagement rate with our product, and increases of 10% in agent productivity, 15% in employee satisfaction and 20% in employee well-being. 

Our team at Thrive is passionate about ensuring that it’s not just corporate and office workers who get to experience the benefits of well-being. That’s why in addition to our work in contact centers, we’ve been working with distribution centers, manufacturing facilities and retail stores around the world to bring Thrive to essential frontline workers, who face an entirely different set of workplace challenges. We’ve worked with BJ Fogg, Behavioral Science chair of Thrive’s Scientific Advisory Board and the director of Stanford’s Behavior Design Lab, to add compelling behavior and game dynamics to make our products stickier and more appealing to frontline workers. 

And we’ve continued to see incredible success stories of courage, connection and transformation coming out of the Thrive Challenge at Walmart, inspiring others to improve their lives one Microstep at a time. Together, these Grand Champions have been awarded $50,000 for the positive impact they’re making in their lives and the lives of their communities. “I’ve lost 45 pounds, but it’s about so much more than just the weight loss,” said Grand Champion Kathryn Carpitcher. “Once you start the Thrive Challenge, it changes your whole life. I look at myself with a lot more kindness and compassion. Before I started this journey, I felt like I was just getting by. But now I’m thriving rather than surviving.” Building on the success of the Thrive Challenge for frontline workers at Walmart over the past 2.5 years, we’re now making the Challenge available to other frontline workforces to support their daily well-being.

The Thrive Global Foundation, which has been part of the company since day one, is another reflection of our deeply-held commitment to reaching diverse audiences and making giving part of what we do. Through the Foundation, we’ve brought Thrive’s behavior change solutions and technology to nonprofit staff, first responders, teachers, students, and other populations in need. This year alone, the Foundation has provided its nonprofit partners with 2,100 free licenses to the Thrive platform and more than 100 custom Microsteps. And since its launch in the early days of the pandemic, our #FirstRespondersFirst initiative — in partnership with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Creative Artists Agency — has raised over $10.5 million to provide physical and psychological resources to first responders and healthcare workers. The Foundation has also created meaningful ways for Thrive employees to support nonprofit organizations and causes they care about through volunteer days, donation matchesresource guides and more.

World-Class Learning Programs For Everyone, Everywhere

To help parents and their children navigate uncertain times with less stress and more joy, we launched Thriving Kids in partnership with Pfizer for their 90,000 employees.

With Accenture we launched Nourish to Thrive, which explores the fascinating science of cognitive nutrition, a growing body of science on the food-brain connection as one of the most powerful drivers of overall well-being. And with Bank of America we launched Thriving Onboarding, which leverages one of the most important touchpoints of the employee experience to create a culture of connection, well-being and resilience from day one. 

Our latest new curriculum Thriving Belonging is based on the latest science on belonging and provides strategies for navigating cultural changes in the workplace. It’s grounded in two fundamental truths: first, that it’s up to all of us to create more inclusive workplaces, and second, that we’re all going to make mistakes. What’s especially exciting is that Thriving Belonging was powered by insights from Thrive’s Pulse check, which found that 92% of Thrive users say that they “welcome feedback about how I treat others” and 87% say that “it is my responsibility to make my workplace welcoming to everyone.” 

Our platform is available and continuously localized in 10 languages, and our commitment to accessibility across our platform was recognized with a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). Making Thrive available to everyone, everywhere, has given so much energy to the Thrive team throughout this incredible year of growth. 

A Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity

This is an exciting time at Thrive. The themes at the heart of our mission have become among the most urgent issues of our time. And now the world is at an inflection point. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius famously said, “A person’s worth is measured by the worth of what he values.” This rings true for companies also. For all the progress we’ve made, we still face significant headwinds. In a challenging economic climate, companies are looking at all aspects of their business — and we run the risk of rolling back the gains that have been made in recent years. That’s why Thrive launched our Mental Health Pledge in partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), with leaders from over 100 companies, reaffirming their commitment to prioritize the well-being and mental health of employees through the uncertain times that lie ahead. 

At the same time, dominating the business news over the last month has been the burnoutdriven decision-making by Elon Musk at Twitter. It’s only the most glaring example that there are still plenty of burnout deniers out there. We’ve had the science on the dangers of burnout and how humans use energy, recharge, and achieve peak performance for decades. But cultures don’t shift automatically to align with science, and change is rarely linear.

We’re in the middle of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to truly change how we live and work. We know people want change. We can see it in trends like quiet quitting a rejection of burnout and hustle culture, but not a solution. The answer is to use all the tools at our disposal — cutting-edge AI, ancient wisdom, storytelling, Microsteps, connection and community — to create a world in which people are engaged in their work but not defined by it. But this new world is not guaranteed. We need to double down on the gains we’ve made as a culture. I’ve never been more confident that we can fully deliver on our mission to end the stress and burnout epidemic. And that’s why I’m so inspired by all the opportunities in the year ahead. I know we’ll get there, but sooner is better than later, because the stakes are so high. As we say at Thrive, onward, upward and inward!

Author(s)

  • Arianna Huffington

    Founder & CEO of Thrive

    Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books, including Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. In 2016, she launched Thrive, a leading behavior change tech company with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. She has been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on numerous boards, including Onex and The B Team. Her last two books, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time, both became instant international bestsellers. Most recently, she wrote the foreword to Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive: End Burnout, Increase Well-being, and Unlock Your Full Potential with the New Science of Microsteps.