How Workday made its employees its top priority in the pandemic

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Good morning.

If you want to judge the true tenor of a company, survey its employees. Do that at Workday, and you’ll find a truly exceptional organization. Year after year, the enthusiasm of employees at the cloud-based software company earn it a spot near the top of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Credit goes to CEO and co-founder Aneel Bhusri, who is this week’s guest on our podcast, Leadership Next (Apple/Spotify). A sign of his approach to business came shortly after the coronavirus hit. Workday was one of the first to send workers home, but it also gave them each a bonus equal to two weeks’ pay, to help deal with extraordinary expenses. “In a crisis, the first thing you do is fall back on core values,” Bhusri says. “And we’ve always had employees as number one.”

Bhusri is a strong advocate of the stakeholder approach to business. “Companies should have a soul,” he says. “I believe in this environment, companies are stepping up to do the right thing”–for employees, for shareholders, for customers, and for their communities. “Companies should have a soul and need to step up in tough times…You see business leaders taking on things that historically governments took on, and they are being quite effective.”

Separately, I’ve written before that one of the heroes of the pandemic is a man who habitually avoids claiming credit–Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. A Wall Street Journal story published yesterday shows his efforts have not only supported the U.S. economy, but the global economy as well. “During two critical mid-March weeks, [the Fed] bought a record $450 billion in Treasuries from investors desperate to raise dollars,” the Journal reported. “By April, the Fed had lent another nearly half a trillion dollars to counterparts overseas.” The little-noticed actions helped ease a global dollar shortage and establish the U.S. central bank as the world’s “lender of last resort.”

While many have commented on the declining influence of the U.S. in the world, when it comes to the world financial system, the U.S.–and the dollar–still reign supreme.

Other news below, including the latest in the battle over TikTok.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

[email protected]

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