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Bosses, now is the time to show employees your company’s values

In a crisis, employees expect leaders to do more than recite their core beliefs; they have to act on them, says Workday’s chief people officer


“You don’t know what you don’t know.” This saying could not be more true right now as the coronavirus continues to impact every aspect of life: how we live, work, and interact with each other. What we do know is that the actions companies take today—and how businesses react to making tough decisions—will shape their corporate cultures and brand reputations, long after we emerge from this crisis.

As the chief people officer at Workday, I—along with the rest of the leadership team—am helping lead our employees through this unprecedented time. Once COVID-19 began to spread in the United States, we understood almost immediately that we had to be more than a source of information; we had to be a source of comfort and emotional support for our employees.

Our managers take pride in being really good at their day jobs, overseeing teams of engineers, running marketing or accounting departments, and supervising other functions you would find at any fast-growing tech company. But to lead people in crisis, we all had to rally around our company’s values and find ways to adhere to those core beliefs, especially when work became difficult or chaotic. Here are a few of the lessons we’ve quickly learned about our values—and about ourselves.

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