2020 presented leaders with many surprises—lots of challenges, and opportunities—forcing them to think differently and evolve their roles and organizations. Whether it was supporting employees through the shift to remote work due to COVID-19, ensuring seamless business continuity, communicating authentically, maintaining employee engagement, or operating with agility, it was a hard year, but not without silver linings.
Being part of the team to help lead Workday through 2020 has taught me so much both personally and professionally, and as I reflect on what I’ve learned, there are key lessons worth sharing that I’ll carry into this year.
Rising to Change
Embracing agility and innovation is critical in today’s ever-changing world. Our Workday products became even more critical as companies across the globe needed innovative ways to support their employees and effectively operate their businesses from their living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms. I have the pleasure of leading our Workday on Workday team, which is the team that drives the use of our own products for Workday employees. I know first hand how much we relied on our own products internally through a historic year.
For the first time ever, we closed our quarter virtually using Workday Financial Management and constantly leveraged the iterative finance modeling of Workday Adaptive Planning. We utilized Workday People Experience to keep our employees informed about COVID-19. Throughout the year, we kept security at the forefront of all that we do, helping ensure our employees, and those of our customers, could continue to do their jobs securely in remote environments.
Once it was clear we could ensure productivity for employees, we focused on driving key cross-functional initiatives. In some ways, given restrictions like no travel, leaders across Workday (and across the industry) were more accessible, making it easier to collaborate and drive immediate progress. We also used the rise in external collaboration to crowdsource best practices and share knowledge on how companies were working through their response.
Last year gave me a great opportunity to connect with other CIOs to understand how they activated and iterated their plans, and which investments continue to take priority (including those specific to the pandemic such as contact tracing). The flow of information has been endless—I’ve never seen collaboration on such a frequent and recurring basis. When we talk about new norms, I would love to see this continue.