Defining Corporate Leadership in Recovery


This is our moment to redefine the role of business.

Published jun. 09, 2020

Recover Stronger Initiative

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Right now, our country is confronting a lot of hard truths. Truths about our deep need for bold, resilient leadership; truths about how unprepared we are to stop a pandemic that threatens millions of lives; truths about how far we have to go in our fight for racial justice..

We all have a role to play in how we address these truths, particularly as we enter a long period of recovery from COVID-19. As David Gelles points out in his recent New York Times op-ed, those with power have an outsized role in ensuring that we do better moving forward. They also have an incredible opportunity to rewrite the rules that will govern our collective future. Corporate America is at the top of that list.

For years, we’ve heard many corporate executives publicly articulate the value of worker well-being and “diversity” without making real, meaningful, substantive investments. Under the pressure of our compounding national crises, that’s beginning to change in a big way. In recent weeks and months, we’ve seen companies begin to reconsider the role they’ve been playing to date, and the role they can—and should—play moving forward. Company by company, business leaders are recognizing that something big needs to change in how they value and invest in their workers—especially frontline workers and people of color, who consistently remain disempowered and undervalued. They are beginning to step up to shift their companies from the ones we have to the ones we need.

At JFF, we are optimistic about what this shift could look like, and about the new, better, more equitable future we can build together. We believe that shift should be one that is rooted in values of equity and economic advancement. It should focus less on marginal gains and more wholesale changes in the way companies view and invest in the heart of their business—the people who keep their goods moving and their services running.

Through JFF’s Corporate Action Platform, we speak directly to corporate leaders, offering examples about what that looks like in practice. Today, the Platform is launching our Recover Stronger Initiative, alongside a Founding Coalition of companies who are pioneering a new model of corporate leadership that is consistent with this shift we’re all hungry for.

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Walmart, Microsoft, Autodesk, Workday, Salesforce, and Postmates are joining JFF under the Recover Stronger Initiative as a Founding Coalition that will call upon other corporate leaders who are committed to change not just through their words, but through their actions. These leaders are united under our Recover Stronger Commitment for Impact Employers, which calls for a people-centered approach to economic recovery in the coming weeks and months. Companies that join Recover Stronger are making concrete, sustainable investments in talent practices like inclusive hiring practices, development programs that help employees prepare for and thrive in a shifting labor market, total rewards programs that create greater job security and stability, and ethical offboarding strategies that help workers position themselves for new opportunities in growing fields. What’s more, they’re doing so with a lens of racial equity and economic advancement, to ensure the progress those investments drive is collectively shared.

The #RecoverStronger Initiative is about recognizing that we need to go beyond simply bouncing back from our current economic challenges, and providing guidance to corporate leaders about how they can and should lead in this moment. Together, we’ll work to ensure that in 10, 20, or 30 years, we can look back at this crisis as a pivotal moment in the history of our country, one where companies stepped up to be a force for good in the lives of millions of workers and the communities they call home.

Let’s make this moment one that matters. Let’s #RecoverStronger.

Recover Stronger Initiative

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