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Nutanix’s Dheeraj Pandey: ‘A Furlough Is Reversible, A Layoff Is Not’

‘Coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, we think we’ll be perfectly placed to be one of the largest, and honest, hybrid cloud subscription software companies in the world,’ says Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey.

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What was your strategy on the recent decision to furlough 1,465 employees in California?

The biotechnology research team at Morgan Stanley came up with its research on April 3 named ‘COVID-19: A Prescription To Get The US Back To Work.’ As you read their thesis, you realize that there are a myriad of scenarios that we don’t fully understand, including a sobering reality of a potential second wave coincident with the seasonal flu, which even the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) warned about on April 21. In the midst of all of this, there are conflicting reports of how long the vaccine itself will take, and whether testing for virus or antibodies will be widely available with high quality -- low false positives/negatives -- any time soon. And in the last two weeks, there are reports that children might be at risk as well. 

So how does a business make a decision with such incomplete and developing information? How do you maximize the wellness of your people, your customers and partners, with such an undefined business and social climate around you? Well, you need a framework or two for decision-making. In the spirit of what Jeff Bezos calls a Type 1 vs. Type 2 decision, we had to think hard about which one makes most sense in our context. We realized we needed to make a ‘Type 2’ decision, which is reversible, both for the company and for an employee’s career. A furlough is reversible, a layoff is not. Period. 

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