There are a lot of things that happened in 2021 that made it feel like it was the end of the world, at least temporarily, and here are just a few examples:
- unexpected internet and cellular network outages that left kids and adults stumped about what to do without TV, social media or work for hours on end
- intermittent school closures
- supply chain shortages that forced us to ration, mend and make do with what we had
- several devastating 100-year weather events that made us reconsider our preparedness and what we find most precious in life
Yet, thanks to a special group of people who work tirelessly to keep our lights on, pantries stocked and communities safe, we have been able to avoid an actual end-of-world scenario. We are forever indebted to the factory, warehouse, and retail workers, as well as the restaurant staff, delivery drivers, pilots, longshoremen, utility technicians, teachers and first responders who sacrifice so much for the collective good. But we shouldn’t wait for a special occasion to thank them. We should be expressing our gratitude every single day. Without them, our worlds really would be turned upside down.
I recently had the opportunity to check off one of my bucket list items when I joined other Zebras in NYC to ring the NASDAQ closing bell. And when I think about how many people were involved in making that trip possible – and how perfectly they had to execute their tasks to ensure my trip went off without a hitch – it’s a bit mind blowing.
We talk about the scale of the supply chain all the time. But we should also consider how much of an event it is to host just one sporting event, concert, or festival, and how many thousands of people it takes to get a few hundred people and bags on each flight and to their destination safely. Let’s not forget about the many transit workers, restaurant staff, and hotel personnel who go out of their way to accommodate our every whim or the public safety officers who ensure we feel safe while traversing unfamiliar cities.
Of course, with COVID-19 testing now mandated alongside or in lieu of vaccination at many venues, there are also clinicians working around the clock to collect and test specimens. There are also entry point controllers doing their best to verify statuses quickly and queue-bust long lines, and twice as many cleaning crews working diligently to sanitize shared spaces.
When I really stop to think about the level of orchestration required for travel and entertainment to be a reality, it strikes a chord. My sister is a nurse, and my brother-in-law works for a grocery store, so I can appreciate the pressure front-line workers have been under for the past two years. But it’s still hard to fathom just how many people are under equal pressure to perform critical tasks day in and day out.
These are people, just like you and me, who have dreams and ambitions. And they all share the same wish: to be treated with kindness and respect, even when we – or they – are having a bad day.
So, as we start to fill our 2022 calendars, let’s pencil in time to #BeKind to those who are doing their best to give us the best experience possible, whether it’s on our first trip in two years or a routine trip to the doctor or grocery store. Small acts of kindness can start a big movement.
Here at Zebra, we’re going to continue our efforts to “Restore Front-Line Heroes.” We’ll increase our philanthropic and volunteerism initiatives to #GiveBack to local communities around the world while giving customers the tools they need to keep their goods and operations moving. We want to make sure everyone stationed between the first mile and last mile of the supply chain, utility/telecommunication networks, and our personal travel itineraries feel a little more ease in their workdays so they can find more joy in their daily lives.
We’re thrilled with the recognition we received in 2021, and we’ll continue to commit resources to developing life-changing technology solutions and providing personalized service and support for customers:
We are going to double down on our efforts to #BeKind to the communities in which we live and work as well as the environment, building on the foundation established in 2021:
- The Zebra Circular Economy Program received a Sustainability Service of the Year award from the Business Intelligence Group
- Supply & Demand Chain Executive recognized Zebra with a Green Supply Chain Award
- Institutional Investor ranked Zebra #2 on the All-America Executive Team 2022 for the Best Environmental, Social and Governance Initiatives among all IT Hardware & Electronics Manufacturing Services companies. Zebra also ranked #2 for Best Investor Relations (IR) Team and Best IR Program.
Zebra received an Impartner Catalyst Award for "Redefining Partner Communications: For ensuring every partner across the globe receives a constant steady drumbeat of communications, tailored specifically for them, in the language of their choice."
And we will continue to celebrate the people who are working behind the scenes and on the front lines to make this world a better place for everyone, including:
- Cindy Wise, Vice President of Store Development for Sally Beauty, who was named one of the Top Women in Retail Technology by RIS News
- The Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust team members involved in the deployment of the Zebra TC51-HC, which won a Health Tech Digital Award in the category of Best Use of Technology (Acute Care)
- Tom Bianculli, who was named one of the Top 100 Leaders in Technology by Technology Magazine
- Mike Zachman, who was named a Top 100 CISO by CISO Connect
- Julie Johnson, who received a WoM2M Award via Connected World and received a Silver Stevie Award in the category of “Lifetime Achievement – Business”
- Deanna Self, who was named one of the top Women in Supply Chain 2021 by Supply & Demand Chain Executive
- Todd Virgil, who was named one of the top 2021 Notable Military Veteran Executives by Crain's Chicago
- Therese Van Ryne, who was named a 2021 Notable Executive in Marketing by Crain's Chicago
- Tami Froese, who was the Analytics winner in the NextGen Supply Chain Awards for Solution Providers & End Users
- Zebra CEO, Anders Gustafsson, CFO Nathan Winters, and VP of Finance Mike Steele, all of whom were ranked #2 by Institutional Investor on the All-America Executive Team 2022 for their respective roles.
- The Professional Services team that designed and delivered Zebra Remote Expert, a new service that won a STAR Award for "Innovation in Enabling Customer Outcomes - Professional Services."
- The Learning Services team that won three Excellence Awards from Brandon Hall Group during the Human Capital Management Spring Program: Gold for Best Learning Team, Silver for Earn Your Stripes (Second Medal for EYS) and Bronze for Unique Solution, in which we worked with HelpLightning to train remote users with our HD4000 head-mounted device.
It was an incredible honor that Zebra was named a top workplace by some of the world’s biggest critics (including our own employees) given the challenging tempo we’ve sustained since the start of the pandemic:
We would also be honored if you said Zebra was one of the top reasons why you love your workplace. Every day, we want to learn about what’s working and what’s not. We want to ensure the technologies we design matter – that they are kind to your fingers, wrists, and eyes as well as your mind. We want to automate the decision-making process and make it so easier to do your job with the insights our technology delivers.
In the days ahead, expect to hear more about what we’re doing to help you be more successful, less stressed and more satisfied with your job and life. Until then, know Zebras have your back, whether you’re on the front lines all day or working behind the scenes to make the world spin.
Happy New Year and best wishes for prosperity and peace!