In a recent blog post, several Zebra employees debated what inclusion and diversity (I&D) efforts should and should not look like in corporate settings. Their perspectives caused me to pause and consider the purpose and potential impact of I&D-focused programming, goals and investments here at Zebra and even within our customer, supplier and partner organizations.
As I have settled into my new role as Zebra’s Senior Director of Inclusion and Diversity and HR Transformation these past few months, I have seen the profound impact that progressive I&D efforts have made on Zebra Nation and people within the local communities in which we live and work around the world.
I have spent the last 13 years here at Zebra driving diversity initiatives both inside and outside of the company, albeit in a different role. I have also been actively partnering with outreach and charity organizations to enable exposure, development and employment opportunities for underrepresented and disadvantaged groups. This has included work with organizations providing employment skills to young adults on the autistic spectrum, access to our EMEA Zebra Experience Centre for students considering careers in STEM and supporting virtual work experience platforms to engage engineering undergraduates from diverse backgrounds. I have also partnered with local Zebra Inclusion Network Leads to help influence decisions on internal benefits and policies.
But sometimes when you step back and look at something from the outside in, and you invite others to show you a different perspective on a matter that you feel you know well, it becomes clear that there may be a different – possibly better – way to approach that matter. That’s what happened recently within my team. We were debriefing on Zebra’s I&D efforts the past few years when we realized that I&D isn’t as cut and dry as creating a culture of belonging. We also realized that organizational culture and individual careers aren’t one in the same, and that customers influence both. Furthermore, we started to understand how local communities were really influencing our corporate community and vice versa – and how there should be more partnership versus one-way philanthropic giving.
After these realizations, it became clear that we may need to create some space to rethink how we’re upholding our commitment to I&D, so we did. That’s how we arrived at the 4C Model, which defines Culture, Career, Customers and Community as our cornerstones of I&D.
So, in our latest I&D Action Report, I thought it would be good to talk publicly about…
The growing list of reasons why we’re encouraging Zebra employees, partners and even customers to consider the 4Cs, and how doing so will foster greater inclusion and diversity across Zebra Nation and our local communities globally.
Why we felt it was important to separate culture and career when talking about I&D despite their inherent overlap, consider and involve our customers more in our efforts, and better articulate what we mean by “community” when working toward I&D goals.
The importance of global value alignment but local activation for all I&D initiatives led by businesses.
What more can be done within organizations, including Zebra, to create and nurture a more inclusive culture for a diverse group of employees, partners, suppliers, and customers.
Why companies’ community centric I&D ambitions must go beyond philanthropic support of charitable organizations.
Why we’re seeing some companies criticized for advancing their social policies and advocating for greater inclusivity and diversity within their organizations – and why companies can’t underestimate their social impact when deciding if and how to engage in conversations about I&D both publicly and internally.
Why it’s so important for companies like Zebra to continue prioritizing I&D, and why companies can no longer separate I&D from other business operations.