Inclusion and Diversity Action Report: How We’re Walking the Walk (and Continuing to Talk)

We have been taking tangible steps to create a culture of belonging within Zebra Nation.

We do what we can today for a better tomorrow.
by Natalie Bodus
January 11, 2021

I’m often asked about Zebra’s inclusion and diversity goals and, specifically, how we’re measuring progress. Though the first question is easy to answer – we want to build a culture of belonging – the latter is a bit tricker to quantify.

Zebra isa company built on great minds, with unique points of view that come together to build something remarkable.” But we know that people will only be able to contribute to the fullest when they can be their authentic selves at all times. That’s why our work to create an inclusive culture will never stop, even if we meet certain “goals.”

We’re going to continuously lean into potentially uncomfortable conversations and share employees’ personal stories with Zebra Nation so that we, as a company and individuals, can learn how to be more accepting of others and help prevent uncomfortable interactions from occurring at Zebra. We will also invest heavily in educational resources and talent development to foster a fair and equitable growth environment for every employee. We want everyone to feel seen, heard, valued and respected.

In fact, we’ve taken measurable steps in both of these areas over the last several months to give Zebras a voice and show them that they’re being heard:

Inclusion IQ: In 2019, we launched our Inclusive Leadership course to equip managers with practical tools that enable them to be more open and accepting of their team members and model the inclusive behaviors we aim to drive among the broader workforce. Then, in 2020, we added a new Global Inclusion Course to ensure all employees receive the same tools and resources.

My favorite thing about this course is that it gives everyone the chance to take an individual assessment to identify their – often unknown – biases. In turn, they can start to lean into certain topics in the curriculum that may help broaden their perspectives and eliminate those biases. The reality is that each of us are at a different place in our inclusion journeys, so the only way we are going to elicit real change is if we make those journeys personal.

Plus, as a company, we recognize that our impact is less about the training we offer and more about the action we take to reinforce the key behaviors we want to drive. That’s why we’ve broadened our “Inclusion IQ” initiative to include follow-up activities, discussions, and learning resources that help drive education “application” long after a person has completed the Global Inclusion Course or Inclusive Leadership program. In fact, one of our key focus areas for 2021 will be on implementing these continuous learning and real-world application toolsets.

Diversity Week: In addition to teaching – and learning from – one another, we feel it’s important to celebrate the diversity we have within Zebra. One way we did that in 2020 was by encouraging all employees to participate in a 7-day inclusion challenge. We encouraged them to engage in one of our many Inclusion Network events that were hosted throughout the week, share their authentic “be real, be you” stories to showcase what it is that makes them unique and display their preferred pronouns in all communications. We also took the time to recognize inclusion role models via our recognition program and inspire others to drive change through friendly, open conversation and focused personal action. It was a fun, simple way to engage employees in a safe space so that they could get to know themselves and one another better without judgement.

Men Advocating for Real Change (MARC): Creating the type of culture were everyone feels like they belong requires every single one of us to commit to being better and doing better. And, as we’ve learned through a number of courageous conversations that have occurred across Zebra in recent months, allyship is critically important across all demographics. So, we have partnered with Catalyst and become involved in its MARC program to help us honestly reflect on the culture norms that exist within Zebra. In December, we had the opportunity to send approximately 30 Zebras to the MARC Summit to unpack some of the traditional stereotypes that exist in society and how they ultimately impact many of us in the workplace. Understanding these concepts is so important to our change efforts. If we want to foster a culture of belonging, we must actively engage our team members and leaders to demonstrate, as role models, the values and behaviors we ultimately want to see from everyone.

-  Focus Groups and Engagement Check-Ins: It’s critical to hear firsthand from our employees what we’re doing well and what we need to do better. Beyond our traditional engagement surveys, we’ve also started engagement check-ins and focus groups to learn about our team members’ personal experiences, confirm how best we can support their ongoing success, and understand how we should evolve our efforts to foster even greater inclusion and diversity at Zebra.

What’s Next

Employee feedback indicates that we’re moving the needle on inclusion and diversity matters, but we need every single person to know that they matter to this company and the broader communities in which we work, live and play. The actions we’ve taken thus far have helped to drive progress, but I consider them to be more foundational components. Our work must continue to evolve over time if we are to build – and ultimately sustain – a culture of belonging.

Going forward, my team and I will be focused on applying what we’ve learned in a way that aligns with our core tenets and empowers our employees to be better allies for one another. We want to continue to shine a light on our differences – both as individuals and a company – so that we can fully embrace and appreciate them. There are so many things that each person brings to the table, and we want everyone to see how this richness fuels our collective power.

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Editor’s Note:

Watch this video to learn more about how Zebra is working to create a more inclusive world and how you can join us in this effort:

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Natalie Bodus
Natalie Bodus is Zebra's Senior Director of Inclusion and Diversity and Employer Brand. She and her team are focused on ensuring that all employees are seen, heard, valued, and respected.
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