2021 has been a year of many firsts at Zebra. We launched our first machine vision solution, acquired our first robotics company, and – for the first time ever – defined clear, measurable inclusion and diversity (I&D) goals for all people leaders, with goals encouraged for all employees. Though all will contribute to the greater good of Zebra Nation and society in their own ways, we believe the last one on this list of “firsts” has the potential to move the needle significantly as we advance our broader I&D aspirations.
Technology, though a meaningful contributor to our well-being in fast-paced, demand-intensive workplaces, can’t fulfill the one thing humans crave more than anything: other human connection. Social media contacts don’t sufficiently satisfy our need for acceptance of our authentic selves, especially in settings where we must interact face-to-face and work side-by-side with others.
Therefore, it’s imperative for all companies – even those developing the most intelligent and technologically advanced robots – to strongly root their culture in “conscious inclusion,” says Natalie Bodus, Senior Director of Inclusion and Diversity and Employer Brand here at Zebra. Companies must also appreciate that each of us are incredibly diverse in our own ways and play an important role in confronting biases and advancing a culture of belonging across the organization while focusing on outcomes, not just “feel good” activities.
In her last Inclusion and Diversity Action Report of 2021, Natalie spoke about the quantifiable progress that Zebra has made throughout the year in its efforts to become cultural change agents both within the company and in global communities. In our 15-minute sit-down, she also discussed:
- her perspective on the meaning of allyship.
- what it takes to be a genuine upstander versus a performative ally.
- why it’s important that we – as companies and people – not rely on historically underrepresented populations to drive our transformation.
- the specific actions Zebra has been taking to encourage greater allyship across the company.
- how Zebra will leverage the momentum built in 2021 to drive greater awareness and ownership of the actions we can all take to advance inclusion and diversity, increase engagement in Zebra-hosted I&D conversations and initiatives, and continue to expand our philanthropy and volunteerism to advance equity at large.
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