Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at The Zebra

The Zebra is committed to attracting, hiring and retaining a diverse workforce – and championing inclusive, equitable practices to help all employees succeed. We’re proud of where we are today, but it’s time to push ourselves further.
  • By The Zebra
  • |
  • Sept. 9, 2020
  • |

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at The Zebra

The Zebra is committed to attracting, hiring and retaining a diverse workforce – and championing inclusive, equitable practices to help all employees succeed. We’re proud of where we are today, but it’s time to push ourselves further.
  • By The Zebra
  • |
  • Sept. 9, 2020

At The Zebra, our mantra is “All Stripes Welcome” – and that means all. A diverse, inclusive workforce is critical to creating a great product and a great place to work; when our teams come from a wide variety of backgrounds, locations, points of view and areas of expertise, we learn more from each other and create better work.

But, speaking of “better,” we are by no means perfect, and we want to hold ourselves accountable to making sure that our diversity, inclusion and equity efforts aren’t just boxes we’re checking. We can and should be doing more to champion a diverse organization. Full stop. 

So, here’s a look at where we are today – what our workforce looks like, how we’re committed to our employees, our communities and our industry. Watch this space as we continue to grow our efforts and our team.

At The Zebra, our mantra is “All Stripes Welcome” – and that means all.


Diversity

People tend to define “diversity” by talking about classifications like race, gender, age and ability. But that doesn’t tell the whole story: Diversity means looking at our organization’s big, visible characteristics as well as the ones we can’t see – background, point of view, experience, belief systems. It’s the experiences we all contribute, based on both seenandunseen traits, that make our teams diverse.

Inclusion

We strive to create and foster an atmosphere where everyone feels not just welcomed, but included and engaged – and not just at the start of employees’ time with The Zebra, but throughout it. Inclusion invites everyone to the table; gives them the tools they need to make meaningful contributions; and supports them as they grow and change. Inclusion is deliberate, empowering and ongoing.

Equity

Treating people equally means treating them all the same. And that’s not a bad thing! But we should be going further, and treating peopleequitably– that means being sensitive to individual needs, preferences and motivators. Empowering team members with the tools and resources they need as individuals drives greater success for all of us.

Intersectionality

Individuals can and do belong to one or more privileged or marginalized groups, and it’s important to take into account their experiences as members of these multiple groups. We strive to honor and listen to the experiences that overlap, and not categorize individuals as single, two-dimensional group representatives.

Allyship

Members of historically privileged communities or groups have a critical role to play in building more diverse, inclusive spaces. By actively working against systems of oppression and giving voices, resources and opportunities to marginalized groups, allies can use their power to be catalysts for real change.

 

Thanks to LifeLabs Learning, CultureAmp, IAESTE and BuiltIn (twice!) for your thoughtful work and education in helping us to articulate these values as they pertain specifically to The Zebra and our employees.

Zebra stats

By the numbers

Here’s what our workforce looks like today.* We’re proud of our commitment to diversity, but we know we can do better – and have plans to do exactly that.

Here are some of the ways in which we’re representing and supporting our diverse teams every day.

Female

Female engineering, data
and product staff

of employees are BIPOC

16% working parents
and/or caretakers

9% are the first in their
family to attend college

15% identify as part of
the LGBTQ community

Male

Languages spoken

Non-binary (or third gender)

 

 

We’re proud of our employees and the workforce they comprise. But we know there’s more we could be doing to further diversify The Zebra. Watch this space for updates as we continue to strive to do even better.

Walking the walk

Our business is built on many of the values critical to fostering a diverse workplace: Transparency, accessibility, trust, accountability. We’re taking steps to ensure we’re attracting and hiring employees from a wide variety of backgrounds.

That commitment doesn’t stop at recruitment practices: Once employees are here, we want to guarantee they feel included, heard and supported. And that’s bothatwork andwiththe work we do each day.

 

Our approach to hiring 

At The Zebra, our recruiters are all certified  Inclusive Talent Acquisition Professionals, which allows them to both lead candidates through a thoughtful, equitable hiring process and train internal hiring teams on things like: 

  • Understanding common unconscious biases
  • Asking effective questions
  • Providing actionable feedback
  • Standardized, unbiased interview and hiring processes 
  • Targeted sourcing strategies for underrepresented groups and underrepresented minorities
  • Referral programs focused on attracting underrepresented groups and underrepresented minorities

Daily commitments

At The Zebra, people come first. We believe in striving for a thoughtfully inclusive culture that’s more than simply bringing a diverse group of people together; it’s about celebrating what makes us  us; providing benefits and support that help us know we belong; and empowering us to balance work and non-work lives. 

Our  paid parental leave policy  is one of many ways we strive to bring our values to life, and it’s  intentionally designed for inclusion. We wanted to make this benefit as accessible as possible to families of all shapes and sizes. The departure from gender-specific language like “maternity” and “paternity” and incorporation of inclusive language for caregivers, paired with our differentiating lengths of leave for employees based on caregiver status within their family structure, opened the benefit up for more Zebras who choose to grow their family, while also growing a career with us.

We created our  PTO policy  (unlimited and/or flexible) with inclusion in mind, allowing our employees from a variety of cultural backgrounds to observe days off from work whenever they choose. And, it provides employees with varying needs around caregiving, self-care (mental, physical) and community obligations the flexibility they need to put themselves and their families first.

We schedule  meetings and events  during times that work across our employees’ time zones and roles. We maintain a transparent events calendar for accessibility across the company; allow all Zebras to contribute to the ideation/curation of cultural events; and aim to incorporate diverse preferences across the board.

We champion recognizing everyday contributions  and celebrating wins of all sizes in our internal #gratitude channel. These can be job-specific successes or accomplishments as well as tasks indirectly related to team members’ roles, like participation in voluntary task forces, project work outside their core functions and cross-functional mentorship.

During onboarding, we deliberately foster connections across the organization for new employees to meet individuals and teams with whom they might not work on a daily basis in their roles. As we all work from home during COVID-19, we’re making these connections virtually with regular “Zeeb Hangs” to welcome new team members.

All Zebras have  open access to leadership in a variety of forums: monthly all-hands meetings, skip-level one on ones, “ask me anything” executive Q&A sessions, our #ceo slack channel, open office hours – and, during times when we’re allowed to convene in person, monthly, small-group dinners with Keith, our CEO, and lunches with Meetesh, our CTO and CDO.

We have a  cross-functional task force  on Inclusion, Diversity Equity and Action (IDEA) that meets weekly; they work to address, dismantle, educate and build in the areas of IDEA at The Zebra.

We’ve launched a  “Say This, Not That”  effort, which educates the company about words, phrases and terms that – although they could be commonly used –stem from racist, sexist, classist, ableist and other problematic origins.

An inclusive workplace  and  inclusive work

Our individual teams have specific diversity and inclusion goals of their own; we believe that solutions that are good for people are also good for business. In design and development work, our aim is to create the best possible experience for all users, regardless of background or ability. What this looks like:

  • We set clear objectives and defined measurements around accessibility, holding ourselves accountable along the way.
  • We adhere to  WCAG's accessibility guidelines, and bake them into our design and development process.
  • We use research to represent the voice of our users and look for ways to remove bias in the design process.

When we work, we commit to asking ourselves  questions like:

  • How could this product perpetuate bias or stereotypes? 
  • Is your relationship with the user one that is honest, open and transparent?
  • How could this product treat people unfairly based on a personal characteristic they cannot change?

Research at The Zebra

Similarly, our research teams look to  include and represent diverse voices in every single study; providing access to rich qualitative feedback from our consumers ensures that all perspectives and voices are present in the data on which we rely. 

We use a recruiting matrix to ensure we’re hearing from a wide variety of people and experiences to better inform our work. But we’ve also recently been having hard conversations about where we’re failing to be mindful of how our power as researchers is being misused to perpetuate systems of oppression, particularly for people of color. 

We’re putting more specific target goals on our studies to ensure we are actively giving a voice of power to marginalized communities in our research (i.e., we want a white minority across our studies moving forward, at 50% or under). We are also reaching out to our recruiting partners to better understand what they are doing to ensure our participant pool is as diverse as possible.

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Employee resource groups

Meet our ERGs

Employee resource groups, or ERGs, allow employees to informally network and support each other. Today, The Zebra has three vibrant ERGs – get to know them!

Shebras

As The Zebra’s oldest (founded in March 2018) and largest (126 members) ERG, The Shebras are an employee resource group of women and allies at The Zebra who provide opportunities for all Zebras to come to work as their authentic selves; we strive to create inclusive spaces for learning, growth and leadership. 

The Shebras have a busy – and growing – roster of programs. Shebra Showcases are a series of workshops for our members to showcase their skills – both work-related and not – like drawing basics, bread baking, Gmail organization, indoor houseplant care and becoming a more effective writer. #LittleWinsDay is for members to share and celebrate any successes, big or small, with our group’s Slack channel. And each December, our Words of Kindness program encourages members to share compliments with other members in the group – it’s always a huge success and a great way to celebrate.

Moving forward, we hope to make an impact in our community through volunteering with organizations that support women. Additionally, we would like to help foster mentorship opportunities for Shebras where they can learn and grow their knowledge through each other.

Affinity

Affinity is a diversity ERG for minorities – which we define as people of color, immigrants and first-generation Americans – and allies. We’ve been around since February 2019 and have about 100 members. Our goals are to promote awareness and education within the company, support career development, create a community both in and outside The Zebra and to foster allyship. 

Our co-founders, Martina and Marivi, had both been thinking about a group like Affinity for quite a while – but it wasn’t until they decided to join forces that it became a reality. Understanding that conversations around minority representation in the workplace can be uncomfortable, they wanted to help to encourage and amplify those conversations, while making group members feel heard and supported. Using the development of The Shebras as a role model, we launched Affinity to provide support, inclusion and opportunities.

We kicked off Affinity’s first meeting with a world map to show all the places employees call home and highlight how diverse we as a company are. Thanks to thoughtful members and volunteers, we’ve been able to host many initiatives, from panel discussions to happy hours to cultural lunches – most recently, we launched a Minorities in Tech panel discussion series to internally spotlight some of our employees and members. We’ve also joined forces with other ERGs for workshops on effective communication and mentorship. 

Today, our mission and work are more important than ever. We’re continuing to pursue our goals and are grateful for the support and space to drive impact.

Dazzle

Dazzle’s mission is to promote an inclusive, active, and empowering community for LGBT employees and allies. We support The Zebra’s diversity and inclusion goals by building community internally and externally while fostering authenticity and friendship through events, workshops and advocacy. We’ve been around since summer 2019 and are 80+ employees strong! 

After the incredible support and participation we experienced while planning our presence at Austin’s Pride Parade in 2019, we decided to keep the momentum going and start an official ERG. 

This year, we are focusing on facilitation conversations, companywide pronoun initiatives and working with organizations to provide education and advocacy workshops to better support the LGBTQ community in Texas. We have a good relationship with the LGBT Chamber of Commerce and plan to do even more work with them in the future.

all-stripes.original.jpg


Get to know us

The Zebra’s most important assets are our people – and the diverse viewpoints they bring to our work. Here’s what they have to say about their participation in our ERGs.

Giving Back

Supporting organizations whose missions align with our own when it comes to diversity is really important. Here are a few we’ve partnered with over the years:

What the future looks like

We know we’re not perfect – far from it. And we continue to strive to find ways to make our workplace more welcoming toall

 

We will…

  • one.jpg

    Recognize, educate and celebrate

    In 2020 we made Juneteenth a company holiday. Countries and regions around the world have their own days to celebrate emancipation; we will do the work to further review our company holidays and propose changes that align with our culture, values and people from a diverse and inclusive lens.

  • two.jpg

    Offer more workplace support

    Our ERGs and their participants are a key piece to furthering and supporting diversity, inclusion, equity and empowerment at The Zebra. We’ll be investigating how we can develop even more groups to amplify even more employee voices and experiences.

  • three.jpg

    Diversify our talent pipeline

    We’re committed to increasing accessibility to economic opportunity at The Zebra for underrepresented groups (URGs) and underrepresented minorities (URMs). Our Talent Acquisition team is exploring a variety of partnerships with local schools and organizations that specifically support URGs and URMs to directly impact accessibility to our open roles and internships. Diversifying our talent pipelines will be a natural benefit of intentionally and directly engaging our partners for talent.

  • four.jpg

    Hold ourselves accountable

    Our dedicated Diversity and Inclusion task force meets regularly to help us zero in on how we can become an even more diverse, inclusive place to work. And we’ll be working with leadership on how we can better attract, retain and promote BIPOC and LGBTQIA employees.

“All Stripes Welcome” is a motto by which we try to live now, but also one we know we can embody even more in the future. Thanks for helping to hold us accountable.

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If you'd like to download a PDF of this report, you can do that here.


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