Axon is a cutting-edge global technology company that leads the way in providing innovative devices and data management systems for first responders. The BestCompaniesAZ team visited Axon’s headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona to find out more about the culture that drives the people that work there. Entering the facility feels like walking into a real-life science fiction movie. Visitors are immediately welcomed by a security door that slides open to reveal the massive open-office environment where employees spend their time collaborating. The building’s open floor plan and lack of executive offices fosters Axon’s value of Join Forces and allows employees at all levels to openly cooperate.
“Here, we’re solving some of society’s biggest problems,” says Elizabeth Hart, SVP of People at Axon.
Axon and its employees are working towards making the world a safer place by staying dedicated to their mission. That mission is to protect life, preserve truth, accelerate justice, and build for racial equality. Every employee is inspired to contribute to this cause through creating and selling TASERs, body cameras, data collection software, and more. Candidates for careers at Axon are committed to making the world safer, and they often share this sentiment from the first interview. Protecting life is the focal point of the metrics reviewed monthly to set the tone for the work done on a daily basis. Providing life-saving technology to first responders around the globe is a noble cause that is fulfilling for each and every member of the team.
Employees at Axon do life-changing work, but there is also time for wellness and fun. On occasions, you can find CEO Rick Smith playing Fortnite with employees. Employees also get an all-expenses-paid trip to the Grand Canyon to experience its natural wonder. Arizona employees also go on shorter hikes around the Scottsdale area as a form of exercise and to build deeper connections once a month. To promote mental wellness, all Axon employees have access to Ginger, a 24/7 mental health app that connects users with immediate emotional support at any time.
Listening to the Voices of Underserved Communities
Axon encourages employees to connect with one another as they work towards their global mission. They have six different employee affinity groups that are open to members and allies of underserved communities. Affinity groups are optional, employee-driven groups that help the company foster a diverse, inclusive workplace.
“We are seeing growing participation. Currently, more than 25% of our employee base is actively involved in at least one employee resource group,” says Matt Caldwell, People Operations.”
Each of the six affinity groups represents communities within the company that has gathered to create an even more inclusive environment:
- Axon Allies represents the LGBTQ+ community and hosts events to unite the community and educate allies.
- HOLA actively engages and empowers members by creating and sustaining a safe environment for the hispanic origin and latinx community.
- APIA cultivates a safe environment for and empowers Asian and Pacific Islander (API) employees.
- Veterans at Axon gives all Axon employees an opportunity to engage with the veteran community.
- Women at Axon increases belonging, engagement, and advancement for female-identifying employees.
- Mosaic creates a safe space that fosters community and connection among Axon’s Black employees.
Employees are not restricted to joining only one affinity group. Leadership actually encourages intersectionality to accommodate employees that want to be a member of more than one group and employees that are members of more than one cultural group.
Axon’s affinity groups are formed and led by employees who want to foster connections within the workplace. The affinity groups are focussed on culture and the bonds that bring us closer together.
“We continue to tell individuals they are more than welcome to create an affinity group,” Hart says.
The leaders of these groups stepped up to volunteer eight to ten hours a month for the position. They serve one to two-year terms and are responsible for communicating with members, working with vendors, brainstorming ideas for events and more. At the beginning of the year they get approval for a budget and throughout the year they coordinate with each other to launch their events. They receive support from leadership to ensure they have everything they need to engage with their communities.
“Creating and maintaining a culture that allows people to bring their whole selves to work is core to our function as leaders,” said Amanda King, Ed.D. and VP of Software Services and corporate sponsor for Axon Allies.
Each group also has two executive sponsors who are director-level employees that serve as a sounding board and answer questions the leaders may have. They attend the events and communicate the importance of involvement in the group.
A Focussed Effort on Employee Connections
This past February, Axon flew in affinity group leaders from all over the world to Tempe in order to develop their skills at their Affinity Group Summit. For three days the leaders listened to guest speakers like Meg Bolger and connected with stakeholders in the business who pledged their support.
“In today’s environment we want all of our employees to feel accepted and included on day one and know our affinity group programming helps us achieve that,” Caldwell says.
The groups interact using Slack every day to discuss a variety of topics. Axon’s affinity groups also have one to two events scheduled per week to give members a chance to engage with one another on a regular basis. These events can take the form of lean-in circles, book clubs, guest speakers, or other creative options.
One event that stands out is Black Jeopardy. This event, initially hosted by Mosaic over Zoom during the pandemic, took place at Axon’s headquarters this February. Contestants gathered to play a game of Jeopardy based on the theme of Black History Month to recognize the contributions of African Americans. Several Black-owned businesses were catered for the event, and gifts were sent from Black-owned businesses to members of the audience who attended virtually.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the affinity groups developed asynchronous ways to include members in activities to mitigate the challenges of working in a virtual environment. These asynchronous activities have stuck around as workers returned to the office. For example, APIA gave its members a bingo card with activities to complete on their own time during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. HOLA sent its members candy from Mexico to share a culturally sensitive moment among the group. Mosaic sent its members a yoga mat to encourage health and wellness at home.
A Global Mission
Axon ensures that each member of their affinity groups is included and supported by constantly checking in with members no matter where they are from. Members on the east coast and members on the west coast have their voices heard and group schedules are flexible to make time for every member everywhere. Across the globe, employees at Axon collaborate to move their mission while emphasizing diversity and inclusion.
Axon’s commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion goes beyond their affinity groups. Their initiative to further develop these values is called JEDI, and it includes their efforts to make the company and the world a more diverse and inclusive place with more room for equity and justice. Both within the company’s staff and its reach as a global business, there are always actions being taken to ensure these four pillars are protected and expanded.
Axon’s work is changing the landscape of the public safety industry and you can be a part of that change. If you choose to continue your career with Axon, you will get more than just the satisfaction of making the world safer. They are currently hiring for roles in sales, technology, and operations. Axon’s benefits package includes competitive medical, dental, and vision plans. Employees also get a 401k matching program and discounted memberships at thousands of gyms. Additionally, salaried employees do not accrue PTO, but instead they receive discretionary paid time off.
If you want to be a part of the Axon team click here to learn more about their current job opportunities.