Despite efforts to recruit and hire more women and people of color, we were not as successful in retaining them. Traditional approaches to D&I were not creating the culture that was required to create a truly inclusive environment where all employees could do their best work.
Senior leaders renewed their commitment to diversity, inclusion and engagement in 2007 at the Summit for Courageous Inclusion & Engagement Leaders. At this summit, leaders built awareness that to make sustainable change, the dominant group—in this case white men—needs to be aware of the impact of their privilege, be engaged, and partner with women and underrepresented groups in a meaningful way.
A new Culture of Inclusion strategy was developed with three main elements: Awareness and Learning, Understanding and Removing Barriers and Creating Differentiation. We partnered with White Men as Full Diversity Partners, LLC (WMFDP) to increase awareness of the impact and value of differences and group dynamics, as well as the impact of privilege through experiential Learning Labs and Summits.
Inclusion Change Teams were formed to address barriers to inclusion, with white male business leaders comprising the majority of these teams. Men also formed “Allies” groups to support women and women-based employee resource groups, as advocates and sponsors.
Over 1000 leaders and 4000 employees have attended WMFDP Learning Labs and Summits. Leaders have made inclusion part of our culture, through both dialogue and action and operationalized plans designed to make D&I real daily.
The Culture of Inclusion approach at Rockwell Automation has helped create a more inclusive and engaging work environment. Results demonstrate that this contributed to advancing women and people and people of color across the company. Between 2008 and 2016, women’s representation in the United States has increased from 12.3% to 21.7% among executives and from 14.1% to 23.2% among directors. People of color representation has increased from 10.8% to 16.7% among executives and from 10.2% to 17.1% among directors.
Change must start at the top, where leaders commit to measurable results and hold our teams accountable. Through this program, Rockwell Automation and other companies will collectively drive a culture shift that advances diversity and inclusion in the workplace, where all employees can and want to do their best work every day.