Case Study: Rockwell Automation—The Culture of Inclusion JourneyJan 31, 2017
The Culture of Inclusion (COI) Journey at Rockwell Automation is a culture-change initiative that comprises programs and strategies executed throughout the company’s businesses and functions. In the United States, the initiative has impacted more than 8,000 employees in 100 locations. The comprehensive framework integrates different components to ensure that each individual contributor and leader plays an active role and is accountable for driving change throughout the company. A key element of this strategy is 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.
The COI initiative began in 2007 with senior leaders renewing their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and engagement in response to employee data showing that women and people of color at the company had lower retention rates than white men. An approach was put in place to facilitate COI strategies and activities, including a newly created Center of Expertise. The Center of Expertise works with teams known as Inclusion Change Teams that address barriers to inclusion, embed the COI work within businesses and functions, and help institute processes and best practices. In addition, 12 Employee Resource Groups support the COI strategy, engaging more than 4,000 employees across the organization.
The Rockwell Automation COI journey is designed for long-term sustainability through operationalizing and embedding COI, building processes that are globally framed and locally driven, creating consistency, and also acknowledging that one size does not fit all. The strategy includes three main elements: Awareness and Learning, Understanding and Removing Barriers, and Creating Differentiation.
Awareness and Learning is a cornerstone of inclusion work at Rockwell Automation and focuses on increasing awareness of the impact and value of differences and group dynamics, as well as the impact of privilege. It comprises a variety of activities that include White Men as Full Diversity Partners’ experiential Learning Labs and Summits, unconscious bias training, inclusion-related workshops and lunch-and-learns, leadership training and communications, as well as employee engagement surveys and cultural assessments to monitor progress and support continuous evolution of the awareness efforts.
Understanding and Removing Barriers means identifying and addressing barriers to full inclusion in processes, procedures, and everyday interactions. This strategy drives systematic change with tools, including innovative talent and succession planning processes that ensure women and minorities get the development, exposure and visibility needed to grow their careers.
Creating Differentiation happens by engaging distributor partners, clients, and the broader community in the initiative’s change efforts, highlighting Rockwell Automation as an employer of choice. This element includes programs that range from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) outreach and education in schools to distributor engagement and participation in various educational programs and activities.
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 across businesses and functions at the company. Between 2008 and 2016, women’s representation in the United States has increased from 11.9% to 23.5% among vice presidents, from 14.7% to 23.2% among directors, and from 19.3% to 24.3% at the middle-manager level. At the most senior leadership levels, women’s representation doubled, increasing from 11.1% to 25.0% among the CEO’s direct reports and from 11.1% to 20.0% on the Board of Directors.