Transforming the Culture from Closed and Exclusive to Open and Inclusive.

The Challenge

According to many in Rockwell Automation’s North American Sales, the division was white-male centered, risk-averse and exclusive. Relying on those outside the dominant group to drive change wasn’t sustainable.


For Rockwell Automation, the journey to become more inclusive meant helping white men to see and understand the impact of their culture on people of different ability, race, gender and identity.

  • Senior leaders to people managers attended one of WMFDP’s 3½-day learning labs to gain new awareness and develop inclusive leadership skills and behaviors.
  • Non-managerial staff attended a one-day Engagement Summit focused on their role in Rockwell Automation’s diversity journey.
  • Senior leaders were given opportunities to serve as visible role models of inclusive skills and behaviors.


Rockwell Automation’s results are documented in two research reports* by Catalyst. These include:

  • A measurable shift in the culture of the Sales division to a more open and inclusive workplace.
  • Conversations that are more open and non-judgmental, that validate rather than minimize others’ perspectives and experiences, leading to increased teamwork and productivity.
  • Visible changes in behaviors associated with inclusion, such as increased inquiry across difference and critical thinking about the experiences of different demographic groups.

*Anatomy of Change: How Inclusive Cultures Evolve and Calling All White Men: Can Training Help Create Inclusive Workplaces?


The Rockwell Automation Culture of Inclusion Journey has impacted more than 8,000 employees in 100 US locations. 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.