Just a few months ago, Rockwell Automation employee Marcin Czyszczon got married.
That’s something a lot of people do. But for a transgender man living in Poland, that detail is indeed quite extraordinary.
A workplace that embraces differences
Marcin joined our Katowice office five years ago as a support engineer for software. He’s now a team leader, something he didn’t think was possible.
“When I joined, I wasn’t looking as much toward career advancement as I was considering culture,” Marcin said. “A friend at the company told me it was a strong, ethical and supportive workplace that focused on employee diversity, equity and inclusion.”
And that’s exactly what Marcin found when he started.
“The workplace was beyond what I had imagined,” Marcin said. “This is something of great importance to my generation of workers, and companies are responding with changes that create the kind of workplace that embraces difference and provides the tools and culture to support one another.”
When everything changes
When Marcin joined Rockwell, he was known by a different name.
He worried that his coworkers might have a hard time adjusting to his identity as Marcin.
It was an unfounded worry.
“Inclusion fuels our innovation and drives progress,” Marcin said. “Thankfully, the company has lived up to its promise to create an environment where everyone can and wants to do their best work. The effort is quite intentional. The approach gives future talent a true view into what to expect from our culture.”
A year after joining, Marcin told his manager that he was changing his name. And the process started.
“Although I was comfortable with my team and felt I was in a safe space, I still didn’t know what to expect,” Marcin said. “And I could not imagine a better response.”
Marcin said that Human Resources made the paperwork extremely easy; internal systems transitioned to use his new name and gender marker. Coworkers immediately started using Marcin when addressing him and if someone misgendered him, they quickly, thoughtfully and respectfully corrected the misstep so Marcin would not have to.
“I can speak from personal experience that this company is a place where you can be your best self and live all parts of your life,” Marcin said. “Your life, beliefs, gender identity, point of view and perspectives are honored.”
Intentional role model
One of the reasons Marcin strived for a team leader position was to be the mentor and role model people need if they are feeling alone or worried about revealing something important about themselves.
“During my transition, my manager, my team and the company culture made me feel safe,” Marcin said. “I want that for everyone. It’s my goal to make current employees and people considering joining our company feel that they can be anyone they want to be. Individuality is respected and honored.”
Culture Workshops and Managing Across Differences training are just a few of the tools managers and employees use to create an inclusive culture
“Marcin's story is a wonderful example of ‘Managing Across Difference’ training in action,” said Candace Barnes, director, Global DEI Programs. “Often, it’s many small actions that make the difference between an employee who's experiencing psychological safety and belonging and one who's not. Providing and supporting Marcin with exactly what he needed most to succeed demonstrates the behaviors we're want to foster as an organization.”
As a leader, Marcin wants to continue to raise awareness of the impact and value of differences and group dynamics in all of our interactions, and understand and remove barriers that may exist in our process, procedures and everyday interactions.
“It takes time to open eyes, hearts and minds,” Marcin said. “Together, we are doing the right things to continue to make a difference for underrepresented groups, including LGBTQ+. While we each have different, unique experiences, we can all appreciate a workplace where every employee realizes the support they deserve and knows that this is a place where they can succeed.”