One of the most uncomfortable days Tim Kusek has spent in his 18-year career in strategic sourcing was the day he attended a new kind of skill-building class.
White Men as Full Diversity Partners training changed the way Tim leads and even the way he looks at the world. He realized that day that he wasn’t doing what he should or all he could to build a highly engaged, high-functioning team.
And he set out to change that.
Dominant group comes together for change
Rockwell Automation’s Culture of Inclusion journey 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.
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 and be engaged and partner with women and underrepresented groups in a meaningful way.
Change must include white men in positions of power – including Tim, Director of Commodities at Rockwell Automation.
“At the time I had only been managing teams for a few years, and I was sitting with people with many more years of management experience than I had, these were my role models,” said Tim. “But in that room, none of us had any more experience than the other. We all were learning together.”
Tim and his peers discussed the dynamics of white privilege. The process was difficult and thought-provoking. That training started new conversations and ways to look at recruitment and retention.
Building a diverse Integrated Supply Chain team
Tim realized that people who were different from him were experiencing the world in a very different way than he was – and that those differences would enlighten the work in a new way.
“People from different races, ethnicities, backgrounds and experiences would help my organization be more creative, innovative and productive,” Tim said. “It became clear why diversity, inclusion and equity was so important.”
It took Tim more than 10 years of hiring decisions to build one of the most diverse teams in the company.
“Our ability to create trust and belonging for everyone stems from how we value differences and treat each other with respect,” Tim said. “We develop our people and teams to reflect all dimensions of diversity, and as a result, we are a place where people can and want to do their best work.”
Hire for potential
Tim continues to encourage people to select candidates based on potential to bring diverse thought, perspectives and opinions (and not only experience); to seek passion and progress, not perfection; and to inspire experimentation.
“I make my hiring decisions based on what I believe a person was capable of doing, not only on what they already had done,” Tim said. “And now, our global team reflects our suppliers. When you have a diverse organization managing a diverse supply base, they are more capable of choosing and working with minority owned companies who also believe in this model. They have deeper connections, and those connections serve us all well.”
For those choosing a career in integrated supply chain, Tim reinforced the career growth opportunities.
“Our organization offers the ability to work with almost every function in a company to facilitate business,” Tim said. “That type of experience prepares people for roles in leadership and in almost every other function in a company. With this experience you are poised to take your career in any direction.”
Want to learn more about Integrated Supply Chain careers at Rockwell Automation? Visit our careers page or read about Bridget Martin’s international supply chain career opportunities.