Support for Minority Engineers Reflects Company Priorities and Values

Supporting Minority Engineers Reflects Priorities

We’re a global tech company continually searching and fighting for the best talent. I have watched, felt, and been a part of Rockwell Automation evolving as an innovator and employer that is focused on transforming the culture of the organization through recruitment, development and advancement of diverse talent.

So I speak from a place of knowledge and experience when I talk to potential candidates at recruiting events: Above everything else that a company offers, it’s that company’s culture that will become the most important and meaningful attribute to your career success.

Experience Shapes Perceptions

I proudly attended a historically black college (HBCU), and as an African American woman, my college campus was the first place where I was part of the majority and did not feel like the “only one.”

It was an important experience that has shaped the way I approach my work with diversity recruitment. I know firsthand what students will face in the workplace once they leave college and depending on where they choose to build their careers, many will enter and remain the minority.

Students – and all potential employees, really – need to feel that in their workplace, they will be appreciated and supported and recognized. This is universal – it does not apply to any one group.

What does apply to minority groups – and I’m speaking from personal experience here – is that they see themselves represented at their potential employer from the very first meeting with recruiters.

Read more about our culture in our Corporate Responsibility Report.

To do that, one of our priorities here at Rockwell Automation is to attend events like the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) annual convention.  Two things happen here:

  • For the first time, many of our recruiters are now among the minority, and they get a sense of the challenges these students have and will face.
  • The students, ready to graduate and start careers, understand the importance we as a company place on supporting events that support their personal and professional growth.

Building Brand is More Than Name Recognition 

NSBE’s annual convention and other events like it are a great opportunity to ”pre-interview” a potential employer. Here candidates can get the information needed to make informed decisions about a potential company.

That fact-finding is extremely important, and here’s why. In my blog, “Why Company Culture is the Most Important Factor for Career Success,” I talk about the hardest – but most important – story to convey to potential employees: company culture.One of the ways to get a peek into that culture is to see how a company recruits.

Blog: How to Tell Whether Your Company Values Diversity and Inclusion.

With limited time and so many potential interactions, there are questions students (and professionals seeking new opportunities) can ask to determine whether a company prioritizes minority development, career growth and success. For example:

  • Do you have organizations such as employee resource groups? And how do those groups develop their members?
  • How have you seen top talent navigate their careers?  What strategies have they used?
  • Do you have minority senior leaders?
  • How long have you been at the company and what do you like most about the culture?  What keeps you there?

See You There

NSBE’s annual convention and events like it are where important relationships start, where connections begin between you, the company and your career. 

If you’re coming to the National Society of Black Engineers annual convention March 21-25 in Pittsburgh, stop by and talk to me. I want to share my story with you, and hear yours.

Candace Barnes
Posted February 23, 2018 By Candace Barnes, Diversity Recruitment Program Manager North American Talent Acquisition, Rockwell Automation


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