By Roger Crockett VP, Global Equity, Inclusion & Diversity, Western Digital
This past year has been like a massive social and cultural earthquake. The landscape as we know it has shifted dramatically – shaken by a global pandemic and rocked by racial injustice. The after-shocks of these events continue to test us, forcing companies to reassess the values that buttress our organizations.
To solidify our foundational values amid the shifting sands of culture, we’re evolving our approach to Diversity & Inclusion at Western Digital. We’re committed to an approach that resonates among employees at all our sites worldwide, and that reflects the importance we place on maintaining a fair and respectful work environment. To that end, we’ve refreshed our objectives to place emphasis on the following three pillars:
- Supporting a collective journey toward equity for all
- Fostering an inclusive workplace in which all employees feel they belong and their contributions are valued
- Creating a more diverse workforce that mirrors our customers and communities
All three of these objectives are important, but given the jarring injustices we’ve seen over the past year, we’re placing increased emphasis on equity going forward.
Equity recognizes that different people have different needs, experiences, and opportunities. Equitable processes in the workplace help give those from underrepresented groups – for us that’s women in technical and leadership roles across our global footprint, Black and Hispanic professionals in the U.S., our people with disabilities around the world, LGBTQ employees, Veterans, and young professionals – the same equal opportunity as those from less marginalized groups.
Equity is not just about eliminating bias from workplace programs such as pay processes, for example. It’s about creating an environment in which fairness is woven into the fabric of our corporate culture.
In the wake of recent race-based events, we’ve realized the need to understand the differences in how our employees experience life at the company and beyond. We’re learning to listen to what constitutes fairness from their perspective. As our CEO, David Goeckeler, wrote in a message to employees, “Racism cannot be accepted. Lack of awareness and silence cannot be excused. We must use the power of our voices and actions to drive change.”
So, at Western Digital we’ve embarked on what the Equity, Inclusion & Diversity team calls a “Journey to Racial Understanding.”
Tips & Resources
To help expand understanding, we’ve created a toolkit of basic tips and resources to help employees on their “Journey to Racial Understanding.”
The toolkit is designed to support greater knowledge and communication regarding race, ethnic differences, as well as culture and diversity. It does not provide all the answers. But it does offer some talking points and tips to help guide employees in:
- Having constructive conversations
- Learning the importance of active listening
- Sharing Do’s and Don’ts regarding race
- Adopting ideas for what you can personally do to drive change
Listening & Learning Forums
In addition to the toolkit, we’re creating a variety of forums for discussion to foster cultural empathy and broaden racial understanding. We’ve conducted forums for constructive conversation between our Business Resource Groups and CEO. Some of our business units have opened their town hall meetings to discussion about race and diversity, and we’re encouraging business units to listen and learn from each other.
Furthermore, we’ve added “Equality” as a fourth area of philanthropy, along with the Environment, Hunger Relief and STEM Education. This new pillar of giving further demonstrates Western Digital’s commitment to combating racial and social injustice anywhere in the world. By allocating funding to support global equality, the company will directly support reputable organizations with programs dedicated to eradicating racism and injustice.
No question the road ahead is a long one, but we’re committed to continuing our march toward equity for all.