Hello, my name is Roger Crockett. Two months ago, I stepped into my new role as Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at Western Digital. I’m really excited to join a company where we strive to make everyone—and I mean everyone—feel welcome and valued.
We’re a global company with over 70,000 employees—each one with a unique background, way of thinking, and way of working. One of the best parts of my role is to build a collaborative and respectful work environment where everyone and their contributions are celebrated.
Guiding workplaces to be more diverse and inclusive is near and dear to my heart. For more than twenty years, I’ve advocated for workforce equity and assisted business leaders with diversity and inclusion strategy, leadership development and strategic communications. As experience has taught me, directing these initiatives for a global company requires just as much patience as turning game-changing ideas into business innovations.
It’s definitely a journey, but I’m excited by the possibilities the future holds for our workplace. I recently sat down with our corporate communications team to share my thoughts on embracing diversity and practicing inclusion at Western Digital. May you find the interview enlightening!
Where is Western Digital continuing to grow its diversity and inclusion initiatives?
ROGER: On a daily basis, I’m always trying to tie in whatever’s happening with the business at Western Digital to the initiatives that we want to get underway for diversity and inclusion. Right now, we’re working on a handful of major priorities. Those include:
Unconscious Bias Training
Our entire organization, including our executive leadership team, is invested in unconscious bias workshops, webinars, and more to build an inclusive culture that supports diversity.
Growing Our Pipeline of Talent
We’re actively seeking out more diversity in our talent pool, from interns all the way up to executive leadership roles, including developing our top women leaders.
Expanding our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
Based on shared experience or interests, we have a Women’s Innovation Network, Veteran’s Employee Network, Black Employees Network, a network for our LGBTQ employees, one for Hispanic employees and we’re working on one for people with disabilities. Each ERG is designed to enable these employees to build relationships and connections, with their colleagues. We also have the Pathfinders Network to provide a welcoming community for our younger employees to pursue professional development resources and opportunities.
The globalization of business has opened doors for teams to work together across ages, languages, time zones, and cultures. In your eyes, what’s the true value of having a diverse and inclusive global workplace?
ROGER: I think the value is two-fold. First, we would be remiss if we didn’t connect this idea to the history of diversity and inclusion initiatives celebrated each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The world becomes a more humane place when we tap into the mix of experiences of the people who walk this Earth. Everyone has different experiences that make them unique. It makes the world that we live in so much richer. We become smarter because we learn things from people that have experiences that we don’t have.
Second, it’s important to translate that mindset to the workplace. The same principle about diversity and inclusion applies here. We get smarter, more innovative, and more productive by tapping into the different experiences, educational backgrounds, and cultural backgrounds of our employees. All of this helps us be smarter and better as an organization, create better products and be more competitive.
Does Western Digital have an official position on diversity and inclusion?
ROGER: Yes, we at Western Digital have an official Diversity & Inclusion Statement:
We thrive on the power and potential of diversity … As a global company, we believe that the most effective way to embrace the diversity of our customers and communities is to mirror it from within. We believe that the fusion of various perspectives results in the best outcomes for our employees, our company, our customers, and the world around us.
Where do you see the biggest room for improvement for companies to be more equitable?
ROGER: I think the biggest room for improvement in this hyper-competitive economic landscape—this “go-go” environment—is our instinct to stick to what we’re comfortable with. The problem with a company staying in its comfort zone is that it’s hard to get better, understand better, and identify new opportunities because we’re blinded by doing the same things.
Now, I’m not saying companies should stop doing what’s been working for them. Instead, I’d like to see more organizations take on the challenge of recruiting and retaining diverse talent, who, in turn, could create the next wave of “game-changing” technologies.
If you’re a hiring manager, don’t just hire people from the same schools and same clubs, who look like you and think like you. Stretch to think differently and to hire differently. That’s where you’re going to get new ideas that push you to greater and greater things. Again, it’s about broadening our networks, opening our minds, and pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone. All in the interest of getting better, being more competitive, and being more productive.
Under your leadership, how do you see Western Digital continuing to make progress in its diversity and inclusion initiatives?
ROGER: We’re on a journey, no question about that. I mentioned at the outset a few of the early building blocks. One of the next steps in the journey is to create a diversity and inclusion council, which will likely consist of members from our executive leadership team.
I think that this will take a little bit of time. Ultimately, the goal is to look back after a few years and know that we are “doing it right”. To know that we are an admirably diverse and inclusive culture. One that other individuals want to work for because we are so diverse and inclusive. And one that other companies look to and say, “Wow, they are doing it right and we need to do what they’re doing.”
Learn More about Diversity & Inclusion at Western Digital
Our culture builds teams of diverse perspectives.
Our people drive STEM initiatives in the community.
Positions available! Come shape the future of data with us!
Roger Crockett is Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion at Western Digital.