Diversity & Inclusion Program Award
For making diversity, inclusion, and equity central to company culture; for developing programs that attract, retain, and advance women in STEM; and for strategic partnerships and outreach efforts to diversify the STEM talent pipeline.
The Medtronic commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity begins with the commitment from its executive leadership, including its board of directors, chief executive officer, chief human resources officer, and executive committee, who are responsible and accountable for driving diversity, inclusion, and equity across the company.
The culture at Medtronic, a global medical device and medical technology company, is rooted in the belief that diversity, inclusion, and equity is a business imperative because it creates an enriching work experience that by fostering belonging for each employee to be their unique self encourages authenticity and drives better decision-making and business performance.
That is the approach Medtronic embraced when it launched an initiative in 2016 to develop strategies that would increase the percentage of women engineers, scientists, and research and development professionals at all levels within the company. Omar Ishrak, Ph.D., former chair and CEO, engaged with the Medtronic Women’s Network (MWN) to accelerate systemic change. MWN is one of five diversity networks that are empowered to champion programs and policies that advance women and diverse groups.
MWN leaders collaborated with the Medtronic Research & Development (R&D) Council to co-sponsor WISE, Women in Science and Engineering. WISE focused on four areas called the WISE ROAD — Refresh Culture, Outreach, Acquisition, and Development — and established more than 15 programs deployed throughout the company’s science and engineering organizations at 72 locations across the world. The efforts of WISE are helping to increase the number of women in science and engineering roles at Medtronic.
These programs include coaching, mentoring, workshops, partnerships with schools and local universities, internship programs, diversity networks, and conference sponsorships. Some were offered in a virtual format to increase access among those working remotely.
The Men Enabling Inclusion one-day workshop for male managers helped participants understand allyship and the value of creating an inclusive culture that respects diverse styles to improve team effectiveness. During the workshop, male managers explore and address their unconscious biases of women in technical roles and hear firsthand the challenges they face. Some 300 managers have participated in 17 workshops.
WISE piloted a program with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and iRelaunch for women reentering the workforce. Careers 2.0 offered women engineers and scientists a paid six-month “returnship,” along with coaching, peer support, and technical training. Many roles led to full-time positions as senior engineers and managers.
WISE recognized SWE as a professional development opportunity for women engineers and as a way to recruit and hire top talent. Medtronic sponsors SWE memberships, and in 2019, SWE members at Medtronic increased to 445, from a base of fewer than 100 prior to WISE. Medtronic also funds employees’ attendance at the SWE annual conference.
Since implementing WISE within its overall diversity, inclusion, and equity approach, Medtronic has seen measurable improvements in women’s representation and engagement in technical roles. From 2015 to 2020, the representation of women at all levels in science and engineering roles increased from 24% to 31%. The company is working to attain gender parity and proportional ethnic representation for all employees everywhere.