Medtronic: Igniting Women to Lead Through the Medtronic Women’s Network (Case Study)Jan 16, 2020
2020 Catalyst Award Winner
In 2013, Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak refocused the Medtronic Women’s Network (MWN) based on his experience that diverse perspectives and people produce better decisions, better outcomes, and better business performance. The resulting company initiative—Igniting Women to Lead—is successfully creating an inclusive workplace where employees thrive while fulfilling the company mission of alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life.
MWN, consistently described as “business-driven and HR-enabled,” is run by employee volunteers—women and men from around the world. Members gain leadership and functional experience to advance their careers and are empowered to drive holistic change. In addition, MWN strategies are strongly linked to company metrics, success measures, and advancement opportunities.
For example, the company set a goal of 40% or more women in global leadership by 2020 and put in place corresponding strategies and programs to achieve results. This goal became part of Medtronic’s overall “40-30-20” goal: 40% or more women in global leadership, 30% or more women at manager level and above in Research & Development (R&D) globally, and 20% or more ethnically diverse managers in the United States by 2020. The company is currently at “38-25-22.”
Highlights of the initiative include:
- An MWN Leadership Team that is composed of 16 VPs—including four men—from a range of business groups and global geographic regions. They participate in Quarterly Diversity Reviews with the CEO, CHRO, and executive sponsors of Medtronic’s four other smaller diversity networks to review metrics, discuss culture transformation trends, encourage best practice sharing, and advance policy changes globally.
- Strategies to scale MWN activities and increase women in leadership across the globe. Currently, there are more than 15,000 MWN members across 115 hubs in 68 countries—a 585% growth rate in less than five years.
- A focus on women in R&D and STEM roles through Medtronic’s WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) program. WISE teams are active in 70 sites, including 37 in the United States and others in Canada, China, Europe, India, Israel, and Japan. WISE also designed Men Enabling Inclusion, a full-day workshop that helps men R&D managers understand the value of inclusion and diversity to drive culture change. More than 300 R&D leaders have participated in 19 workshops in 12 sites across the United States.
The results of the company’s global initiative are impressive. From 2015 to 2019, the representation of women vice presidents increased from 25% to 30%; women at the director level increased from 30% to 36%; and women in R&D increased from 24% to 29%. In addition, Medtronic achieved significant growth in its inclusion scores with women overall seeing a four-point increase to 75% and women in R&D reaching near world-class levels at 79%.
Medtronic plc (www.medtronic.com), headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is among the world’s largest medical technology, services and solutions companies—alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life for millions of people around the world. Medtronic employs more than 90,000 people worldwide, serving physicians, hospitals and patients in more than 150 countries. The company is focused on collaborating with stakeholders around the world to take healthcare Further, Together.