Empowering Change Through Diversity Networks & ERGs

Diversity Networks and employee resource groups (ERGs) foster belonging for employees and support initiatives for a more inclusive Medtronic.
Aug 11, 2021 2:15 PM ET

Diversity Networks and ERGs often begin as platform for inclusion — to create space for employees to connect based on shared identities. But at Medtronic, our Diversity Networks and ERGs do even more. They help role-model inclusion and diversity and, through unique partnerships and volunteer efforts, help amplify our impact in communities.

Diversity Networks Make a Difference

It’s in our Mission “to recognize the personal worth of all employees.” Our five Diversity Networks — African Descent Network (ADN), Asian Impact@Medtronic (AIM) Network, Hispanic Latino Network (HLN), Medtronic Women’s Network (MWN), and PRIDE Network — create opportunities for shared identity groups and allies to empower change. Take Martha Ha.

When Martha was invited to join the AIM, she had just started with Medtronic and was unsure if her participation would have any meaningful impact. What were AIM’s vision and strategic priorities? How did the AIM membership view the Network? As she became more involved and was selected to co-chair AIM, Martha began to understand the AIM Network’s true capabilities. She saw that she had an opportunity to mentor and role-model as an advocate for inclusion and diversity.

Employee Resource Groups

ERGs represent both local hubs of our Networks and additional shared-identity groups at Medtronic. With more than 26,000 members across 70 countries, these grassroots, employee-led groups help recruit diverse talent and foster belonging within their particular community. Each group works with allies and partners to advance inclusion, diversity, and equity efforts.

A sampling of our ERGs that are empowering change across the company include:

  • ABLED (Awareness Benefiting Leadership & Employees About Disabilities)
  • American Indian Employee Resource Group
  • Christian Employee Resource Group
  • Medtronic Jewish Community
  • Medtronic Young Professionals
  • Muslims and Friends
  • Veterans Employee Resource Group

Accepting More, Embracing More, and Collaborating More

Diversity Networks and ERGs continue to expand. Not only are they growing, they’re becoming even more inclusive by sharing best practices with each other; collaborating to advance a common goal of equity; and elevating our overall focus on inclusion, diversity, and equity.

Every year, new local ERGs emerge and more allies join Diversity Networks, building a deeper, wider understanding and also empowering change in our communities. In just five years, the Medtronic Women’s Network has grown 5x its size, with members joining all across the world.

Our Diversity Networks are always looking for more intentional opportunities to increase allyship and intersectionality.

Allyship at Medtronic

Our Diversity Networks are open to all employees. Allies join our Networks and play a critical role:

  • Medtronic Women’s Network (MWN) has an ally group called Men Advocating Equity, where men actively listen and learn about women’s issues, support women based on what they say they need from allies, and help mitigate behaviors and practices that put women at a disadvantage in the workplace.
  • Following protests over racial injustice in 2020, our Bay Area African Descent Network (ADN) hub saw a 310% increase in membership— from all backgrounds. New members quickly accepted the ADN’s challenge to learn more about the social issues facing Black Americans and to be open to new perspectives. Many new members joined and volunteered for event-planning committees, further demonstrating genuine allyship.

Accelerating Diverse LeadersJoining Diversity Networks and ERGs is an opportunity to network with peers, managers, and other divisions of the company. From VPs to new hires, manufacturing to HR, members are given a unique (and influential) audience to build and execute cross-functional teams and projects. The LIFT program, concepted and piloted by the African Descent Network (ADN), selects high-potential Black talent for a comprehensive sponsorship program, creating a sought-after pipeline of talent. Through coaching, classes, and a capstone business-case project, the nine-month program builds emerging mid-career talent into strong business leaders. Because the model was so successful, the Hispanic Latino Network (HLN) implemented the program for its members; 25% of the people in the first HLN LIFT cohort got a promotion or development opportunity while in the program. Our recent Asian Impact@Medtronic Network (AIM) and Women in Sales cohorts are on track to see similar success.Expanding Impact

Diversity Networks and ERGs are expanding efforts to show solidarity, supporting diverse communities, and empowering change — even beyond Medtronic.

  • July 2020: The African Descent Network (ADN) supported a company-wide day of action to address racial inequities, where employees in 24 countries contributed more than 3,800 volunteer hours.
  • 2020-21: When COVID-19 magnified health disparities facing Black and Brown people, the Hispanic Latino Network (HLN) helped champion a steering committee to focus on addressing gaps in chronic diseases(opens new window — such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, and obesity — through representation, interventions in the care pathway, and advocacy for technology access.
  • February 2021: The PRIDE Network hosted a companywide #LoveisLove campaign surrounding Valentine’s Day and reached outside our walls through Medtronic social-media engagement.
  • February 2021: Medtronic Women’s Network (MWN) and the African Descent Network (ADN) joined forces to raise awareness of women’s heart health and advocacy. Leveraging the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, the Networks developed an internal, international campaign that included information sessions, panel discussions, patient stories, and local hub events.
  • March 2021: In the wake of anti-Asian violence, Network leaders came together to offer listening sessions and resources in solidarity with the Asian community.

One Unwavering Commitment to Greater Change

When leaders and employees bring their authentic selves to work and we learn from each other’s different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences, we help accelerate the delivery of our Mission, both locally and globally. Diversity Networks and ERGs supercharge that effort.

No matter a person’s background, each group is empowering change and presenting opportunities to learn, reflect, and act. In this culture of belonging, employees come together as mentors, advocates, and allies to drive our company and our communities toward a more equitable future. Working as one, we are stronger together.

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