Walking the Walk Toward Racial Justice – Medical Alley Association

Walking the Walk Toward Racial Justice

The world was defined this year by the impact of COVID-19, and this summer, by the senseless murder of George Floyd. The global ripple of Floyd’s death shined anew the spotlight on the systemic racism that weighs down our ability to truly progress as a society – to bend Dr. King’s arc.

We recognize there are no simple solutions to systemic racism. However, we believe that Medtronic can play an active role in driving progress. Indeed, this work is perhaps more important now than ever before. We have spoken about the need to act and the urgency that is required, and our company is on the move. 

First, Medtronic’s African Descent Network led community conversations about racial justice. Colleagues across the company had the opportunity to listen and learn about what is needed and to understand the sentiments of impatience, and more troubling, doubt – doubt that enough progress can be made.

Second, our company began a series of impactful external commitments to support organizations like the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis – to begin a process of using our resources to help our communities.

Third, we held a global Day of Action for Racial Equity Progress where we recommitted ourselves to the importance of inclusion and diversity. Our colleagues from 24 countries around the world contributed thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars to social justice organizations throughout the United States.

We are writing now to talk about our fourth – and most meaningful – initiative outlined in our Quarterly Diversity Review in July and ratified by the ExCom this week. We will move to the next phase of our work to accelerate efforts of our Executive Committee leaders. Our goal is to double down on new commitments designed to deliver meaningful, tangible progress and achieve clearly articulated objectives for diversity, inclusion and opportunity.

The following game changing decisions were unanimously approved this week by the Executive Committee. These are the next steps on the journey that Earl Bakken spelled out in Tenet 5 of the Medtronic Mission more than 60 years ago – to value the personal worth of all employees.

Here is what we will implement in FY21 into FY22:  

  • Establish the executive leaders of our company, across Medtronic (not Networks), as the clear owners of our Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) strategy and its successful execution.
  • Link the attainment of I&D goals with compensation and advancement opportunities for all people managers.
  • Continue to take bias out of our talent and process mechanisms (e.g. selection, promotion, learning and development opportunities) and ensure they are adopted, reinforced and systemically integrated with measurable outcomes.
  • Integrate proactive retention and inclusion mechanisms (including identifying specific experiences and roles needed to achieve career aspirations) into our talent processes to help foster career growth at Medtronic.
  • Establish representation goals that are equitable and locally relevant by region.
  • Provide education to eliminate bias and microaggressions, and foster inclusive behaviors and ally-ship, and ensure that education is required for all managers and available to employees.
  • Increase manager capabilities and accountabilities by investing in specific leader training, provide clear expectations of leaders and people managers on what our I&D goals are and what their specific role is to advance them.
  • Bring a cross-functional group together within the next several weeks to explicitly define a common/unified mechanism for measuring I&D results and methods for holding managers accountable to deliver. 

If we do these things, with rigor and conviction, we will transform our I&D promise into reality for all our employees. Medtronic is well positioned to become a global healthcare leader in equity, inclusion and diversity, and it will take the belief and conviction of every one of us — no individual leader can do this alone. We need all of us, from our 10,000 people managers, to our 90,000 employees — to fully make our aspirations a reality.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than the words.”  

Our call to action starts with the top leaders in our company, but it requires a commitment from all of us to believe in ourselves and each other. Which means recognizing that only with the weight of everyone, together, will we ever be able to bend the arc – and achieve equity and inclusion for all. 

Geoff Martha, Chief Executive Officer

Carol Surface, Chief Human Resources Officer

Dr. Sally Saba, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer

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