Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology



April/May 2011

Diversity/Careers April/May 2011 Issue

Women of color in IT
Aerospace & defense
Insurance IT
Manufacturing tech
Civil engineering
BEYA conference

Veteran-owned companies
WBENC conference preview
News & Views
Regional roundup
Supplier diversity

Diversity in action
News & Views

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Diversity In Action

Stryker provides for its customers' medical and quality-of-life needs

"This is a stable industry that people can feel good about joining, and we have need for technical expertise," says the company's director of staffing

'It's exciting to be part of an industry that is growing and has the direct outcome of improving people's lives. This is a stable industry that people can feel good about joining, and we have a need for technical expertise," says Monica Perkins, director of staffing and talent sourcing at Stryker (Kalamazoo, MI).

"People get a chance to do things they haven't done before, relying on their natural abilities to work on the latest cutting-edge medical technology."

Stryker is a major player in the $35.6 billion worldwide orthopedic market. With products used in more than 120 countries, the company prides itself on simplified surgical techniques and improved hospital efficiencies.

Perkins notes that Stryker's diverse businesses and locations give "fantastic opportunity" to people with a desire to see and work in different parts of the globe, and even to follow new career paths. "Someone who comes in as an engineer may move to other operations or even human resources.

"There are a variety of career tracks," she says. "With our global footprint we can help people grow in ways that not all companies can offer."

Opportunities start at the entry-level helpdesk and go all the way up the chain to high-level strategic positions. People can be involved in areas ranging from design to manufacturing and quality-focused operations.

Stryker's portfolio of products ranges from orthopedic to neurovascular devices. "We have a span across the specialties. In the instruments division an engineer could work on a medical instrument for surgery or in orthopedics, on the implants that go into the body. There's a scope of titles and levels of responsibility," Perkins adds.

As for experience needed, many high-precision manufacturing skills are transferable, so there are opportunities for MEs and EEs as well as biomedical engineers, Perkins says. Stryker recruits at groups like SWE and SHPE. Recruiters also hit more than fifty universities nationwide. Employees in IT and engineering as well as management join HR pros to partner with the engineering groups and recruit at the schools.

With the company's continuous hiring needs, its campus recruiting program is important to a strategy focused on succession planning, Perkins says. "A lot of what we do is very individual. There are many programs across our divisions that allow for career and management development, like leadership academies and partnerships with colleges."

New recruits can expect plenty of support at Stryker. The Stryker Women's Network, for example, was started in 2008 and now has more than 1,700 members, both men and women. "They're a fantastic group, active in our culture whether it's for networking events or speaker series, and people from different practices and functional areas participate," Perkins says. "Networking events are terrific to build cross-divisional relationships."

Stryker also has robust mentorship programs, she adds. "Depending on what people want to learn about leadership styles, we partner them with colleagues who can help them grow and develop."

Both employee resource groups and diversity councils operate divisionally. They're on their own but share best practices.

When it comes to work/life balance, Perkins thinks what's important "is people getting work done and following through on responsibilities. Not everyone has the same way to get there," she says.

For example, flextime is handled informally for the most part. Employees can work out accommodations with managers and many do work remotely from home at least some of the time.

Stryker offers on-site fitness centers and tries to help employees "manage their lives in the best way possible." An employee assistance program also helps with things like researching eldercare and daycare centers.

"There are countless examples of employees volunteering in the community. The projects may be launched company-wide or done by grassroots efforts. Finding a group that works with a local cause or charity and does powerful things is very much part of our culture."

The bottom line? "If you have the talents we need, then we need you. Customers will always have needs for quality of life and patient care, and that's what we're here to provide."



Headquarters: Kalamazoo, MI
Employees: 20,000 employees
Revenues: $7.3 billion in 2010
Business: Medical technology

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