Q&A: How Stryker Has Supported the Frontlines During COVID-19

 Q&A: How Stryker Has Supported the Frontlines During COVID-19

Employee Experience

As a medical technology firm, Stryker has an important role to play during the pandemic. But, the Kalamazoo, Michigan, firm has gone beyond that role by supporting its employees’ own innovative efforts to help on the frontlines.

No wonder Stryker was awarded a place on the 2020Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & ProductionTM list. Fortune just published this list, based on our employee survey research on workplace culture.

We spoke to Katy Fink, vice president and chief human resource officer, about Stryker’s high-trust, inclusive workplace culture, as well as its pandemic response.

Great Place To Work: Can you share a story that captures your company culture?

Katy Fink of Stryker: It’s not uncommon to hear stories showcasing our employees’ commitment to our mission and values, and this did not change during the pandemic. For instance, a team at our medical division came together to develop a low-cost, readily available bed to ship to hospitals quickly, as caregivers faced the unprecedented need for additional equipment on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis. 

In response to the need, our employees created the Emergency Relief Bed in seven days, and we supported their efforts every step of the way. We value the innovative and caring spirit of our employees and appreciate all they do to meet the needs of our customers.

We donated more than 22,500 Emergency Relief Bed Kits to Project C.U.R.E., a nonprofit organization that collects and distributes medical equipment and supplies to hospitals and clinics throughout the developing world. The kits included the bedframe, mattress, and IV pole. We also donated 6,000 replacement mattresses.

Great Place To Work: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your operations? How have you kept your employees physically safe?

Katy Fink of Stryker: When the pandemic began, we formed a coronavirus action team that led the implementation of new policies and guidance on personal protective equipment, physical distancing and travel restrictions. We developed a phased approach to returning to work that is driven by data and input from medical experts. And, we developed policies to make sure that our staff meets the safety requirements of our customers and hospitals when essential product support is needed.

We also quickly developed new ways to engage and train our customers on the safe and effective use of products through virtual training. While this has been a challenging situation for all of us, this time has also given us the opportunity to reevaluate and develop new ways of working and collaborating with each other and our customers.

Great Place To Work: You and your team shared a moving story of your employee Morgan Goldsmith. Morgan, a Stryker customer engagement innovations manager and a registered nurse, not only volunteered to care for patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but worked to create a Stryker policy allowing employees who retain their clinical licenses to serve in the field with company support.

You now allow U.S. employees who are licensed healthcare professionals to receive paid leave and maintain their medical benefits if they choose to serve during a crisis. What does Morgan’s efforts say about your culture? And have others taken advantage of the new policy?

Katy Fink of Stryker: Morgan’s story is a great illustration of how we are united around and driven to fulfill our mission of making healthcare better. She answered that call to rejoin the front lines to offer her skills, even though it required some personal sacrifices. Morgan’s story is also a good example of how, even as a large company, we are a family. Her Stryker family supported her and encouraged her during her time on the front lines.

Great Place To Work: Katy, what is the connection between Stryker’s high-trust culture and the way you’ve responded to the COVID-19 crisis?

Katy Fink of Stryker: Challenging times such as the pandemic test your organization and its values. We’ve been fortunate to know that although we’ve had to change the way we do things, we’ve been able to lean on the strength of our culture.

Having one that is approachable and encourages open communication fosters engagement, even in a time when virtual interactions are more the norm. Our employees continue to produce remarkable results, keeping customers and their patients at the heart of everything we do. 

See the full list of Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production™ .

For information on how companies are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic impacts, check out the Great Place To Work Resource Library.


Ed Frauenheim