Article: Living the agile mindset is key to business transformation: Titus Arnold, Medtronic

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Living the agile mindset is key to business transformation: Titus Arnold, Medtronic

In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Titus Arnold, Director of HR, India & Commercial Excellence APAC, Medtronic shares some incredible insights on what it takes to become a great place to work. As important as it is to achieve business transformation, we have to focus on building an inclusive, innovative, diverse, positive employee experience as well.
Living the agile mindset is key to business transformation: Titus Arnold, Medtronic

With the pandemic raging across the globe yet again causing another wave of unprecedented challenges for businesses at large, it is highly imperative for us to take a step back and look at the lessons learned. This is our time to do better in not only successfully achieving business transformation but to take a lead in improving the larger picture of employee experience as you cannot achieve one without the other! Medtronic, a leading global healthcare technology company has not only experienced immense growth but has also been awarded the Great Place to Work® certification for the third time in a row. To learn more about what the right choices this company made to propel the business and people agenda forward, People Matters held an exclusive interaction with Titus Arnold.

Titus has a rich and diverse experience across sectors like FMCG, Automotive, Industrial and Healthcare. He held key leadership and People Manager roles in large and medium Enterprises. He has exposure to Compensation & Benefits, HR Operations, Learning & Development, Organization Development, Employee Engagement as well as Industrial Relations. He joined Medtronic India as the Head of Human Resources in November 2006.  He is responsible for driving the HR strategy that aligns with the strategic imperatives of Medtronic. His key areas of focus are Human Capital Management, Change Management, Talent Acquisition and HR Operations.

Levelling up your strategic HR initiatives:

Titus begins the conversation by focusing on two developments that propelled the business forward. One was the pandemic and the other was the innovation in healthcare technology which demanded a complete rethinking and recalibration of the workspace.

He rightly points out, ‘With the onset of the pandemic, the pivotal function of HR had become significant, and we had to step up by leading a rapid response to keep the workforce engaged, productive and resilient.’

Medtronic had to transform their ecosystem to fall in line with the innovation in the healthcare industry, an agile mindset had become a key asset in supporting their customers. But on the employee side of the equation, a number of strategies had to be put in place to keep the momentum. From leveraging technology to enable easier adaptation to working from home, offering a seamless employee experience, ensuring productivity in the new normal and customer satisfaction in a virtual setting to collaborating with internal IT teams to keep the communication channels open and accessible were significant initiatives. We also introduced some new initiatives like, Roobaru which in Urdu translates to ‘face to face’ was a strategy implemented to facilitate upward communication and actions from the inputs we received. 

We also gave our talent opportunities to make a meaningful impact across APAC, through the eTalent X program. This is a talent exchange program that was virtually implemented to facilitate skill building, career development and innovation across the region. Titus also reiterates that for effective business transformation and success, employee engagement along with an agile mindset and critical initiatives are required to sustain employee performance and employee engagement. 

What makes Medtronic India a great workplace?

Our primary goal was the wellbeing of our employees. The company led a number of initiatives targeted at total wellbeing and encouraging work-life balance. It even stepped up during the pandemic to offer support through task force teams across regions and informative chatbots for virtual support when employees needed vital support. Employee assistance programs were set up as well to aid employees and their families during such difficult times. Efforts were also made to encourage interaction among the workforce to ward off the occasional spells of loneliness; it was imperative to maintain the human touch during these unprecedented times. We had Friday engagements wherein employees could learn Yoga, appreciate soulful music and invest in hobbies. 

Medtronic has an impactful awards and recognition system in place but a unique one was when we initiated regular team calls with the entire Company to communicate the progress, celebrate success and reward achievements. Our MD personally led these calls every time. Some of the ratings that we’d received in the recent Great Place to Work® Trust Index© employee survey validates our commitment to employee welfare as, 90% employees felt proud to share with others that they work for Medtronic. Other reference points relate to the culture of respect in Medtronic and 90% felt they were treated fairly regardless of race, cast and gender. This is also reflected in how the attrition rates for Medtronic is 2% lower than industry standards because the people who join are not only wholeheartedly welcomed but are also made to believe that they can make a difference and deliver satisfactory customer service.

Bringing in a diverse talent population was a key initiative.  We hired talent in remote locations and gave them a wonderful onboarding and learning experience. What differentiates us versus the rest is that we hired this diverse talent on our rolls whilst many others have experimented with contingent staffing.

In the Great Place to Work® survey we scored 84% on the metric of making employees feel welcomed. This is largely due to the strong onboarding system they have in place which is driven to build a vibrant employee community who show up every day to change lives. 

People are the greatest asset of any organization:

Titus shared with us how the HR function led conversations with the leadership to recognise the human factor in the success of the organization. During such extraordinary times, progressive steps relying not just on technology but on the important value of empathy makes a huge difference. 

The goal of Medtronic is to become the undisputed leader in healthcare technology. To drive this forward, the company went above and beyond to recruit talent from even Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, so that access to latest therapies can be further improved in smaller towns. The conversations with the leadership to facilitate this was very satisfying. But equally critical was how the HR team spent time and intellect on building a wonderful employee experience to keep their people engaged, to push them to offer their best and recognizing them of the incredible contributions they make to the community.

By relying on human capital insights, they have improved their learning and development programs, taken note of attrition trends and retained high potentials. We have leveraged trends in the organizational health surveys as well and also invested in conducting regular pulse surveys to know how their employees were feeling while driving engagement, inclusion and innovation. 

Having spoken at length about the wonderful initiatives at place in Medtronic to drive business transformation and employee experience, Titus concludes this insightful conversation with these lines, ‘In the unprecedented times we live in, it is very important for us to have an agile way of doing things. Flexibility is more important to us than ever before, so is understanding the nuances of the business to help the company succeed during stable and turbulent times.’

To view the entire conversation, follow the link here

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Topics: Employee Relations, Culture, Diversity, Corporate Wellness Programs, #Hiring

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