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6 ways Stryker supports parents returning to their careers: Introducing #Returnity

Many parents will attest to the fine art of balancing family and a career. Promises of being present in the moment and not missing school plays, often collide with a last minute meeting or a deadline that has to be met.

Meet Archita, Director of Marketing at Stryker’s Medical Division. A mother, a career woman and a conversation starter. Read Archita’s story on #Returnity and how when women and men in the workplace empower each other, we can drive the change we wish to see.


A year ago, following my third maternity leave, I wrote a blog post on LinkedIn where I made a commitment. A commitment to be brave enough to start a conversation that matters, as Margaret Wheatley so eloquently implored. That commitment was a conversation on #Returnity.

#Returnity gives us an opportunity to live our Stryker mission of working together with our customers to help make healthcare better and focuses on:

  • Planning an engaging return to work for parents on parental leave

  • Empowering returning parents with choices to pursue their ambitions for their teams, companies, and themselves without normalizing a reduction in career progression, pay, or opportunity

  • Empowering managers and team members to feel and be supported during this time of change in the team

Why is this important? A recent survey of Stryker employees and surveys in Harvard Business Review indicate the following:

  • 93% of off-ramped highly qualified women want to re-enter the workforce

  • 43% of women leave the workforce following a parental leave

  • 76% of parents who had a return to work plan felt supported

  • 82% of team members experienced an increase in job satisfaction while working on a stretch project for a parent out on leave

  • 56% of managers would like to be supported with training to better support their employees who are out on parental leave

  • 76% of fathers are back to work a week after the birth or adoption of a child

The original blog post turned into support from our Stryker Women’s Network (SWN) employee resource group led by Stryker in Amsterdam and the European SWN leadership teams. We built a strong and committed team of eight #Returnity warriors who have come together to help drive continuous improvements in how we can transition the conversation from what the policies are to how we can plan for an engaging return back to work from parental leave for all those involved. With the unwavering support of our human resources team we are working through what and how we roll out #Returnity to our campuses.

A pilot program is in progress at our Ireland campus and has given us an opportunity to listen in and learn with the focus of:

  • listening to our parents to be, parents back from leave, parents on leave, managers and team members

  • learning about what’s working well and what’s not working well, and sharing best practices that can be supported or developed

Stryker supports returning parents in numerous ways, for example:

  • 'Keep in Touch’ days that are paid for in certain countries

  • Planned transitions back with flexible time

  • Opportunities for team members to grow and develop within a new area while covering for the returning parent

  • The Milk Stork program in certain regions

  • Breastfeeding rooms

  • Flexibility for either parent to avail recurring days off towards their parental leave post return

What excites me the most is that Stryker is always willing to listen to employees, to keep reimagining, reinventing and re-engaging on how we can better take care of our people. This is something I don’t take for granted!

What can parents look forward to next at Stryker?

We have completed the pilot employee study in one of our biggest campuses across Ireland and completed 1:1 virtual interviews across 6 regions globally. With this, we have a list of key asks and recommendations that we look to share with our leadership team and drive towards a comprehensive #Returnity rollout that empowers our parents, their managers and their team members.

For 15 years I have had the opportunity to experience how engaging an empowered workplace can be! And most recently, how a commitment has turned into an empowering movement!




For more on our empowering culture and career opportunities, visit careers.stryker.com

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