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  • Writer's pictureStryker

Growing talent through employee resource groups

Updated: Apr 3

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are employee-led groups within a company that are formed around a shared characteristic or experience, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. At Stryker, we’re proud to offer nine ERGs designed to provide a space for employees to connect, support one another, and advocate for their needs within the workplace.

Being involved in an ERG can be a valuable experience for employees. ERGs offer a variety of benefits for participants, such as providing a supportive community, creating a feeling of belonging and giving a platform to advocate for diverse perspectives. Each ERG advances our workplace by driving innovation and creating developmental opportunities for members.

By joining an ERG, members are invited to participate in various career development initiatives such as mentorship programs and hold leadership roles within the group. Taking a leadership position within an ERG encourages employees to prioritize their professional growth and develop their careers.

According to a study conducted by The Institute for Corporate Productivity (ic4p), 87% of survey respondents reported that ERGs were more effective at fostering collaborative skills than other leadership development practices.

How do we grow talent through ERG leadership roles?

1. Technical development

ERG leaders can gain experience in areas that may not be readily available in their day-to-day roles. Technical skills can include financial planning, budget oversite, project management, strategic planning, and program and event execution.

2. Visibility

Leadership within an ERG can provide higher visibility and drive action at key levels within the organization. ERG leaders have the opportunity to connect with senior management, deepen relationships through collaborative interaction, showcase key skills with more visibility, and impact business outcomes.

3. Leadership development

ERG leadership is a phenomenal way to gain leadership skills that may not be as accessible through a typical career journey. Growing leadership skills becomes increasingly important as employees progress in their careers. ERG leaders have additional opportunities to create and execute strategic initiatives, oversee teams and projects, and work on enhancing their communication skills.

4. Networking opportunities

ERG members and leaders work with colleagues across various functions, business units, and global locations. This cross-department collaboration creates new business connections that can be leveraged for future opportunities, expands professional networks, fosters brainstorming, and helps career advancement.

5. Helping define the company culture

ERG members and leaders are dedicated to driving a culture rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion at Stryker. By taking a leadership role within an ERG, employees have a larger platform to institute change.

Testimonials from Stryker’s ERG leaders

Technical Skills

“Stryker has great products and a mission I am passionate about, but it is the people that make it home. My experience in SWN leadership has given me the opportunity to flex muscles like public speaking, mentorship, and culture building. Alongside that I have built my network while learning more about the different businesses within Stryker. And made some of my best friends along the way!” – Sally M. | Sales Region Lead | SWN | United States

“Participating in a leadership role within ACE has provided me opportunities to drive strategic execution with professional development programs that our ERG supports. During a time of uncertainty with the pandemic, ACE has allowed me to further understand change management while adapting to new environments and develop global communication skills when interacting with cross-cultural global teams.” – Stacy D. | Secretary | ACE | United States

“As a leader of the SWN East Chapters, I am tasked with leading all SWN Site Leads on the East Coast of the Americas. In this role, I’m leading leaders – something new and exciting for me! This challenged me to learn how to set the direction for leaders and empowering them to define how to best implement guidance and direction without micromanaging or being overly specific. Learning to lead leaders through SWN was a fantastic way for me to learn this skill and gain experience outside of my day job. Beyond this, I’ve also learned how to provide coaching and development to more experienced individuals. This learning is critical and something I can take back to my day job. One of the best leadership development opportunities, beyond what I already mentioned, is the development I get from my peers in this role. These individuals are outside of my division and outside of my functional area of expertise. They have taught me so much and I’ve loved learning from a much broader set of peers.” – Lorie C. | Leader of East Coast | SWN | United States

“Participating in an ERG leadership role has helped advance my career by giving me experience creating impactful communication, leading budget activities, and planning events. This experience has not only given me more confidence but has allowed me to add valuable insight to the everyday activities within large-scale projects at Stryker.” - Erin M. | Events Lead | SAFE | United States


“Being the Executive Sponsor of SWN Europe has allowed me to be exposed to highly passionate and engaged people outside of my function, helping me to further shape my own understanding of our DE&I challenges and actively contribute to advancing the cause within my organization and beyond.” – Yann D. | Executive Sponsor | SWN | France

“Participating in a leadership role provided me with the opportunity to work with colleagues from different departments, divisions, sites, and levels within Stryker. This allowed me to develop my networking skills and build relationships with individuals who I may not have interacted with otherwise. Overall, participating in a leadership role for 3A has been a tremendous growth opportunity for me both personally and professionally, and I am grateful for the exposure it has provided me.” – Shawn J. | Project Manager | 3A | United States

“Being a SWN leader has given me the opportunity to connect with and influence a much wider audience within India organization and helped me develop an appreciation of varying cultural nuances within Stryker.” – Jitendra C. | India Site Leader | SWN | India

“Assuming an ERG leadership role is not only fulfilling in supporting a group of people who may often be underrepresented, but it also provides a stronger sense of community within Stryker. Through my involvement in ERGs, I have gained valuable networking opportunities and exposure to leaders that I would not have had otherwise.” – Erin B. | Community Lead | SAFE | Arizona

“There is no doubt that I would not be who I am or where I am in my career without my involvement with the Stryker Women’s Network. The development programs, leadership opportunities, cross-divisional/functional exposure, mentorships, and friendships I have gained from this ERG are priceless, and I am immensely grateful that Stryker supports its female network so thoroughly through this group.” – India W. | Mentorship Co-Chair | SWN | United States

Leadership development

“The role of the SWN UK and Nordics Regional Lead has provided me with an opportunity to lead an organization of other people leaders within the SWN Chapters. This is a new opportunity for me to stretch my leadership capability by transitioning from a leader of people to a leader of the organization and I am so privileged to be able to do this amongst the highly driven talents that we have within our SWN group!” - Elizabeth T. | Regional Lead for UK and Nordics | SWN | United Kingdom

“Being a leader in WISE and SWN created new opportunities for leadership outside of those required in my day-to-day role; I’ve enjoyed working with team members from different functions and backgrounds to find common themes for development, growth, and retention across the organization.” – Alice B. | Site Lead | SWN and WISE | United States

“My leadership role within SEP has allowed me to broaden my network and cultivate invaluable experiences for future leadership roles. Through facing and overcoming challenges, I have learned the art of resilience and the importance of unwavering support for my colleagues' career progression. Nevertheless, the sheer fulfillment of witnessing my colleagues thrive and flourish within our organization makes it all worthwhile.” – Libin P. | President | SEP | Ireland

“I have always been interested in leadership, whether it meant running a college club or being a team captain. I haven’t had too many opportunities to develop my leadership skills in my day-to-day role because I started my career with Stryker just over a year ago. But with my SEP Global President role, I am leading a team, restructuring an entire organization, and executing on a strategic vision – all of which give me invaluable developmental experiences as I look to advance my career.” – Becca S. | Global President | SEP | United States

“Starting and leading a new Stryker Emerging Professionals (SEP) chapter in Florida has facilitated invaluable peer networking and leadership visibility across multiple Stryker divisions. In addition, leading an ERG has allowed me to practice setting strategic goals, delegate key initiatives that align with a broader mission, and build trust within a new team – all of which contribute to my personal leadership development.” – Katie H. |Chapter President | SEP | United States

Networking opportunities

“Taking on a Leadership Role within SAFE has continually offered me networking opportunities I would not have had otherwise. Since joining SAFE Leadership as Canada’s President in 2019 I have been connecting with people from the US, the Netherlands, Ireland, the UK, Costa Rica, Poland, and India. I have been able to work closely with people in other countries to develop educational opportunities in order to achieve our common goal of making Stryker a Safe Space for all.” – Dice P. | ERG Liaison/PMO Lead, Global Executive Steering Committee | SAFE | Canada

“Participating in a leadership role with WISE has provided me the opportunity to network and connect with other individual contributors, managers, and senior leaders in ways that I would not typically do in my day-to-day role. Not only am I able to indulge and then showcase my leadership skills, but I get the chance to learn more about others on a personal level through events and activities hosted. As site lead, I have also been able to network with local community leaders in volunteering and development events. It’s extremely rewarding to be able to create an impact in a way outside of my expected roles and responsibilities. The Flower Mound WISE chapter is one of my favorite groups to work with and develop with!” – Ash N. | Site Lead | WISE | United States

“I joined the WISE Steering Committee in hopes of expanding my network, improving my leadership skills, and enhancing an ERG Program that has provided guidance for me in my early career. I thought this role would allow me to help others, but it has given more to ME than I ever could have imagined! This role has built my confidence both personally and professionally, and provided development opportunities that I would never have been exposed to in my role as a Scientist!” – Elisabeth D. | Lean in Circles Lead | WISE | United States

“My roles in WISE (previously as WISE Anngrove Site Lead and now as WISE Ireland Lead) over the last 4 years have provided me with more networking opportunities than my technical role ever could. Since engaging in WISE activities, I have made personal connections in tens of Stryker sites around the globe with people at all levels of the organization – through shared events, communications initiatives, volunteering activities, and in a mentoring capacity. There have been several occasions where a relationship I established through WISE activities became necessary to my technical role later on. Not only has WISE developed my network within the business, but I have created countless working partnerships with schools, universities, and other STEM initiatives in Ireland, through the shared mission of advocating for the growth of technical women. Continuously developing one’s skill of communicating with others within and outside of your job role is crucial in a business as large as Stryker, and WISE allows me to practice that skill every day.” – Lisa B. | Ireland Lead | WISE | Ireland

Defining company culture

“Participating in SOMOS has enabled me to share some of my cultural background with co-workers of other diverse cultural backgrounds, as well as the opportunity to learn from and interact with other leaders with similar backgrounds who have navigated successful careers at Stryker.” – Eddie G. | Chapter President | SOMOS |United States

Participating in that role has enabled me to “support our male and female colleagues to drive meaningful change for our SWN community in APAC. “ – Christian F. | Executive Sponsor | SWN | Singapore

“This role (compliance) enables me to work with other senior leadership members to develop and foster a “responsible and sustainable business” culture in the industry so Stryker could have a long-lasting reputable and trustworthy presence continuing to devote to the improvement of patient’s care.” - Roger Y. | Compliance | SWN | China

“Being a part of the leadership team for SAAN was a deeply rewarding experience for me, both personally and professionally. I gained invaluable perspectives, worked side-by-side with strong leaders with diverse backgrounds, and was able to help positively impact the overall experience for Black employees and allies. Getting involved in new things, stretching outside your comfort zone—that is where most growth happens. That’s why I feel incredibly lucky to have had this experience with SAAN.” - Jay F. | Communications Vice President, Executive Steering Team | SAAN | United States

"SWN has been a game-changer for me in every sense of the word. As a leader within this ERG, I've had the opportunity to work alongside some of great woman leaders, develop critical leadership skills, and gain visibility to senior leadership. But more than that, being part of SWN has given me a sense of purpose and a drive to create positive change not just within Stryker, but in the world at large. I am constantly inspired by the passion and commitment of my colleagues in SWN and feel incredibly grateful for the opportunities and support this community has provided me. If you're looking to grow, learn, and make a meaningful impact, I urge you to consider taking on a leadership role within an ERG. You won't regret it." – Ligia L. | Latin America Lead | SWN | Brazil

“Being a Communication Lead for SWN in EMEA showed me how much members are committed to our ERG. All around Europe and the world, initiatives and events are organized around specific topics and we can clearly feel the collective will to make an impact, for the best, on Stryker employees.” – Chloe S. | Communications Lead | SWN | France

"As the SWN APAC's communications lead, I amplify local voices on a global stage, empowering communities with resources for positive change. What excites me most is the collaboration with cross-functional colleagues who bring in diverse perspectives and cultures. This is crucial for us to keep iterating programs that scale to support every woman reaching her full potential." – Shirley L. | Communication Lead | SWN | Hong Kong


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