The pace of change within healthcare technology is incredibly fast. No one knows this more than Kate Mosier, an experienced sales and training leader who has advanced successful commercialization strategies in competitive medical tech markets. Currently, she’s tackling global commercial engagement and key culture initiatives at Medtronic.
In our conversation, Kate shares how process and technology advancements are empowering managers at Medtronic to lead their employees through change.
What something new you or your team are focused on in 2023?
Kate: I’d call out two things:
- Successfully navigating significant organizational change. How do we as individual leaders and collectively as a department bring our teams along and achieve the target business outcomes? How do we maintain engagement and morale through the journey?
- Hyper-focused on business results. Business results have of course always been important, but we want to use data to draw a tighter connection between the work we’re doing and the outcomes. We are better integrating data and business results in how we develop strategies and plans as well as execute.
What’s your organization’s remote work policy?
Kate: Our engineers and manufacturing employees aren’t able to work remotely. For everyone else, it’s generally a hybrid work model that’s dependent on function and manager. Generally speaking, I’d say there’s more of an emphasis on in-person and back in the office where possible. Our Commercial Capabilities team has been and will remain largely virtual for us given our work and how we’re spread out.
We know the benefits of remote work. What are the biggest challenges that come with it?
Kate: The social and human connection between teammates – to build trust, working dynamics, and group norms – is all much more difficult. Philosophy on our team has always been to focus on the “what” and the “how”, the “where” and the “when” don’t matter as long as you’re getting your work done. This means different things to different people – different preferences and styles can create more challenges when virtual.
I’ve found virtual work leads to time spent in meetings being very work-focused. It seems harder to expand the conversation outside of “what do we need to get done right now?” From a development standpoint, it’s harder to pivot those conversations and cover work and non-work together.
Development is another area – for some, the flexibility and schedule control has opened up new time to pursue development. But it also requires self-guidance and motivation. For some this is working well, for others it may be falling off the radar completely.
Leaders and organizations have to be so much more intentional in these areas than before.
What’s different about EX in 2023?
Kate: Building culture, relationships, and trust are much more difficult in a virtual environment. I think we’re starting to see more emphasis on return to the office. At the same time, we are seeing many organizations go through restructurings and/or cost reductions which often times reduces budget/emphasis in these areas. So I think this is something many organizations and Managers are wrestling with in 2023.
Related: The Principles of an Employee Experience Design Strategy
How is remote work impacting frontline employees?
Kate: Medtronic has a very large frontline workforce including engineers and production line employees. My team is focused on enabling our sales teams – they are our internal customer – and still on the “frontline” albeit in a different way. They were already in the field, and remote work has reduced the frequency of in-person interactions they have with other members of their team and ours. And with learning being so core to our focus, we’re always asking ourselves how can we get content and materials out in ways that will be successful? How do we connect with them overall? Communications can be a big challenge here as well.
Related: Bonfyre Helps Connect Remote Employees and Teams
One of the big questions on everyone’s mind is, how do you build a thriving culture virtually? We’re all still figuring it out. But what comes to mind for you?
Kate: It’s tough! Some of what I’ve found successful are virtual live experiences – wine tastings or cooking classes for example – where we bring in an expert and do something together. Virtual happy hours and even virtual and informal groups for employees like our working parents group. All these things are really important to connect as human beings outside of those work-focused conversations.
Team norms is another important and challenging area. How will we communicate? What will we expect from each other and when? For example, some team members want immediate responses to a Microsoft Teams chat, others feel like they are being badgered to respond too quickly. Microsoft Teams has been successful for us, but since Teams is how we collaborate for work, when we use Microsoft Teams “out of the box” for culture activity it just doesn’t take off. That’s one of the reasons I’m excited to be leveraging the Bonfyre for Microsoft Teams solution.
How do we collaborate? Are there common times? Forming these norms can happen either right of the gate or when things aren’t working quite right. In either case, it’s important to be intentional and document the decisions in a shared space you can refer back to.
Related: How to Improve Company Culture: 7 Key Steps
How is your organization leveraging engagement surveys today?
Kate: Employees take engagement surveys twice a year. At an organizational level, we pull out the big focus areas and will acknowledge/highlight these at events like a Global Townhall for example. At that level, our leadership team will review results and create recommendations of areas to focus on.
This process continues at the Manager and more local level, with it ultimately being left up to the local leader and, as a result, there can be a lot of variability. Some leaders are very focused on engagement scores which usually means all the Managers in their departments are too. This could mean engagement scores are included as part of performance goals (e.g. achieving a certain level) as well as focus on remediation plans to improve.
There’s also the philosophy that employees should take ownership and have a role to play. That they are empowered to solve it. So together you have some situations where, if employees can identify and solve a problem, we strive to do that. Otherwise, it’s up to the Manager/Leader to prioritize.
Related: How to Make Better Pulse Surveys
What is the post-survey action planning process like at your organization?
Kate: We review the results as a team and talk through why something scored low and/or remains an opportunity. We also decide as a team where we want to focus – 1-2 things max – and write a collectively shared goal and brainstorm different solutions. From there, we implement and look for the question to be scoring higher on the next run. The process is also helpful at creating group/team buy-in and shared sense of ownership and accountability.
At a department level, it’s a similar process except the department may ask for volunteers to create different workstreams for a focus area and break off into sub-groups.
When it comes to the every day/every week actions Managers need to take to improve engagement scores – what specifically to do and direct measurement of the actions taken and their success – there’s an opportunity here I think.
What role does AI have in the employee experience? In culture?
Kate: To drive more results with less, we have to leverage technology. Excited about Bonfyre’s Culture Coach solution and how it is going to help our Managers with leading their teams and driving target team-level behaviors. We’re also looking at AI to support sales training like in practicing their sales conversations. For Managers, it’s programmed for coaching frameworking and conversation with a rep. For a salesperson, they will have characters they can interact with – handling objections, presenting value propositions, asking questions, and more. Before you had to find people to play the roles, learn the scripts, etc. – this is a big efficiency gain for us.