Zero Barriers: How Emphasizing Skills in Career Pathways Can Remove Barriers

Excerpts from the 2021 Medtronic Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Report
Mar 10, 2022 12:30 PM ET

Zero Barriers: How emphasizing skills in career pathways can remove barriers

As a team lead at the Medtronic Energy and Component Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, Der Xiong hoped to take the next step in her career and become a manufacturing supervisor. But she didn’t have the college degree required for the role.

That all changed when Medtronic removed the degree requirement. The decision opened a door previously closed to Xiong and others who have the skills but not the college degree. After 15 years with the company, Xiong was hired as a manufacturing supervisor in August and now oversees a team of more than 20 people who produce batteries for our products.

“I was really excited because that was a great opportunity for someone like me,” said Xiong, who started with Medtronic as an operator. “That was the roadblock in my way,” she said.

Focusing on skills instead of academic credentials in career pathways is the type of work Medtronic is doing through the Multiple Pathways Initiative – a multi-year effort to reform companies’ hiring and talent management practices. In our initial pilot, Medtronic is focused on emphasizing skills, rather than just degrees, in hiring and promotion practices. We have removed degree requirements for about 25% of our information technology workforce and replaced them with skills requirements for hiring and promotions.

Like Xiong, Benita Robinson was also hired recently as a manufacturing supervisor.

In her previous role as a team lead, Robinson worked hard to not only gain the skills to become a manufacturing supervisor, but also helped other colleagues without a college degree, like her, consider their own career trajectory.

“The people I’ve helped with their career development and coaching,” Robinson said, “now they see it’s possible.”

Read the full report here.