Supporting Transformation at Medtronic

VP Denise King on how she helps Medtronic transform the healthcare industry by developing cutting-edge benefits programs that give all employees the support they need to succeed

A leading medical device company known for its breakthrough technologies and solutions, Medtronic is dedicated to transforming the care of patients in the United States and across the globe. But that kind of transformation requires intense commitment from company employees, and Denise King knows that that level of commitment can only be achieved when employees feel supported and empowered. Throughout her many years at Medtronic, King has continuously promoted an atmosphere of support and empowerment by spearheading innovative programs and initiatives designed to improve the employee experience.

A graduate of Augsburg University, King served as the director of product management at Marquette Bank before joining the benefits team at Medtronic in 2004. She worked with that team for more than five years before transitioning to a position as program director of global rewards in Mounds View, Minnesota. King returned to Medtronic’s Minneapolis base in 2011 as the benefits director for the US and Puerto Rico, advancing to senior benefits director of the Americas in 2015 and securing her present role as VP of the Americas benefits COE and total rewards operations in 2016.

Over the past few years, King has instituted a number of impactful programs, including an interactive benefits communication platform called Alex. Alex was created in partnership with interactive software company Jellyvision during King’s tenure as senior benefits director, and as King explained in a 2016 Employee Benefit News interview, the platform is critical to improving employees’ knowledge of and experience with key benefits, such as retirement benefits and healthcare.

“Technology done right will continue to offer employees relevant, personalized communication that can also be used to engage with family members and benefit decision makers in a household,” says King, who received the DiglBenefits Technology Innovator Award in 2016 in recognition of her work on the Alex platform.

“Employees who know they’re supported are going to be more committed to the organization, and we will see that return reflected in employee engagement.”

According to King, technologies such as Alex are vitally important to Medtronic, not only because they allow the company to better reach and support its global employee base but also because online and virtual options help ensure “easier and more affordable access to healthcare.”

And Medtronic is certainly determined to help all their employees get the care they need. Acknowledging health and safety is the foundation to employee success, the company is making it their mission to support and invest in employee wellness.

In addition to the Alex platform, King has helped drive that mission through the development of a cutting-edge family care leave (FCL) policy. Effective as of May 2018, the FCL policy allows six weeks of paid time off for any and all family care needs of full- and part-time Medtronic employees working in the United States. Employees can take time off to care for a new child, to look after a sick family member, to support family members impacted because of a loved one in active military service, and more.

In combination with Medtronic’s other parental leave benefits, the FCL policy enables mothers with newborns to take up to fourteen weeks of paid time off. But neither King nor the company is satisfied with stopping there—in the future, Medtronic plans to expand the FCL program outside of the United States, helping the employees who work in one of the company’s 150 different locations to care for and bond with their children.

“Meaningful innovation is stitched within the fabric of everything Medtronic does,” says Tony Miller, CEO of Bind Benefits Inc., a company that specializes in helping businesses like Medtronic create flexible, on-demand business health insurance plans. “Bind was thrilled to be selected by Medtronic as their new plan offering. They’re a visionary, enthusiastic partner who care about their employees.

“Employees who know they’re supported are going to be more committed to the organization, and we will see that return reflected in employee engagement,” King emphasized in a Medtronic publication about the FCL policy. “This says so much about the executive leadership team—they really care about our people.”

Medtronic At A Glance

150+ countries

90,000+ employees

$30.6 billion total revenue

10,000+ engineers and scientists

$100 million donated by the Medtronic Foundation