Case Study: Covidien



Covidien is a $10 billion global healthcare products leader dedicated to innovation and long-term growth through the creation of medical solutions for better patient outcomes, clinical leadership and excellence. With more than 38,000 employees worldwide, Covidien operates in more than 150 countries.

As a leading provider in the medical device and healthcare product industry, Covidien faced increased impact from healthcare reform, globalization and health care providers wanting better patient outcomes and lower costs. To meet these increased market needs, the company looked to focus on innovation and collaboration as key components of its business strategy.

In addition to addressing these market needs, company leadership wanted to increase employee engagement scores in the areas of talent development and innovation. Diversity and Inclusion focus groups revealed career development as an issue. The focus groups also revealed a desire to establish Covidien as a
learning organization. Covidien also recognized a need to develop global leaders, strengthen the talent pipeline and increase internal mobility.

As such, Covidien established one of five pillars in its Covidien 2020 strategy as “Developing Talent and Culture to Drive Innovation and Inclusion.” For the Covidien Talent Development team, the pillar led to increased investments in the development of skills and competencies that drive collaboration, partnership and innovative behaviors.


In 2012, the Vascular Therapies division of Covidien (now part of the Medical Devices business unit) identified career development as a solution to address the low engagement scores and support the development of a learning culture. The strategy included an initial review of multiple career development partners; pilot training sessions; executive reviews; targeted marketing and communications; formal instructor-led training workshops for 300 managers and more than 600 employees; on going leadership support; and additional activities to sustain the effort.2015_01

The business also launched an internal career development portal to educate employees on the organization’s career development philosophy as well as provide ongoing tools and resources.

To support the formal training opportunities, employees received executive leader and tailored individual  communications. The communications were designed to introduce participants to the program, increase their excitement, gain commitment and promote enrollment.


To deliver its classroom, skillbuilding experiences, Covidien Vascular Therapies partnered with Career Systems International (CSI) to deliver its award-winning CareerPower® workshops to both employee and manager audiences. These workshops were delivered by certified CSI facilitators as well as Covidien facilitators certified by CSI.

Using CSI’s five-step career framework, Covidien employees learned to maximize their productivity by preparing for changing roles and future competencies. In addition, Covidien expedited success of its goal to foster open, productive conversations by enabling managers and employees to identify and pursue development in sync with the organization’s strategic needs through these workshops. Covidien leaders also participated in executive overviews of the programs and were asked to share their experiences and encourage support with their teams.


Covidien’s Talent Development team realized early on, that a training program alone would not move the organization to a learning culture. As part of its overall career development strategy and in collaboration with CSI, post-workshop actions were identified to maintain momentum, further learning and drive sustainable change. Some of these actions included:

  • Career Development Pulse-Connect Sites: Team Share-Point/peer network sites were designed for all employees and managers who attended a workshop, which created a community and networking opportunity among participants to blog, share resources and view supplemental resources.
  • Refresher Webinars: Webinarbased opportunities, cohosted by Covidien leaders, for participants to retain knowledge from workshops and encourage ongoing use of the tools.
  • Posters/Collateral: Onsite advertisements for career development.
  • Ongoing Sessions for New Hires: Employee and manager workshops for all new hires.

outsandingSince launching its career development strategy, Covidien Vascular Therapies has seen an increase in career conversations led by employees as well as an increase in how employees feel about the investment in their growth and development.

In the year since the launch of the CareerPower® workshops, there has been a significant increase in the number of employees reporting they have initiated conversations about career development. This is exactly what the business was looking to accomplish.

“When employees are initiating conversations about career development with their managers, engagement will follow,” said Jennifer Cantwell, Senior Talent Consultant for the initiative. “The Talent Development team and business leaders are optimistic
about these results and the affect they will have on creating a culture where career conversations are the norm.”

Data aside, employees are more aware of the development philosophy and approach to “own their career development.” Such awareness is leading to increased curiosity of mobility and rotational opportunities, signifying a change in Covidien’s culture of learning.

“After attending the CareerPower® workshop, I discovered that I wanted to develop my negotiation skills,” explained a Covidien engineer. “I approached my manager and asked if I could shadow someone in the sales organization. He was an advocate of freeing me from some of my daily work, setting up the opportunity and allowing me to pursue this shadowing opportunity.”

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