How Medtronic turned business strategy into talent strategy

Change agility and cultural diversity are two of Medtronic's main goals for 2018. Its HR Director Binayak Bagchi shares more.

The new year could mean a new talent recruitment and management approach for many organisations.

Binayak Bagchi, Director – HR within Medtronic’s Restorative Therapies Group in Asia-Pacific explains how change agility, workforce diversity, and more will need to be incorporated into the 2018 talent blueprint


Please tell us more about what you do at Medtronic.

I head HR in Asia-Pacific for one of Medtronic’s four global business groups, the Restorative Therapies group, which runs critical lifesaving therapies in brain and bpine and a few other areas. We have a footprint in 22 different countries across five sub-regions, including South East Asia (including Singapore);, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, India sub-continent, and South Korea.


What are some of the talent recruitment and management goals and challenges you anticipate for this new year?

Firstly, HR at Medtronic will be looking to continue to build gender diversity, as well as diversity of thought and experience in its work force. We have a much targeted approach to gender diversity in particular, where we want to have a 40% gender diverse workforce by 2021.

Secondly, we need to ensure that our talent is "change-agile". In the fast-evolving and constantly-changing healthcare market we are in, it is extremely important that we have a workforce that can embrace the complexities of the market place, and change quickly to meet its demands. 


How are you changing your approach to these from last year?

In terms of building on diversity, we want to bring it down to more action on the ground. We want have at least 40% of our leadership talent – managers and above – to be gender diverse. We can keep talking about it and measuring it, but what we really need is tangible action towards it. So for example, when we’re hiring for a key role, we want the talent slate to have at least two female candidates. That’s the level of granularity that we’re trying to see.

We’re also ensuring that we have a work environment where leaders and managers understand what it means to have a diverse workforce. We will be building more awareness about what a gender-diverse workforce is, and the kind of openness we need to have in such an environment.


How do you approach your talent management, when the so-called “disrupted landscape” is changing so fast that we can’t predict what will happen next year, much less in the next four years?

That’s a very important conversation we’re having within our organisation, and there are two key ways that we approach it.

One is that every year, we are reviewing our business strategy along with our talent capability and requirements, with a five-year forward looking approach. This plan used to involve business strategy, product strategy, finance strategy and profit & loss perspectives and so on. But we’ve now introduced a talent strategy segment, which aligns with the fact that you can’t achieve your business strategy unless you have the right talent capabilities to drive that.

To back that up, we also have an “organisation and talent planning” review in the middle of the year, every year, as part of our people management processes. This means every business group, at various levels, is taking a hard look at the organisation’s current capabilities – and then talking about how our existing talent fits into it or doesn’t fit into it. An important part of that conversation is succession on all critical roles, with incumbents being marked out as ‘ready now’ or in a few years, with individual development actions to ensure.

The qualities of these conversations are evolving, but the framework itself helps.


What are your own talent and recruitment resolutions for the new year?

It’s a long wish list! We sometimes create barriers and develop tunnel vision. So one of my hopes for 2018 is to have a more broad-based approach to many of these things we’re trying to address. This goes back to what I said about being change agile – sometimes this means not having that tunnel vision, but instead having the ability to understand and appreciate the complexities of any given situation.

I also hope to look at improving the speed of change. Sometimes we get too bogged down with lots and just don’t take the small steps that matter. It’s a hope that we can move faster, especially when everything else is changing so rapidly.


What will you be presenting on at the Singapore Talent & Recruitment Show 2018?

I'll be going through the many different ways we talk about business strategy, and explaining a step-by-step approach to converting that into talent strategy. It’s not a very intuitive process, and needs a strong seat at the table with business from the HR business partner. Otherwise, when it comes to managing talent, HR can very quickly end up becoming the recruitment agent only. Recruitment is very important, but it is only one of the many facets of managing talent for the future.


Attracting and developing talent in the new economy

Binayak Bagchi, a Director of HR with Medtronic in Asia-Pacific will be speaking at the Singapore Talent & Recruitment Show, taking place in Singapore on March 20 & 21. Speakers and delegates will dive deep into the challenges, insights and strategies around attracting and nurturing talent for 2018 and beyond. For more information, visit


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