How Stryker employees promote and advance disability inclusion practices to drive innovation and growth
At Stryker, we believe that disabilities – whether they’re seen or unseen – don’t limit what an employee can achieve. In fact, we believe just the opposite—that disabilities can empower an individual’s best work, inspire diverse perspectives and drive our mission forward. It’s a big reason we started Allies for All Abilities —one of our 9 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).
Allies for All Abilities (3A) is designed to promote and advance disability inclusion practices within Stryker that spark greater innovation, engagement and productivity. Our aim is to give employees with disabilities, employees who care for others with disabilities, and allies for disability inclusion a stronger voice and offer feedback to Stryker, related to their workplace and employee experience. “People with disabilities still face unfair labeling and judgment in their everyday life. 3A helps change the narrative,” said Brian Knop, a Sales Representative for Stryker’s Orthopaedic Instruments team, who also leads education and awareness initiatives on 3A’s National Steering Committee.
Changing the narrative is never easy. It takes open dialogue and personal storytelling, and at Stryker, we work hard to create safe stages to share both. “One experience that stands out was our first live panel featuring Stryker employees with disabilities,” said Brian Knop. “To my knowledge, it was the first time we had openly discussed personal challenges with disabilities at Stryker. I served as one of the panelists discussing my experience with service-connected PTSD in the workplace and was absolutely blown away by the number of people who reached out to me to share their own stories after the event.”
These events and conversations are part of a very intentional effort to ensure individuals with disabilities can have their voices heard across the organization. “In many large companies disabled employees get looked over,” added Jillian Williams, Joint Replacement Sales Representative, who is also an amputee and Paralympic athlete. “But one thing that makes Stryker unique is [how] they capitalize on the amazing things their employees are able to do,” she adds, referring to Stryker’s culture of focusing on the strengths of each employee.
Across our employee population, some disabilities are more easily seen—somebody who uses a wheelchair or wears a prosthetic limb, for example—while other disabilities are invisible. “I am dyslexic and my son, George (24), has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair user,” said Stuart Rogers, Director of Global Sales in Europe. “I became an ambassador for 3A in Europe soon after the ERG was founded, and my involvement has grown to be the President of 3A Europe to establish the chapter in the region. I have worked for over 30 years and Stryker is the first place I have worked where I felt comfortable to share that I am dyslexic.”
At Stryker, our talent is driven by our mission to make healthcare better. We see it every day, and it’s endlessly motivating. “Being an amputee does not slow me down,” says Jillian Williams. “There are things that I have had to adapt that work best for me, but it doesn’t mean I cannot do something.”
SYK CORP 2022-10-160