Medica is creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture. To help guide employees along this journey, the organization has developed employee resource groups (ERGs). These are groups of employees who share a common diversity characteristic or life experience (e.g., gender, disability status, religion or belief system, ethnicity or race, sexual orientation, generation) or are supporters (which we call Allies) of an ERG.
Celebrating Our Military Members in the Workplace
When military service members transition to the civilian workforce, they often miss the camaraderie and closeness of the military culture. During their service, there is a shared purpose, focus on mission, and bond that often remains between veterans for a lifetime. With the establishment of the Medica Salutes ERG, Medica has embraced our proud community of employee veterans.
Currently, more than 40 employees belong to Medica Salutes, which brings together people with a background of military service and those with family members and friends who are veterans. These employees provide their expertise to better serve our organization, community, and customers. For employees who participate in Medica Salutes, the ERG is more than a resource; it is a source of comfort and a means to provide assistance to other veterans, and our active duty and military families.
Medica Salutes meets monthly, and one of the most important things we do is have listening sessions based on events that impact veterans. During our meetings, we also have celebrations and recognitions that acknowledge work anniversaries, promotions, returning from deployment and welcome new members.
Sometimes, it takes hearing from one veteran to another for something to resonate. For example, although Medica does a great job of communicating benefits available to employees, it wasn’t until I learned it through Medica Salutes that I realized Medica has a gap pay program that makes up the difference in pay when an employee is deployed on active duty and is faced with a pay reduction.
Educating the Organization
Most people know a family member or friend who served in the armed forces. But being a veteran has very deep meaning to those of us who served and there’s always an opportunity to educate our non-veteran colleagues about what it means to be one.
One of my favorite examples was a flag raising ceremony Medica Salutes sponsored just before Memorial Day this past year. It was the first time the U.S. flag has been raised at Medica. What many of our colleagues didn’t know, is that it is customary to raise a flag of significance the first time one is raised on a new flagpole. Our flag was provided by Medica Salutes to the Minnesota National Guard’s 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment while it was on a tour of duty in the Middle East.
The flag was flown in Kuwait and carried on patrols in Syria. The National Guard unit brought it back to the U.S. and returned it to Medica for its inaugural flag raising. The event also featured a Missing Service Member Table, which symbolically is reserved to honor missing comrades in arms. For many Medica employees, this event – captured on video – was the first time they experienced how solemn and meaningful it is to be a veteran.
Serving the Community
Beyond serving Medica veterans and our colleagues, Medica Salutes is a service organization with broad reach. We support the families of veterans, reservists or active duty members by providing such things as food, clothing and gifts to those in need. Additionally, we provide care packages to deployed soldiers, and a group of Medica Salutes veterans served as volunteers at the 2022 Minnesota State Fair on Military Appreciation Day.
I’m proud to be a member of Medica Salutes and of the work we do supporting the community through and for veterans and easing the transition to the civilian life. It is a unique ERG that serves veterans, reservist and National Guard members employed in the health care industry, and provides job seekers with another reason to become a part of Medica.