Best Companies to Work For: Edwards Lifesciences

Posted by Heather Thompson on May 26, 2011

Edwards Lifesciences
Irvine, CA

Inspiring passion is the one of the greatest ways to build a loyal and effective workforce. Edwards Lifesciences has created a successful work environment by infusing its mission to create quality medical devices into each employee. Even more important, the company has also created a family-type of environment.

President: Michael A. Mussallem

Number of Employees: 7000+

Key Products: Sapien transcatheter heart valve, pericardial heart valves, tissue valves, direct, and peripheral cannulae

Annual Revenues: $1.45 billion

Edwards invests heavily in its team, through experiences such as job rotations to help provide invaluable career experiences, generous benefits packages, wellness programs, flexible work-life balance programs, and philanthropic activities for employee involvement.

Christine McCauley is the vice president of human resources at Edwards Lifesciences. So she could be considered to be a bit of a cheerleader by the company. However, her story is very similar to many of the employees that walk the halls of this Irvine, CA institution.

McCauley is a mother. And Edwards is a mom-friendly workplace. It was named as such in 2008 by Parenting Orange County Magazine. So what exactly does mom-friendly mean? “It means flexibility,” says McCauley. “If you get your job done, it doesn’t matter if it’s done at a soccer game or a ballet recital,” McCauley says her boss told her when she first got her job.

Christin McCauley works for Edwards LifesciencesSpecifically, McCauley describes her joy at getting to attend reading groups when her son first started elementary school. “It was important to me, so I talked to my boss, told him that every Thursday I would not be in the office until 10 a.m. so that I could participate in the reading groups. It’s given me a chance to form great relationships with my son’s classmates and their parents.”

“This is a relationship culture,” says McCauley. Edwards says it is deeply committed to its employees, who are treated and respected as owners. She explains that many Edwards employees own stock in the company, which McCauley credits with the high level of pride they take in the products they produce. What makes Edwards employees special, says McCauley, is the level of passion and engagement. A survey conducted by an outside firm found that 92% of Edwards’s people felt proud to work there. “That was unheard of, even to the survey company,” she explains, saying that the best level of “pride” most companies hope for is a percentage in the low 80s.

McCauley notes with some humility, that Edwards was able to remain recession resistant, and in fact, saw growth over the last several years. “We’re lucky in that if people need a heart valve, it’s not like they can put it off as they might in buying a new car.” But she also notes that other risks can make the company lose its reputation, which is why Edwards employees so clearly care about the quality of each product.

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