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Why Cisco Is the World’s Best Workplace

Why Cisco Is the World’s Best Workplace

Cisco connects its people everywhere with a culture of service.

Chuck Robbins had a dream. And a new reality surfaced at Cisco—with a spirit of service connecting employees of the networking giant across the globe.

Chuck is the Chief Executive Officer of Cisco, the new No. 1 World’s Best Workplace in 2019. Chuck took the reins of the 75,000-employee company in 2015.

About two years ago, he had a vivid and disturbing dream. In it, Chuck says he visited a homeless encampment and while there he saw the faces of his pastor and his father. When he woke up, he knew he had to act on the homelessness that plagues San Jose, the Silicon Valley city that Cisco calls home.

“The next day, I called the mayor,” he recalls. “I said, ‘I wanted to get involved in solving this problem.’” What’s happened since then is a surge of social responsibility at Cisco.

For starters, the company made a $50, million 5-year donation to Destination: Home, a nonprofit group devoted to ending homelessness in the San Jose region.

And Chuck’s commitment to giving back proved contagious. Or to hear him say it, his visibility on homelessness prompted “Cisconians” throughout the world to share what they were already doing to serve their communities—and to increase their efforts.

“There’s this immense desire to give back,” Chuck says. “We just made it OK. People have embraced it. It has blown me away.”

The do-good efforts range from Cisco employees in Italy volunteering to teach data networking classes to prisoners, to a South African employee who started an orphanage in Rwanda, to an Indian employee who feeds victims of flooding in the country.

Closer to Cisco’s headquarters in California, a Cisco staffer started an organization to help victims of sex trafficking in Oakland. She has since left the company to focus on her nonprofit—but Cisco continues to support her with grant money.

Or consider what happened when Cisco’s partnership with Destination: Home resulted in a new, 155-unit supportive housing complex. Cisco employees donated the money for the furnishings and volunteered to move residents into their new homes.

You might wonder if all the attention to giving back has distracted from Cisco’s business execution - on the contrary.

Under Chuck, Cisco launched a new subscription networking gear service—the fastest growing product in the company’s history. And Cisco stock has risen above $50—its highest point in 20 years.

Chuck says the business boost is fueled by doing the right thing, because employees everywhere are fired up to work at a company they’re proud of.

And in the long run, Chuck argues, if powerful organizations like Cisco don’t take the lead on social problems, our global future will look more like a nightmare than a dream.

“We have to cultivate healthy communities,” he says. “Or it’s not going to work for anybody.”

Cisco and the 2019 World’s Best Workplaces lead the way when it comes to providing a great workplace culture. These companies have built workplace cultures that bolster employee engagement and fuel business results. We discovered as much by surveying 3.4 million employees across 90 countries—the largest-ever study of workplace culture.

So, how are they doing it? Register for our Building a Globally Great Workplace webinar on December 11, 2019  to find out what sets the best apart. Learn how Cisco became the #1 World’s Best Workplace as well as the key findings from Great Place to Work’s 2019 global workforce study.

Register today.


Ed Frauenheim