I am so proud to share that Great Place to Work has recognised Cisco as the #1 Best Workplace in Australia, for organisations with more than 1,000 employees. Cisco has been moving up the ranks over the last few years, from #3 in 2018, #2 in 2019 and now, #1!

Each year, we’ve listened to the feedback from our employees and identified the areas in which we can improve and evolve as a company. What makes a workplace great is one in which you trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do, and enjoy what you do and working with the people in your team.

This recognition is special because it’s grounded in the feedback from our employees. It also acknowledges what makes a difference for us, from our conscious culture, to creating an impact, within our roles and beyond, such as in our communities.

An honest, open conversation with our employees

The internal launch of our rebranded – Women of Cisco group with Gerri Elliot, EVP and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Cisco visiting Australia in November 2019

Our values are rooted in transparent, open conversations within our team. Hearing some of the employee feedback on what they value most – our culture, flexibility, and commitment to make an impact.

Here are some quotes from the Best Place to Work survey feedback:

“The culture and the feeling of care you get from colleagues is what makes it special to work here.”

“We work hard, and yet we look out for each other when we see someone struggling.”

“Serious about looking after employees and doing the right thing for business and the community.”

“Flexibility to work from home. High levels of personal empowerment and responsibility and trust.”

“Being surrounded by the best in the industry inspires everyone to perform at their absolute best.”

The survey found that an overwhelming 97% of employees said taking everything into account, Cisco Australia is a Great Place to Work. This is a great result, and something we will continue to actively contribute to.

Cisco’s Conscious Culture – A diverse environment that positively impacts people, society and the planet

The team in Melbourne celebrating PRIDE together (when we weren’t required to socially distance)

In 2019, we introduced our Conscious Culture initiative at Cisco. It means each of us is fully aware of and accountable for creating the environment we all desire – one with dignity, respect, fairness, and equity, and feel empowered to act when we see behaviour that is not aligned with this vision. Our Conscious Culture puts full-spectrum diversity and inclusion on par with our most important business strategies. It’s backed by executive leadership, and advanced by digital tools that help us measure progress. It builds on Our People Deal manifesto, which honours inclusion, collaboration, bold risk-taking, respect, and customer centricity as a recipe for innovation.

We appreciate difference – and ‘take difference to heart’ as one of our guiding principles. In fact earlier in the year, Cisco was named an Inclusive Employer by The Diversity Council of Australia in the Inclusion@YourWork Index – the only technology organisation to make this index.

Our Employee led initiatives also drive a sense of connectedness and open the doors to diversity and inclusion for the Australia and New Zealand team, which includes the Women of Cisco group, Cisco Pride, and the Cisco Disability Awareness Network to name a few.

Chuck Robbins, Cisco’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, has been leading transparent and challenging conversations with our people about structural racism, implicit bias, police brutality, and our shared responsibility to address these societal ills. As we experienced locally, the Black Lives Matter movement has put a spotlight on our own racial injustice of Indigenous people, and we are committed to doing more to support the digital inclusion of our first nations people. Our Conscious Culture has meant we’ve had conversations around these important, and at times challenging topics, including mental health in the workplace which aims to help reduce the stigma around it.

Our impact: from innovation to giving back in our community 

For the last 35 years, Cisco has defined innovation, reimagined connections, and pushed the limits of what’s possible. We helped build the Internet, and the Internet changed everything. Now anything and anyone can be connected, creating infinite possibilities for creative collaboration, to innovation within smart cities, education, healthcare, and more. In the last few decades, we’ve seen technology do amazing things, transform experiences, and improve the lives of millions of people.

This is inspiring for our people and creates rewarding work, and Cisco’s technology fuels the energy and impact of our work. As well, our commitment to positively impact communities, governments and businesses around the world is key, which includes Australia. Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration $61 million investment program has enabled and supported the digital application of technology in industries and infrastructure across Australia.

Outside of this, our people have the opportunity and flexibility to work with organisations they feel connect to, creating an impact in their community.  A crucial part of Cisco’s Conscious Culture is giving back and Cisco’s Time2Give program gives employees 10 days a year to volunteer (increased this year, previously five days). In Australia, we have national charity partners in Orange Sky and Lifeline, along with many organisations close to the hearts of our employees.

As well, we can all be proud of how we come together in times of need.

At this time, we maintain the connections virtually through our Webex video conferencing technology.

Responding during the pandemic and coming together

Through the pandemic, we sought for connection in new ways. I couldn’t be prouder of how the teams have been working through and supported each other, as well as their customers and partners.

Through COVID-19, it has been Cisco’s technology that has supported many organisations to continue to operate – whether in hospitals, schools, government or businesses right across the country. Thousands of new customers took up our free technology offers, which included Cisco Webex, Security, Data Centre, AppDynamics and Meraki, and we have seen many of our existing customers scale up or build on their existing technology capability.

We also donated our office equipment to customers in our hospitals and within government agencies, with the team in Sydney cleaning and pack up our office DX80’s (video units) to help with their vital services.


The team in Sydney packing up the DX80’s in the office.

To support our employees at this time, there have been a range of initiatives to support our people’s well-being during the pandemic, including:

  • A Day for Me’ to take a step away from work and spend time with their family or take the time for themselves to do what they loved.
  • Health and Wellness Initiatives during this time to boost physical and mental health: weekly live yoga lessons, weekly live meditation sessions and the launch of the Team Step Challenge!
  • Virtual Health Check workshop for our teams to help them to adapt to the new ways of working together as a team and prioritise actions and tips to strengthen the team and build for the future.
  • Increased our Time2Give Days to 10 days for 2020, with a virtual volunteering platform.

Our teams have been finding new ways to connect with each other from ‘Iso Trivia and Cocktail nights’ to raise funds for charity, Country Impact discovery sessions with special guests sharing in-depth insights on key topics from National Reconciliation Week, World Environment Day, and Giving Back with Orange Sky. Our teams have also set up special interest groups and meet regularly, from the Cisco book club, fitness group and our Cisco chefs!

There are many fantastic companies across Australia who are striving to improve the workplace experience and culture and have been recognised in the Best Place to Work Awards. This recognition helps us to strive to be better and continue to lead, to listen more intently with our employees, and take action in our communities. I’ve known for a long time, that our culture and workplace is something special at Cisco.

This is such a proud moment for me and the team to be recognised at the number one Best Place to Work in Australia.
We will continue to listen to our employees to improve our workplace culture – through increased transparency, trust, and
our greater purpose to power a more inclusive future, together.


A group shot of Gerri Elliot visiting the Sydney office.