By Hema Marshall, Head of Strategy & Sales Acceleration at Cisco

As an organisation, we like to think that we work really hard to ensure we create a diverse, inclusive working environment, where people from every area of society believe that they belong and are valued. But what do we mean by inclusion and diversity? And what does it mean to us at Cisco?

Well, for starters, inclusion for us means to belong and be heard, valued, respected and supported. This creates a safe workplace for everyone, and one that encourages collaboration and innovation. Each individual’s needs are taken into consideration to ensure that right conditions are in place for them.

Diversity for us is the differentiation between groups and people from one another. We strongly believe that differences can add depth, strength and creativity to our work, which in turn plays a massive part in our success. Diversity allows us all to harness our personal talents and complement each other’s strengths.

We connect everything – and our technology changes the way the world lives. Using our connections, we can respond to and help fulfil the needs of the world around us. But we can only achieve this through our people.

Having a diverse workforce is in our interests; it means we can reflect and represent the world that we are connecting. This allows for wider perspectives and greater innovation, creating fresh ideas and possibilities.

With everyone feeling like they belong and are heard, valued, respected and supported comes collaboration, the freedom to express thoughts without bias, and empowering people and creations.

An inclusive environment starts at the top with our leaders, who are there to inspire and guide our staff to new levels of creativity and productivity.

Leaders should aim to create a supportive culture for our staff, ensuring that they believe it is a great place to work. We try to help leaders understand the needs of their staff, and that their needs might change throughout their career.

Another method we use to ensure better communication between us and our staff is data. Analysing the data of diversity within our organisation enables us to better understand our workforce and therefore ensure that everyone is heard, valued, respected, supported and feel that they belong.

Having awareness across the business is important because it encourages better inclusion and greater diversity, which is good for business. We think it’s important for our employees to know exactly what we are doing to improve inclusion and diversity, so that we can all better support each other.

Pushing to have diverse recruitment in all areas of the business enhances our team’s strengths. We want to hire the best possible people and we can’t do that if we restrict our search to a certain ‘type’ of person. It’s therefore vital that we reach people from different backgrounds.

There are many things that we are involved with to encourage inclusion and diversity throughout our staff. One of the most recent is that Cisco recently sponsored the Black British Business Awards 2018. This is where people recognise the contributions made by black British business executives and how they can inspire others Award categories included: Arts and Media, Entrepreneur, and Professional Services, with our very own Phil Wolfenden presenting the awards for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) category.

So, that’s what inclusion and diversity means to us. Over and above everything, it’s about making people feel that they belong and are valued. But whilst we are doing a lot of great work to make our UKI business inclusive and collaborative, we know there is more we can do. In fact, there is a lot more everyone can do! So let’s get started!


Published: 22 November 2018