Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Adopting a Start-Up Approach to the Early in Career Network

November 20, 2015

We have all been there…that awkward time just before a party, when you are waiting for your first guests to arrive, you sit there and wonder ‘will anyone actually turn up’?!

Last week, Liz Cook and I were sitting in the IDEA London nervously awaiting people to arrive for the kick off event for the Early in Career Network we run for the UKI.

The nervousness was soon alleviated as people started filtering in and networking amongst themselves. Before we knew it, we had approximately 50 people who make up the small proportion of GenY’s in Cisco.

What is the Early in Career Network?

In essence we are here to help launch the careers of the apprentices and graduates that are filling the corridors of Cisco UKI and help create the future leaders of Cisco UKI – a pretty bold target to be fair.

We aim to do this by focusing on 4 main areas;

Personal Development – creating initiatives to help build leadership skills
Company Change – challenge the normality
Your Visibility – get you in front of directors and executives to build your network
Early in Career Advocacy – lobby the country leadership team on EiC matters

Becoming an Intrapreneur and operating like an incubator

The ECN Leads have now created a model to ensure we can become sustainable and continue to develop individuals – we are operating like a start-up incubator.

We support and help develop ideas being produced by the EiC community, same way a start up needs the guidance at the start of their business planning. We provide assistance with: idea development, consultancy, budget requirements to help get the project started and identifying Cisco’s business needs.

Just like a start up needs seed funding, the ECN then provide initial budget to get them going, help market the program and complete introductions to the wider network in Cisco.

Eventually, we will plan to spin out this programs and get funding sources from other areas of Cisco UKI – exactly the same way it is down in an incubator.

What’s next for this generation?

Similar to the start up community, the energy, ideas and ability to execute is electrifying. The apprentices and Graduates have ideas that would make the Boomer or Generation Jones (keeping up with Joneses) minds blow and it is important to help keep this young talent engaged…or they will leave.

If you are a Generation Y in another company or know someone who is, and you want to kick-start an intercompany Early in Career Network with Cisco – get in touch

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