Equality isn’t a given, we’ve had to work at it
Connect everything. Innovate everywhere. Benefit everyone. That’s what we strive to do as a business – both inside and out.
That said, we know better than many, that having lofty ambition won’t get you where you aspire to be. Unless you can underpin it with a culture of people who want the same thing.
We’re lucky. There is an intangible feeling that you get when working for Cisco. It has long been a passion of mine to try and share that feeling externally. We’re not talking spine tingling, hairs on the back of your neck type feeling – that would be a little farfetched. But an excitement and enthusiasm that only comes when you have a sense of belonging and shared values.
Our customers feel it when they visit us, our partners get it too – but you’d be hard pressed to get them to articulate it either.
That, and for a number of reasons, is why we participate so wholeheartedly in initiatives that try to capture the feeling of those in the organisation, and provide us with a benchmark to better ourselves – like the Great Place to Work awards.
Only last month, we became the first technology company to be accredited with the National Equality Standard (NES), an initiative run by EY to rate the capabilities of a business in relation to their equality, diversity and inclusion.
The standard is supported by the Home Office and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). In the early stages, Cisco and many others including Vodafone, EDF Energy and WPP, worked with EY on best practise to develop a framework for the NES assessment. It was the first of its kind. By business, for business.
The standard rates 70 different competences under 7 standards, including understanding the strategy for equality, diversity and inclusion and how it is reviewed and measured within the organisation.
You might assume that because we were one of the organisations involved in setting the standard, that we had an easy ride in our own certification. You’d be wrong. Unless you reach a minimum in all of the above areas, you will not be successful in achieving the standard.
When we first went through our assessment in 2015, we didn’t quite meet the requirements. We scored highly in most, if not the majority of categories, but it has to be a minimum in all and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
We’re extremely grateful for what the process has given us. The ability to grow. In the places where we were marginally below the required level, we went away and built a plan to fix it – not just for the certification – but because it wasn’t good enough for us to be below par when it comes to the environment that we provide for our people.
Needless to say, we are now proudly NES certified and couldn’t be happier that we achieved over and above average across all of the 7 standards.
It doesn’t stop there; we still have things to work on. As do all who go through the certification process. Over the next year and a half, we have a plan in place to help us drive towards the never-ending pursuit of a culture where people feel welcomed, valued and heard. Connecting everything. Innovating everywhere. Benefiting everyone