Over the past four years, Cisco has ranked among the top in the Best Employers list in Canada, compiled by the company Aon, which specializes in human resources. Cisco ranked third on this list in 2010, first in 2011, second in 2012, and first again last year.
This success did not happen by chance. Cisco adheres to a management philosophy that creates working conditions that are especially conducive to personnel development and to bringing the highest level of talent to the company. This approach, which is in effect throughout the entire organization, includes a number of measures that explain the success that we have experienced in Canada as an employer.
It all starts with communication. Our employees can rely on our open-door policy to submit a problem to a member of executive management. That person has the duty to ensure that the employee’s immediate supervisor is aware of the situation. They must present their point of view transparently in order to set the record straight with the employee. The senior executive must enter into a dialogue with them to check whether they have thought about a possible solution, promoting development and stimulating creativity. In such cases, miscommunication can be detrimental.
Like the coach behind the bench of a hockey team, the executive cannot score the goals. They must observe and analyze so they can offer sound advice. The inverse is also true, as the veterans have much to learn from the younger ones. This is the reason why we encourage reverse mentoring. This helps us to better understand the newer generations, their goals, and how they work. At the same time, this formula serves as an incubator for talent and allows us to discover the future leaders of the company.
The era of using fear as a management strategy is over. These days, young people want to work for leaders who they are proud of and want to follow. However, the most remarkable feature of recent generations is without a doubt how they balance work with their private life. They prioritize doing activities with their children and spending time on leisure pursuits. Young workers will not consider abandoning these values for the sake of work schedules that are too strict.
At Cisco, they work at their own pace. Thanks to our advanced communication tools, they have the option of connecting to business systems from a number of sources. They can efficiently communicate with their colleagues, clients, and partners at any time, according to their own schedule. Under these circumstances, it is unnecessary to drive into heavy traffic at rush hour. In fact, all employees benefit from such flexibility, regardless of their age. To be sure, they have their obligations, but each person is autonomous and, in a way, manages their own small business.
Technology is a key element in the establishment of flexible working conditions. Not only do the tools of technology help people to balance work and leisure, they also increase productivity. Furthermore, we do not value the people who work long hours every week the same way we did before. On the contrary, it is reasonable to ask whether they have implemented the tools and conditions that provide optimal performance.
Cisco’s corporate culture comprises a set of elements that provide a high-quality work environment. This culture is oriented around the employees, which are the company’s most precious asset. Bearing this in mind, communication, collaboration, and teamwork are essential. Nobody works alone; whether we achieve success or make mistakes, we do it as a team.
I am delighted to see how, every day, the employees in Quebec and Montreal adhere to this philosophy. A remarkably strong team spirit reigns among the relatively modest workforce in our offices. This is a major asset, which, together with the exceptional talent of our employees, contributes to the continuing success of Cisco Quebec.