The News: Technology giant Cisco Systems received the #1 rank from the “Great Places to Work Institute for 2019. More than any other company in the world today, shows how a high-trust culture is better all around. Consider how the company has unified its people around a sense of community service in recent years under CEO Chuck Robbins. Read more about Robbins and Cisco’s cultural transformation on Fortune where Cisco and several of the other top firms were recognized this week.
Quick Overview of the Study
In the largest-ever study of workplace culture, research and analytics firm Great Place to Work surveyed 3.4 million employees across 90 countries and discovered that a sense of community is vital in the United States and Canada, psychological safety is key in Latin America, fairness is at the forefront in Europe and sustainability in work and life is central in Asia.
Analyst Take: While there are many attributes that go into making a company a great place to work, it is certainly a tremendous mark of a job well done when a company like Cisco, which employs over 75,000 people, is able to build a culture where its own employees feel so strongly about their company.
Having attended many Cisco events and having had thousands of interactions with Cisco employees, I can say the recognition doesn’t surprise me in the least. In the Chuck Robbins era there is an extremely clear sense of not only purpose, but trust, investment and commitment to employees. This is visible every year at the analyst summit CEO Q&A where Robbins defers and withholds comments on topics in order to allow his leadership team to chime in and be the voice of their teams. This doesn’t just happen at the very top, but it filters throughout the organization creating a positive ora around the organization; one that clearly the employees are feeling as well.
With all of that in mind, the margins between Cisco at #1 and those that followed in the top 25 were small, but the noted areas that pulled Cisco above the rest were in the credibility, respect and fairness. These broad attributes were followed by strong sense of community, psychological security (employees not worrying about being fired) and investment/giving back to the community. Cisco’s strong marks in these areas set them at the top, and it is worth noting that the company’s scores have improved by 5% year over year. Robbins is a very vocal advocate for social good, and this certainly has been good for his credibility and the company’s corporate social responsibility.
The study also calls out that nearly half of the employees polled aren’t having a great workplace experience. This number is most certainly impacting organizational performance. Our 2018 Digital Transformation Index found overwhelming support to the thesis that CEO’s must be the leaders of digital transformation and almost all organizations that are on the leading edge of the journey showed strong CEO buy-in to leading a fast-paced change ready organization. Cisco, for 2019 has represented these best-practices and have been rewarded for them. Deservedly, I might add.
Finally, for those interested, here was this year’s top 25.
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