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Inclusion and Diversity

The Cisco employee resource groups (ERGs) help reinforce the Cisco goal of having employees bring their “total self” to work, fostering a more inclusive, collaborative, and innovative environment. The ERGs play a key role in supporting the Cisco business initiatives by uncovering marketing needs, exploring areas of potential growth, and creating meaningful dialogues that lead to business opportunities.  By valuing the differences that make each person unique, these groups can increase Cisco’s competitive advantage and increase profits.

To assist ERGs in becoming stronger business partners, we worked with Jennifer Brown Consulting to create the ERG Progression Model. This model enables ERGs to assess themselves, their work and their evolution as organizations.

This new framework allows ERG members to:

It is always a challenge to develop and implement a new method among established organizations. To ensure a smooth adoption at Cisco, I incorporated three key tactics:

The impact of establishing the ERG Progression Model at Cisco was amazing. The ERGs felt the model “got rid of the noise” and help them be more focused. They had a definitive blueprint and robust toolkit to help them develop toward attainable goals. The executives now have valuable data to assist them in knowing when and where to engage ERGs in their business initiatives for greater results.

One of the important lessons learned by both the ERGs and executives was that, no matter where the ERG fell in the model spectrum, there wasn’t a bad phase for the ERGs to be in. Each phase had value in itself and even staying in a particular phase for an extended period of time was acceptable, allowing the ERG to delve deeper.

As the ERGs continue to progress through the model at their various paces, it is important to remember that the ERG Progression Model is a living, breathing journey.  It is not a rigid methodology, but actually has a heartbeat that needs nurturing and finessing so it continues to be of value.

Learn more about the ERG Progression Model and what a few of the ERGs are doing.

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  1. Another great post, thanks for the write up! Have a great day and cant wait to see future posts


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