The following is an excerpt from the 2020 CSR Impact Report.

We believe that, together, we can create a better future for all—one that is equitable and inclusive.

To achieve this, we must continuously look at ways to improve our environment, focus on the characteristics that demonstrate who we are, and create positive experiences for everyone at Cisco. We intentionally create an environment where all employees can innovate and thrive.

This is what we call a Conscious Culture.

It’s this culture that empowers our people to tackle the biggest challenges and opportunities. It creates an environment where we can develop cutting-edge solutions for our customers, thereby helping them to overcome their toughest obstacles. It enables growth and profitability of our business while setting us apart from our competitors.

It means that every one of us is aware and focused on the impact that we have on others. It’s about seeing, embracing, and valuing differences of all kinds by strengthening the connection with those who are different from us. This brings out the best in our people, and it empowers us to be creative and challenge norms that no longer serve us.

Our Conscious Culture is our way of being, and this is what drives our commitment to serving our communities.

Last year, we embarked on a journey to transform Human Resources from a traditional department focused on maximizing internal resources into an organization that thinks about the broad impact on internal and external communities alike, looking equally at people, business, and society.

We call our organization People & Communities.

This was a big change, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect as we navigated a global pandemic, addressed social injustices, and adapted quickly to so many unknowns.

We hold ourselves, as well as our customers, partners, and suppliers, accountable for serving global communities and creating a safe environment for all. We see now, more than ever, the role that technology can play in solving some of the world’s biggest challenges.

We believe an Inclusive Future is not only possible, it is Cisco’s purpose to do our part in bringing this to life with our technology, ecosystem, and commitment.


Francine Katsoudas

Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer

Principles of Conscious Culture

The “characteristics” component of Conscious Culture includes our Principles, which articulate how employees can live our culture. These principles are:

  • Give your best. Show a desire to be at your best and connect with others to share quickly with whomever needs it. Open your mind to ideas from everywhere and anywhere. And use those ideas to build on the possibilities to pour a little drop of love into our customers’ worlds.
  • Take accountability. Whatever comes your way, understand it and be personally accountable for its success. Assume the answer is “yes” and that you don’t need to wait in line for permission. Check the data, but don’t let that slow down taking responsibility. And deliver.
  • Give your ego the day off. It’s the best solution our customers need, not the best-protected Cisco turf, so support that solution, whatever the background of the person or team who came up with it. Have the debate and have a backbone. Make your point, then commit to what’s been agreed and deliver it with agility and grace.
  • Take difference to heart. We become bigger as individuals and more powerful as a collective when we respect and value what makes us so special: our unique, personal differences. Inclusion will always beat exclusion.
  • Give something of yourself. A simple smile or “hi” every day is worth its weight in gold, so don’t hide it away. Show care and consideration to your colleagues, our customers, our communities, our partners, and the world we all share. Be worthy of trust. Be an inspiration. Be delightful to everyone—even if you don’t like them.
  • Take a bold step. Whatever your position, show leadership and courage when it comes to innovating and disrupting. If it doesn’t feel safe, be secure in the knowledge that shooting for the stars will always be a part of who we are. Together we can figure out how to get there, so let’s dream big.

Conscious Culture informs all aspects of the Cisco employee experience—from how we support employees across the full spectrum of diversity to how we engage teams and give back to communities.

To learn more about the progress we’re making to power a more inclusive future through CSR, visit our Cisco ESG Reporting Hub, where you can read our CSR Impact Report.

CSR Impact Report graphic


Jennifer Boynton

Corporate Social Responsibility Content Strategist

Corporate Affairs