The following is an excerpt from the 2019 CSR report.

New technologies and business models are disrupting our organization and industry, shortening the lifespan of skill sets. As a result, it is essential for our employees to be lifelong learners. We help them do so through a large suite of professional courses that increase skills and teach the inner workings of Cisco and our industry. Our goal: build a culture of constant learning and thoughtfulness around career paths and ensure our people bring the most engaged, highest performing, and valuable versions of themselves to work every day.


Rather than telling employees what to do based on their jobs, we encourage them to be curious and choose their own path. We call this “learning at the edge.” Degreed, a learning experience platform, makes this possible by uniting internal learnings with external materials like TED Talks and LinkedIn learning courses. The program uses machine learning to provide personalized content recommendations, allowing users to select from Cisco-endorsed curricula or create their own development plans. It is a place where Cisco employees can discover, consume, organize, share, and track all relevant learnings, no matter where they take place. Degreed allows us to develop the core skills needed in our business today and tomorrow based on how we know job families, functions, and roles are evolving. It also provides insight into employees’ evolving skills and interests.

We rolled out Degreed to all Cisco employees in late 2018, and since then, nearly half of our employees have become active users. Popular learning pathways include:

  • Leadership@Cisco
  • The Art of Influencing
  • Interrupting Unconscious Bias to Build Inclusion
  • Communicating for Impact

Given their focus on interacting with others, these trainings support the creation of a Conscious Culture. Compared to other companies who use Degreed, Cisco’s users are highly engaged. They are also consuming a variety of types of content. This suggests they are seeking out the forms of learning that best suit them.

Talent Marketplace

Woman wearing headphones looking at her laptopAn ongoing goal is to make sure we have the right people, with the right skills, on the right teams. It’s easier to achieve this goal when employees know they have room to explore career paths. Some employees may want to simply test the waters in another department, or they may want to work with a different team on an interesting or innovative project. The Talent Marketplace enables employees to test-drive a specific role through a “stretch assignment.”

These assignments allow people to work with other teams, have fresh experiences, and develop new skills, without having to completely change jobs. Using the Talent Marketplace, employees can apply for assignments with other teams, as well as trying job or time swaps. People might work on a one-time project or take on a stretch assignment lasting for five months. Or they might offer their special knowledge or talents to another team for eight hours a week for a year. Anyone at Cisco can post an assignment or apply to an open assignment on Talent Marketplace. Moving forward, we will integrate the consistent skill baseline we use to populate employee Degreed profiles with Talent Marketplace. Specific skills noted on each assignment will help employees find opportunities that match the skills they are seeking to develop.


Cisco’s Career Advisory services allow employees to meet one-on-one with trained Career Advisors to receive personalized career development support. Working together, employees and Career Advisors assess an individual’s strengths, skills, experience, and goals. They then create an Action Plan to help the employee meet their goals, which may include specific development opportunities.

The Power of Teams

 We’ve put the power of communication and growth into the hands of our teams. The Power of Teams is a guided, discussion-based, team learning experience for teams who are ready to take their performance to the next level. Consisting of self-led or facilitator-led options, this learning experience challenges teams to build better engagement. By understanding and practicing how the best teams at Cisco succeed, the program helps identify where each team can grow.

Programs for leaders

 Leaders are crucial not only to their teams’ growth but to Cisco’s growth as a whole. Knowing this, we have set up programs to help leaders actively engage and continue to enhance their skills to become the best leaders they can be.

Programs and experiences target all levels of leadership, from new to more seasoned. They include simulations, virtual sessions, one-on-ones, and more.



Jennifer Boynton

Corporate Social Responsibility Content Strategist

Corporate Affairs