Penang, Malaysia. A beautiful city and an exciting opportunity for the whole Human Resources team in the Asia Pacific, Japan and China regions to come together to learn from each other, grow together and volunteer together.

And I had to miss it.

While the rest of my team was going to be bonding and participating, I was going to be sitting at home nursing wounds, literal and figurative. I had to take care of some medical issues with a pretty major back surgery, but I was gutted that I’d have to miss the offsite.

Cisco has some great benefits to help me with the medical things, but I wasn’t quite sure how to get past my fear of FOMO – or Fear of Missing Out.

What I learned is that when we talk about the power of great teams at Cisco, we’re talking about the power of our “work family.” Just like your biological family helps you get through tough times, your “work family” is there to help as well.

While the HR offsite was taking place, I followed along with their adventures in social media. As a Talent Acquisition Manager, I often use social media to connect with possible candidates. As a Cisco employee, that’s one of the ways I stay connected with my global team. In this case, it was so lovely that I could follow what was going on in Malaysia through Twitter, WhatsApp and other social channels.

But then I saw a Tweet. It had a photo. With me in it! How could that be?

We Miss You Tweet

My team was missing me as much as I was missing them, and they had (without my knowledge) printed out pictures of my face and they were all carrying “me” around with them and posting with “me” in photos. Suddenly, there wasn’t just one picture of me, there were loads of nice messages from the team.

All Natalie's faces

I really think Cisco has been amazing on how my “work family” has supported me the past few months. It makes coming back after a break much less stressful. Cisco’s support during my time off is an example of how we care about people and it’s a great way to build employee loyalty. They gave me time to recover without me feeling any pressure but kept connected so I didn’t feel I was forgotten.

Every time I see the pictures of the offsite, and see that I was still there in spirit, it makes me smile. It’s what makes the idea of #WeAreCisco come to life in a real way.

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Natalie Gray

Manager, Talent Acquisition