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Employee experience

Cisco believes in open-ended, self-directed learning, understanding that each individual knows best what skills and resources they need to succeed.

We encourage people to explore job roles and functions outside of their daily work, creating limitless opportunities for employees to align skills with strengths and reinvent their careers within Cisco. In fiscal 2023, the average hours spent on training and development by our full-time employees (FTEs) was 11.19, representing an average investment of US$1546 spent per FTE. And we know that it’s never too soon—or too late—to learn something new, as we engage with everyone from interns to our executive leadership team on emerging ways to work and lead.

We empower not only individuals, but also teams, to harness their strengths and improve the way we work. Through virtual and in-person tools for strengthening manager-employee and interpersonal relationships, we help teams work in harmony and increase their impact. A two-way exchange—sharing resources with their employees and listening closely to their feedback—gives everyone a voice and a stake in our success.


People are the fundamental ingredient in all business transformation. Cisco thrives only when our people do. To that end, Cisco has been engaged in an evolution of our approach to performance that seeks to create a consistent, predictable feedback and development cycle to lift the performance of individuals and teams by creating clarity and transparency of expectations, performance, and development.

We have shifted performance management from a traditional, historic view that elevates a small percentage of employees to an engaged, collaborative approach that is in service of an inclusive future for all. Recognizing the increasing pace of change and the dynamic nature of our business requirements, Cisco has implemented a process that relies on agile conversations and regular checkpoints for employees which feed into biannual talent assessments and organizational talent reviews to realize our vision as outlined below:

2.2M+ total Team Space Check-⁠Ins submitted
85% of employees submitted Check-Ins during FY23
8.1% increase in Team Space Check-Ins from FY22

Cisco has implemented a process for employees to check in each week with their managers via a tool called Team Space. This weekly Check-In allows employees to reflect on last week’s work, identify immediate priorities for the coming week, and request support as needed to complete the work. These digital Check-In submissions are complemented by 1:1 conversations between manager and employee where performance feedback is shared, recognition is provided, and development priorities are planned.

On a regular basis, leaders are encouraged to engage in a more comprehensive review of performance, development, and career growth using our Development Discussion Guide. The outcomes of these weekly Check-Ins and development conversations are documented in our Talent Assessment Tool on a biannual basis.

When assessing performance, the process begins with clarity of expectations and an articulation of the measures that each individual will be evaluated against. At Cisco, we discuss performance according to three dimensions: Results, Principle & Behaviors, and Team Impact. When reviewing results, leaders are encouraged to leverage any specific, objective measures that are pertinent to their business (sales commission targets, key performance indicators (KPIs), objectives and key results (OKRs), etc.), where they exist. Some teams also factor in team-based goals and objectives to better connect individual performance to overall team performance.

Leaders are expected to collect relevant information on the performance of their employees as a means to gather a full understanding of each employee’s results, principles and behaviors, and team impact. Employees, too, are encouraged to collect feedback from others in service of their own personal growth and development. To do this, the recommendation is to engage in live conversations with stakeholders to seek targeted feedback that can help lift their performance.

Programs for leaders

At Cisco, we recognize the critical role leaders play in driving both team and organizational growth. That’s why we are continually developing comprehensive programs and experiences designed to actively engage leaders and enhance their skills.

Our programs cater to leaders at all levels, from new to the more experienced, offering a range of self-driven microlearnings, virtual cohort sessions, one-on-one engagements, professional coaching, and peer collaboration. These initiatives are carefully crafted to empower Cisco leaders with the tools and knowledge needed to excel in their roles.

What is it? What are its goals?
What is it?Cisco Leader Fundamentals What are its goals? This two-day program provides new team leaders with a strong understanding of what is expected of them as people leaders at Cisco, and clarity on the tools and resources available to them. Over 1700 new leaders attended this program in FY23.
What is it?New Leader Journey What are its goals? This six-month, cohort-based program helps further new people leaders into their leadership roles through Degreed learning pathways and virtual facilitator-led “Leadership Circle” sessions. 450 new team leaders participated in FY23.
What is it?Leader Learning Labs What are its goals? These 120-minute labs teach leaders to navigate tough conversations with empathy and tact. Leaders work through simulated real-life scenarios with professional actors and receive immediate feedback on their performance. Over 900 leaders attended a learning lab in FY23.
What is it?Leadership Coaching What are its goals? Cisco provides leaders at all levels with customized coaching packages that leverage a high-touch, personalized, and results-driven approach to maximize their strengths. In partnership with BetterUp, we offer unlimited coaching sessions for a six-month duration. In FY23, nearly 1000 leaders benefited from our coaching programs.
What is it?Fostering Growth Through Leader Feedback
(NEW offering)
What are its goals? This workshop equips leaders to drive team growth and excellence through effective feedback. The two-hour training session provides essential skills on giving and receiving feedback, followed by a 30-minute Reflection & Application Session for successful implementation. Over 200 leaders have participated since its Q4 FY23 launch.
What is it?BigThink+
(NEW Offering)
What are its goals? Leaders can unlock a world of leadership expertise through our subscription-based platform. BigThink+ provides valuable insights from renowned thought leaders and top executives, gaining inspiration and knowledge through impactful, short videos that will enhance leadership skills. Over 600 subscribers have enrolled since BigThink+’s launch in Q4 of FY23.

Programs for teams

We’ve put the power of communication and growth into the hands of our teams by offering both self-service tools and facilitated programs that help teams learn, engage, and problem solve. We also strengthen teams through tools like Team Space, a platform for both individual and team collaboration. It enables the behaviors and rituals (One-Time Standout Assessment, Weekly Check-Ins, and Quarterly Engagement Pulse) that scale team excellence and unlock the power of teams.

Power of Teams

Our foundational offering, the Power of Teams course, offers a chance to connect and understand each other at a deeper level. 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 facilitator-led learning sessions, 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. In fiscal 2023, 239 Power of Teams workshops were held globally.

Power of Teams: Hybrid Working

Power of Teams: Hybrid Working is a group of offerings that provide teams the tools and opportunity to discuss solutions and plan for how to navigate and collaborate as a team in a hybrid world.

  • Facilitated Workshop: a three-hour, facilitator-led workshop where teams will explore how to best leverage our environment to drive the right work in a way that fits the team and their goals.
  • Self-Led: a 90-minute, self-led Team Conversation for leaders who feel confident that they can lead their team through the hybrid working environment and want to further explore the realities and opportunities of hybrid working.

Team Self-Service offerings

Self-Service offerings are resources prepared by our experienced coaches and facilitators that enable a leader and team to engage and address specific goals, without the need for direct involvement from a team consultant.

  • Ready-To-Use Team Rituals: When teams have consistent rituals, they can increase engagement, deepen trust, and build a more Conscious Culture. This is a set of suggested rituals with descriptions of how to enact them.
  • Team Labs: These are focused Meeting-in-a-Box offerings designed to guide leaders and teams through a conversation to address specific topics. Each topic contains a deck, notes for the facilitator, slides, and sample videos.
  • Healthy, High-Performing, Hybrid Teams: These three leader-led discussions are an hour each and are designed to help teams create space for meaningful conversations that will promote understanding, unity, and productivity.

Custom and semi-custom team coaching

Not all teams need the same things, and Cisco partners with our leaders to help each team be its best.

  • Semi-custom coaching: Leaders can select from a set of preidentified topics, like dealing with change, conflict resolution, and strength building, for a one- to six-session commitment. We work with the leaders of each team to ensure we understand their needs and tailor each topic in a way that ensures they receive the greatest impact from the sessions.
  • Fully custom coaching: If a team is dealing with unique situations or wants extra support, they can reach out for our fully customized coaching experience. These are curated sessions with expert coaching consultants who have years of experience in the field. Each session is custom designed for a specific team, and the duration of the coaching engagement varies, based on need.

Programs for individuals


Rather than telling employees what skills they must develop, we encourage them to be curious and choose their own paths. We call this “learning at the edge.” Degreed is Cisco’s continual learning platform and unites internal resources 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 see job families, functions, and roles evolving. Leaders can view their team members’ activity, giving them insight into employees’ evolving skills and interests.

My Onboarding Journey

Cisco's My Onboarding Journey is a 90-day introduction to welcome new employees and help them acclimate quickly to Cisco. Through interactive, cross-functional experiences, participants learn about Cisco’s business, strategy, and culture. In fiscal 2023, My Onboarding Journey welcomed 7140 new hires, and 93 percent of participants said the program exceeded their expectations. Looking ahead, we will translate the program into more languages and offer it as a hybrid experience.


Cisco Illuminate is an ongoing program of quarterly learning experiences connecting employees with the relevant people, information, and skills to move forward with confidence. Each quarter, the program had a different theme:

  • Illuminate Your Learning
  • Illuminate Your Leadership
  • Illuminate Your Career
  • Illuminate Your Team

Created in response to employee feedback, each event aims to help empower people to take ownership of their learning and career at Cisco. Events are hyperfocused on relevant and actionable learning, and are designed to act as momentum builders for the learning and development journey. Our first Illuminate Your Learning event was in spring 2022 and put a spotlight on learning. It aims to help employees understand what skills lead where, connect them with relevant learning, and empower them with the knowledge to move forward at Cisco with confidence.