CEO: Chuck Robbins
Headquarters: San Jose, California


As the largest networking company in the world, technology leader Cisco is focusing on the value of what they refer to as “full spectrum diversity” to drive innovation. They define “full spectrum diversity” to include a focus on gender and ethnicity, orientation, ability, generation, backgrounds, cultures, perspective, experience, affiliations, work styles and points of view. Cisco is looking to expand their insight into the challenges and opportunities to source and retain diverse talent in today’s ever changing marketplace.

Their vision has and continues to be about building a highly inclusive and collaborative environment where talent can thrive– a future that is being shaped by digital transformation. To accomplish this goal, they are moving beyond a generic industry approach by building an innovative new framework that will provide powerful analytics to enable real-time decision making.

The company is launching a new solution known as Diverse Representation Framework (DRF) – built for Cisco, by Cisco. DRF provides data and insights to enable hiring managers and leaders to assess the talent pool in the markets where they do business and use that information to identify, hire, retain and promote diverse talent within the company. “Our goal has always been to mirror the talent pool in the markets where we do business,” said Shari Slate, Cisco’s Chief Inclusion and Collaboration Officer.

There is a value that the mix of talent creates for the company. Cisco sees diverse representation as an enabler of innovation and value creation. And the research proves it. According to the McKinsey & Company 2015 “Diversity Matters” report, they found a correlation in the mix of talent and its impact on performance. The study found that companies with higher rates of gender and ethnicity realize higher financial rates of return as compared to companies that didn’t have a diverse mix of talent.

The Diverse Representation Framework addresses five key areas:

  • Redefine: Mirror the market based on the jobs that they hire
  • Rethink: Size the market in an inclusive manner
  • Reset: Leverage new insight to reset baseline for representation
  • Respond: Find qualified diverse talent that meets the skills and experience levels to hire in the places they do business
  • Realize: Create and foster best teams

“We believe that true business intelligence and actionable insights have been a missing link in our ability to find and attract the diverse mix of people in the markets where we do business,” Slate said. “It’s a problem that’s common in our industry – and with DRF we’re creating uncommon solutions to address the issue.”

Cisco plans to operationalize and scale DRF with its leaders around the world. The goal is to increase full-spectrum diversity in every function, every job family, and across every geography at Cisco to create the most inclusive and innovative culture possible.

“Our Diverse Representation Framework gives us a better understanding of the talent profile in the marketplace globally. We will now have the analytics and data that will enable us to work differently as a company. This framework is a game changer for us in identifying and attracting the best talent.” Fran Katsoudas, Cisco Chief People Officer.