Case Studies in Diversity and Inclusion – Part 2

In our first part in this series of case studies, we took a sneak peak into Accenture’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy and how it is becoming an integral part of Accenture’s business as well as its organizational culture. Another significant game changer in the D & I space is Cisco, with its unique and hard hitting approach.

Unlike most companies that are diverse at the lower ranks, CISCO stands out in its D and I efforts because it is diverse at the top. Cisco believes that change must begin from the top and has worked towards creating strong yet diverse leadership at the top. However it also recognizes the need to create similar role models at all levels in order to percolate the right efforts and mind-set downward across all functions and ranks of the organization.

All this began with a breakthrough understanding that when diversity and inclusion is made everyone’s responsibility, no one is entirely responsible and no one is assuring results or changes. Hence, Cisco appointed the first ever Chief inclusion officer and instating the office of inclusion and collaboration, and office with the authority and focus to bring change in a tangible and meaningful fashion.

Pay Parity: Shari Slate, VP, Chief inclusion officer at Cisco believes pay parity is nothing but a simple issue of fairness. Cisco knows that its edge in the industry comes from its people and not merely its technology. So it focuses on ensuring that everyone who works for Cisco is paid fairly for the work they do, regardless of gender or ethnicity. When it comes to pay parity Cisco has lead the way by singing the White House Equal Pay Pledge.

To further their cause of pay parity, Cisco no longer asks US job candidates for their last pay slip and how much they made on their last job. Cisco is now basing their salaries on market data, candidate experience and expectations, and the level and location of the role.

Cisco Life Changer Program for inclusion of the differently-abled: Cisco LifeChanger is a ground breaking, award-winning program that was developed by Cisco employees with a passion for inclusion and innovation, and a strong desire to address a critical challenge. To break down barriers to employment and limited access to employers, the passionate volunteers behind Cisco LifeChanger developed novel applications for Cisco’s voice, video, and collaboration technology, and combined them with process improvements, to transcend location, accommodation, and mobility issues.

The result: people with disabilities can seamlessly join teams and contribute value. By overcoming barriers to employment, Cisco is creating new possibilities for how we can change the way the world works, tap into the tremendous untapped potential of people with disabilities, and change lives.

Multiplier Effect: With the boldest idea to date in Diversity and Inclusion yet, Cisco initiated the Multiplier effect pledge, to leverage the power of sponsorship to accelerate the pipeline of diverse talent. The pledge brings in thought leaders and executives within the tech industry to pledge their support and sponsor one diverse candidate and thus multiply the growth. The belief that a candidate can grow immensely and contribute their full potential if they receive dedicated support, sponsorship and guidance form a leader, makes this pledge one that creates a ripple effect and helps the entire industry and landscape reaps the benefits from a diversity and inclusion strategy.

Equally accepting and including everyone with a sense of fairness and respect is simply what should have been a part of everyone’s every day life. Yet, we have come to live in a world where we need to remind ourselves of our uniqueness and that of others and acceptance has sadly become a gift and not a right. However, with concrete efforts such as these from tech behemoths, there is hope that equal opportunity is slowly but steadily becoming a reality.