Article: Show, share & engage: Subasha K. Rao

Employee Engagement

Show, share & engage: Subasha K. Rao

Subash A. K. Rao, Director HR, Cisco
Show, share & engage: Subasha K. Rao

Lesser time away from family and being environmentally conscious through lower greenhouse emissions are the icing on the cake!


Talent Acquisition

Over the last 3-4 years, a significant change has taken place in our external hiring. Prior to 2008, almost half of our entire hiring was through placement agencies and search firms. Subsequent to the economic downturn, we have now moved towards more direct sourcing, using social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. 4 years ago, we barely sourced 5% of our external hires through direct sourcing. But today, almost 50 percent of our hires are through direct sourcing. Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook have been immensely useful for direct sourcing of talent. This also helped us save several million dollars in fees, which was paid out to the placement agencies earlier. Cisco has its own sourcing team and recruiters who are trained to use these social media forums. There are Facebook pages for interns, college hires, lateral hires, etc. which allow for continued interactions with the talent pool for identifying and sourcing talent, apart from Twitter feeds on opportunities.

Cisco also has an internal portal called ‘Talent Connection’ to help employees find career opportunities within the organization, and more importantly, for job opportunities to find the employees! Our recruiters not only look externally, but they also look internally to see if an existing employee is fit for a new position. This doubles the hiring effectiveness as one does not need to wait for a job, but the job effectively finds the best suitor. Recruiters reach out to employees based on the skills required and the employees’ interests posted by them on the portal. This allows talent mobility within Cisco, which further increases employee engagement and performance.

Talent Engagement

Within Cisco, we have a unified platform called Integrated Workforce Experience (IWE), which is a one stop shop for employees. It is a combination of the entire range of social media platforms similar to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. IWE has a configurable home page which allows interaction with other employees; a “Show & Share” video sharing feature; a status, comment, follow and be followed feature like Twitter; and even a “classifieds” page for employees to buy and sell stuff. It allows employees to “pull” content based on their role and interest rather than the company just pushing emails and notices to employees. It is an online presence where employees can interact, communicate and collaborate. This platform has workgroups, interest groups, peer groups, friends, etc. The purpose is to drive employee engagement and build and strengthen a sense of community, especially as we deal with the shift in the demographic trends (Today over 50 percent of the workforce in Cisco India is Gen Y).

Talent Development

Being a technology company works to our advantage. We have several video based collaboration tools like WebEx, Tandberg and Tele-presence, which allow us to scale beyond location and logistics constraints in our Learning & Development initiatives. A substantial proportion of our learning activities are now “virtual” – only a small part of the learning is in a physical classroom setting. We use web-based training, video sessions, WebEx seminars and classes on Tele-presence. This allows for learning groups from across the world to come together for a much broader and global exposure and learning. It also helps maintain quality and consistency of the instruction. Today, 85 percent of our learning and development happens on these forums. Apart from the convenience, quality and flexibility, virtualization of learning methods leads to a saving of millions of dollars for Cisco each year through reduced travel costs, lower time away from work and lower infrastructure costs. Less time away from family and being environmentally conscious through lower greenhouse emissions are the icing on the cake!

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Strategic HR, #Social Media

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