The Aon Best Employers program assesses the people practices of high performing organisations and recognises employers which have high levels of employee engagement, effective leadership, strong employer brand and high performance culture.

These aspects are consistently seen to underpin an organisation’s ability to attract and retain quality employees while also maintaining strong business performance, even in challenging business conditions.

In 2016, Cisco Australia took out the title of the ‘Best of the Best’ in recognition of their continued efforts to engage their employees and create a high performing workforce. We caught up with Adrian West, Head of HR Australia and New Zealand at Cisco Australia to learn about some of the strategies which help to make them a ‘Best of the Best’ employer.

  1. Create – and communicate – a strong employee value propositionOver the past two years, we have evolved our employee value proposition and engagement globally through a concept we call our ‘People Deal’, which is simply the understanding of what Cisco can do for our people and what we expect in return. Our journey began with a manifesto and leadership commitments, and we have in place an ongoing focus on communication to help connect employees to our purpose and keep them constantly up-to-date with company’s vision, performance and market trends.
  2. Engage employees through the ‘Moments that Matter’ to themOur employee value proposition filters down throughout the organisation with our focus on the ‘Moments that Matter’, which are those defining career and personal moments that are important to our staff. These include days off for birthdays, Bring your Kids to Work Day, Benefits Expos and Holiday Code Camps to promote work-life balance and wellbeing. Employees are also given time to work with a charity of their choice, in addition to our corporate volunteer days. These moments help to transform our employee’s experience by engaging them in meaningful work which makes a difference to our employees and their communities.
  3. Think localIn Australia and New Zealand we have a program called Working@Cisco ANZ which supports us to engage employees locally. Employees volunteer as site leaders and ambassadors across our nine ANZ offices to create, develop and promote local initiatives. They focus on activities which align to Cisco’s industry thought leadership; giving back to the local community; inspiring our employees; and creating a working environment and culture that is inclusive, diverse and results driven.
  4. Embrace technology to create a culture of trust and flexibilityWe understand that flexibility can have the biggest impact on our employees, and hence it’s a key characteristic of the Cisco culture – it is ingrained in the way we work, and enabled by our innovative technology. By leveraging our leading-edge technology, our employees can juggle their out-of-work commitments with their work schedule and in return they work harder, smarter and enjoy what they are doing because we trust them and give them the flexibility to work any place, anywhere, any time. This autonomy has helped to engender a culture of empowerment and trust.
  5. Focus on feedbackWe have changed the way we run our performance review system and are now moving to an online portal called ‘Team Space’. This system allows leaders to understand the strengths of their teams and have real-time check-ins uncovering what’s important and where they need support. Each quarter we also poll our employees using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) system, to understand how we can continually build and evolve our culture based on employee sentiment and feedback.
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About Aon Best Employers

Aon Best Employers is Australia and New Zealand’s leading accreditation and research programinto the people practices of high performing organisations. Now in its fifteenth cycle, the program provides a unique opportunity for organisations to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to their people. It can benefit all participating organisations (regardless of where their engagement levels currently sit) by:

  • allowing benchmarking against the Best
  • identifying strengths and weaknesses in people practices
  • providing action-oriented consultation to help improve engagement.

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As the region’s most credible employer research program, Aon Best Employers provides the platform you need to prioritise your organisation’s most important asset – your people. Contact usfind out how participation can help your company get ahead.


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