Cisco uses online idea sharing platform to encourage employee feedback

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Employee Benefits Connect 2016: Cisco International encourages employees to provide feedback and suggestions about their benefits package via an online idea sharing platform.

Speaking in a session titled ‘Building a global benefits strategy for the business of the future’, at Employee Benefits Connect on 9 March, Spencer Roach, total reward manager Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), at Cisco International, explained that the web-based tool, provided by Be-novative, brings together small groups of employees from across the organisation’s locations to brainstorm ideas about new or improved employee benefits they would like to be offered.

The platform enables staff to share ideas and photos, which can be liked by other members of the workforce. Employees can rank suggestions according to their impact and feasibility, and this feedback is then taken into account as Cisco develops its reward and benefits strategy.

Popular suggestions include a day of leave on an employee’s birthday and time off to carry out volunteer work, both of which have since been introduced.

“This type of innovation is really driving what we are doing for reward across the region,” said Roach (pictured).

The organisation is evolving its benefits strategy in line with the changing demographics of its workforce and the needs of the business. With approximately 15,000 employees in EMEA across 63 countries, in addition to an increasing number of generations within its workforce, one size clearly does not fit all when it comes to employee benefits, explained Roach.

However, rather than segmenting its benefits offering across generational lines, Cisco decided to increase choice and ensure that all employees are able to opt for benefits that meet their individual needs. When developing benefits for employees at each of its locations, the organisation considers the local market, what the business is trying to achieve, and what employees want, said Roach.

Cisco recently introduced its People Deal employee value proposition, which sets out what it expects from its employees and what its employees can expect from the organisation. In line with Cisco’s core values, the deal’s key tenets are: connect everything, innovate everywhere and benefit everyone.

In addition to working to provide benefits that are of value to all members of staff, Cisco is looking at how to connect the organisation to the things that are important to staff on a day-to-day basis, said Roach. As a technology firm, it is also developing ways of incorporating technology into its benefits package, such as employee discounts on business partners’ products.

Roach said: “We are using salary sacrifice programmes to enable people to buy telephones, tablets and laptops. We use our own telepresence devices for homeworkers and we’re starting to think about the other ways in which we can use these.”

As it continues to innovate, the organisation is working to align its brand with its benefits offering. This includes plans to harness Cisco technology to connect wellbeing benefits to industry experts within this sphere, such as using the firm’s technology to run globally streamed live sessions or by incorporating gamification elements.

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Roach said: “One of the important things to us is about building the Cisco brand, and about driving social media so we started to think about how we could involve industry experts – people who everyone recognises in the wellbeing space – and how we could use Cisco’s technology to connect these.”

He added: “For us it’s all about trying to do something different, trying to understand where our business is at, and where our employees’ minds are at the moment.”