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Embracing Virtual Volunteering

By Stacey Faucett

Published 03-22-22

Submitted by Cisco Systems, Inc.

Abstract image of person waving to a laptop, wearing a badge. A cat sits in the window behind looking at the moon.

The following is based on an excerpt from the 2021 Cisco Purpose Report, published on December 13, 2021.

What does it mean for the future to be inclusive? We believe it’s nothing short of reimagining how we work and how we invest in solutions to global challenges. Among Cisco’s people, true inclusion means many things: Achieving a deeper sense of communication and collaboration within teams. Respecting one another’s identities and the various roles we play inside and outside of work. And recognizing that when we give people the flexibility to choose how and where they are most productive, working remotely can actually bring us closer together.

Cisco is also bringing about an inclusive future through the positive actions taken by tens of thousands of employees in communities around the world. Making positive impact a habit is part of what it means to work at Cisco and is an important aspect of our culture.

In fiscal 2017, we set a goal to achieve 80 percent employee participation in community impact by 2020. We achieved that goal last year and sustained it through fiscal 2021 with 80 percent employee participation in community impact for the second fiscal year in a row. This was possible through a new approach that celebrates all the ways employees take positive action, including volunteering, donating, building awareness around critical social and environmental issues, supporting vulnerable communities, advocating for causes that matter, acting for inclusion, and living sustainably. The Community Impact Portal acts as a key entry point for engaging employees in learning, giving, and advocating on the biggest problems facing society, and provides extra motivation through virtual engagements.

While our total volunteer hours declined in fiscal 2021 due to the pandemic, many employees embraced virtual volunteering, as well as other remote and digital options to make a difference. During a year in which most employees worked remotely and faced significant challenges, we are proud of the many ways—both big and small—our people continued to step up and take action. For example, Cisco employees:

  • Provided personalized career advice to students through Career Village
  • Volunteered for crisis help lines
  • Held virtual trivia night fundraisers in support of Rise Against Hunger
  • Wrote thank you notes to Mercy Corps first responders

As we look to the future, we are exploring ways to ensure that giving remains impactful in a hybrid working environment. While many teams are interested in getting back to in-person events, virtual volunteerism is here to stay. We are in the process of developing team give-back projects that incorporate a combination of in-person and remote contributions over time.

To learn more about the progress we’re making to power a more inclusive future through CSR, visit our Cisco ESG Reporting Hub, where you can read our 2021 Cisco Purpose Report.

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