Cisco Systems

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Cisco Systems Reviews

Updated Jul 25, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.5 4,626 reviews

74% Approve of the CEO

Cisco Systems Chairman & CEO John T. Chambers

John T. Chambers

(3,300 ratings)

75% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good work/life balance (for most) with plenty of tools to help get that done(in 534 reviews)

  • It is very flexible environment where most people can work from home if they desire(in 301 reviews)


Cons
  • No part-time options for professionals wanting work-life balance while raising a family(in 161 reviews)

  • The result is a dilution of culture and a race towards big company mediocrity(in 149 reviews)

194 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

    4 people found this helpful  

    For those who enjoy beating their head against the wall - seriously this ship has sunk - don't warp your mind

    Manager (Former Employee)

    ProsFriendly but overworked individual contributors
    You can buy water if you are thirsty - available in each break room
    Getting rid of most of the teal cubicles for new cozier ones
    No need to be creative - save your mental power - no one would listen or be able to able to make something happen before they rotate or get laid off
    If you make it to Director or VP you don't have to do anything - you get your powerpoiint scripted word for word by your team
    On-site police dept - aka HR
    -Easy to take credit for someone else's work if you have rank
    -If you're a fan of animal farm and hierarchical privileges this is the place for you
    -Work balance if you are a manager
    -Managers will give you development advice, "You just need to use your time more efficiently, "Look do what I'm doing, I'm on the phone with you getting work done while I'm getting a bikini wax." I should have taken the advice, she got promoted to VP and then hired her replacement from outside. Perhaps things would have been different if I had held my WebEx calls from the Spa.

    ConsCisco on your resume will hurt your chances of getting hired elsewhere as it shows poor judgment and a history of talk and no walk
    No raises and since they are management fat will not promote you.
    Undefined performance system and reviews are used to surprise you with reasons why you don't measure up by someone who just met you a few weeks ago since there is such a large churn of managers before reviews - so they don't have to be held accountable for achieving stated goals. I heard this from HR.
    New hires get more than experienced employees since they need to be "bribed" to join Csco
    Ranks get held accountable for the smallest details while VPs make million dollar mistakes regularly
    -Ethical managers will be burned out and bullied
    -Lots of cover-ups going on and paying people to be fall guys - don't believe me then audit revenue recognition
    -Even HR is petty with each other - I heard they hired a therapist there was so much infighting
    -No work life balance if you are an individual contributor
    -boring work
    -inability to collaborate functionally and execute themselves out of a box
    -Reviews are done from a script and zoom in on key words missing context. If you're an expert you can't be a manager or strategic - expertise is reserved for individual contributor but then you can't get promoted because the job you are doing doesn't warrant a higher grade.
    -If you are great at getting things done (aka execution) and you manage several contractors then there's a loophole not to promote you because you actually do some of the work yourself designating you an individual contributor and contractors don't count as real employees so you really aren't managing anyone.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTried that...just got burned.

     A VP once gave me time management advice, "Look do what I'm doing, I'm on the phone with you getting work done while I'm getting a bikini wax."

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Past its prime - there are better investments for your time

    Senior Manager (Former Employee) San Jose, CA

    ProsNew cubicles
    Teambuilding environment - directors sit with team in cubicles
    Cafeteria pretty good
    Develop new skills - maintain your own PC

    ConsManager of the month with all the reorgs
    Nepotism
    More focus on politics than the competition
    Everything requires a meeting - difficult to get decisions made
    Fear based environment
    No raises or promotions
    Pressure to count revenue that isn't legit

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop taking advantage of your employees - please go see how they are living!
    Dozens in an apartment with no furniture in Milpitas
    Change your reward systems - they disrupt collaboration
    Have integrity - hold each other accountable for sketchy moves

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Get it in writing

    Program Manager (Former Employee) San Jose, CA

    ProsGood weather in california
    can work from home
    choose a large department and reduce your chances of getting laid off due to stack ranking or doing much for that matter.

    Consmanagement cant deliver on promises and they make a lot of them
    if you are desperate enough to work csco get whatever is offered to you in writing by a VP because anything else will not be honored. HR will tell you they didn't have authority or that the situation changed.
    Hugely political. Need to be social for recognition.
    No one is willing to make a decision so meeting size keeps getting bigger. You will have the same meeting again when everyone can bring their manager to make the decision. And if they do dial in, they will have to get back to you, which they wont.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWhat are you thinking? Don't be so arrogant, talk to your employees not just lip service. You could do a much better job - hold your peers accountable - you don't have enough lawyers if all the shenanigans are exposed.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Looking more like Agnews every day - not a place for logic or hard work

    Operations Manager (Former Employee)

    ProsLots of nice people and you can make some great friends if you make a little effort. People are lonely and disillusioned so they're lost their drive to reach out. Ranks up through Sr. Mgr have tremendous amount of knowledge and innovative solutions - just no point in articulating them to anyone since red tape and not invented here or the fact that you don't have title makes your idea worthless and invisible.

    ConsNo growth
    Absurd career policy - can only take another job at your grade no matter what it is posted at.
    If you're lucky enough to succeed at demanding a promotion after your employee w/no experience are earning $20k more than you, it could be a cashless promo - meaning a grade change but no base pay raise. You will be dependent on the multiplier your manager of the day gives you for a bonus to see any more cash. Managers get tiny buckets for incentives and they have to make the math work so for everyone that gets something someone has to go negative - creates lovely teamwork, can't trust anyone and there will be a point that you will have to choose between what's right and what's your told to do. Be prepared and it will be career limiting.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIt's not a game of who dies with the most toys - it's peoples lives, health, goodwill, intelligence, children, family and living conditions you're toying with. No wonder the insurance cost, even with Cisco's subsidy, is more than the open market for employees. I pay less for my insurance on open market for my family since I left by a few hundred and less out of pocket, imagine that?

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Completely incompetent and oblivious management

    Senior Program Manager (Current Employee) Milpitas, CA

    ProsGood work/life balance. Bonuses were reasonably good until this year.

    ConsWhen on the same week the company announces a layoff of 5000 employees, you also have the CEO reporting record compensation for himself, it tends to affect motivation within. Cisco has a tendency of putting or promoting under-qualified individuals in key roles. At this point I feel the company is in an irreversible downward spiral. Many executives are jumping ship in the face of Software Defined Networking and the disruption it represents to Cisco's fat margins on its core product line.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet realistic about what is occurring and shake up senior management and the board. Stop relying on the army of foreign workers for innovation as well.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Boring but stable company, horrible HR

    Vice President (Former Employee) San Jose, CA

    ProsCisco is not going away anytime soon. The products are still the plumbing of the internet, regardless of recent marketing campaigns which emphasize other investments. The compensation structure is still competitive out of necessity.

    ConsHR is a complete mess and it has impacted the business. Cisco's current talent has become old and stale which is hurting innovation. Cisco is the technology industry version of the the guy that you went to high school with who was the homecoming king and starting QB who dated the prettiest girls in 1999. Now he is just an average guy in his 30's who is overweight (Revenue per employee) and is trying to buy his youth back with plastic surgery (M&A).

    Advice to Senior ManagementReplace HR leadership.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Quickly becoming a dinosaur

    Vice President/General Manager (Former Employee) San Jose, CA

    Prossome pockets of innovation - but few and far between

    Consslow to transition from largely command line interface products to consumption based mobile cloud business outcomes

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet current, take some risk, and stop overpaying sr execs who do little or nothing

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Looks good on resume if you can take the job long enough to keep it on a resume

    Network Engineer (Current Employee) Research Triangle Park, NC

    ProsGreat people, contributors or non management are usually pretty helpful and great people to work with. You will need this to grow, not get a raise or higher position in the company, but just to grow as an individual. Employees teach each other, all do it yourself style. Not much as far as a how to internally. Work from home, that is a huge plus, but also grants yourself to working longer hours.

    ConsBasically no pay raises. Very hard to get yourself put out there as a great contributor. Usually receive a new manager 1 to 2 months before the yearly review which could give you a raise. Easiest way to say, sorry I dont know how good/bad you are, so no raise this year, again. Tired of always working late and hard work being input and nothing getting out. Looking for a new position in another company. Beware if you request a raise too much with the recent yearly employee head chopping, your head will be on the block pretty quickly. Not enough internal communication is given to employees. Too much money spent on buying new companies when Senior Management turn around, fire 4,000 people and say its to keep our stock holders happy. Funny thing is all full time employees are basically stock holders, so who is really supposed to be the happy ones? Yearly survey is sent out, nothing really done with the bad parts, all meetings skip those questions. Too many meetings about things that have nothing to do with your actual work. Example: IT meeting, all hands. All IT must attend. Basically 2 hours talking about how sales is doing and how the cisco.com home page was created. If you work in the NW team, and never deal with that, it was a wasted 2 hours basically.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWork towards a goal that internal employees can actually see. Stop pushing all these re-orgs after Cisco buys various companies that get sold 2 years later. Acquasitions are usually supposed to help a company not just bring in more employees that can be easily laid off later. Instead of buying a company to get rid of the competition, create something that will help push Cisco higher. The switch/router industry is seeing a major change and I doubt the present Cisco model is ready for it.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Good ole boys manage the company for the most part leaving playground bullies and back stabbing thugs the winners.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) San Jose, CA

    ProsCompetitive Salary and bonus plan although bonuses are rarely paid unless you can walk on water.

    ConsUses Bell Curve to force those rated as lowest are placed on probation or terminated, those in the mid 74% range get patted on the head and told try harder next time, and only those in the top percentile get raises, perks, bonuses, and or promotions. Sounds like a great incentive plan until you realize that out of 100 people every year roughly 14% have to be put on probation and a percentage of those have to be terminated. My former manager is a bigot and sexist so he used his power to drive people out he didn't approve of and with a PC approach to justify his racism and sexist views. Hopefully HR has outed him for what he is and he isn't bullying people anymore. But Crisco promotes these values from my experience and rallys around such people at management levels so work as hard as you may your number will eventually be up, unless you're the Sociopath that can manipulate the system in your favor.

    Advice to Senior ManagementJust say no to the Good ole boy mentality. Just because you may suffer through hazing doesn't justify becoming the hazer.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Voice Technology Group - avoid at all costs

    Program Manager (Current Employee) Boxborough, MA

    ProsThey are supportive about flex time and telecommuting. Paychecks arrive as scheduled.

    ConsThere is no on-boarding. If you need to know about something, (f.e.; auto-deposit payroll vs. commission checks) you're expected to find it on the poorly-indexed corporate website(s). For somethings you can call HR in California. The phone staff was always friendly & the on-hold times were ok. However, even at ok, altogether it'll make for very long first days.

    There is no relocation assistance, so bargain hard for that signing bonus!

    I can only speak from my experiences, but in my opinion - Do not work for this company. Not unless you enjoy being bludgeoned out of your career by small-minded micro-managers. If you have another option, take it. I had options. And I chose Cisco! Dammit.

    Forewarned is forearmed.

    Advice to Senior ManagementQuit valuing your 60% margin over your employees.

    Provide real on-boarding.

    You need to enable employees to give honest (i.e., truly anonymous) feedback of their manager.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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