Cisco Systems Reviews

Updated October 23, 2014
Updated October 23, 2014
5,148 Reviews
3.6
5,148 Reviews
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Cisco Systems Chairman & CEO John T. Chambers
John T. Chambers
3,598 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Cisco does a wonderful job of allowing its employees a superb work-life balance (in 630 reviews)

  • It is very flexible environment where most people can work from home if they desire (in 352 reviews)


Cons
  • No part-time options for professionals wanting work-life balance while raising a family (in 182 reviews)

  • If you want some short term real good big company experience it is a good place to be (in 165 reviews)

More Highlights

214 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Too many subcontractors and vendors, no accountability

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - IT Project Manager in Milpitas, CA
    Current Employee - IT Project Manager in Milpitas, CA

    I have been working at Cisco Systems as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Flexible work/life balance due to the remote work environment

    Cons

    There are too many sub-contractors/vendors and the employees don't do much so there's no real accountability or ownership. In short there are way too many people doing duplicate work and no work at all. There is no innovation on the IT side and it's surprising how behind the systems are for a Silicon Valley IT company.
    This company is political and employees/subcontractors that should be let go are protected from layoffs.
    No one seems to be able to keep up with email or respond yet people complain about the amount of meetings...if you don't like meetings then why not respond to an email.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The CIO really needs to hire one vendor to do the Oracle IT project which will force accountability and communication from one source. This would cut the cost tremendously because I don't think upper management realizes how over-staffed some teams are and how little people they actually need to do the work currently being done.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Worst company culture ever!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Cisco Systems as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    No one will notice if you don't get any work done as long as you're in by 10 and out by 5.

    Cons

    Zero growth, zero work culture. Had things stolen from my desk repeatedly and microwave was beyond usable because people don't have proper kitchen etiquette. They literally give no snacks/drinks for free. Everyone's satisfied with their comfortable, stagnant jobs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Overall solid technology company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Cisco Systems (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Sales driven technology company with deep pockets and expansive product line

    Cons

    Too focused on quarterly results and bloated product lines that overlap and don't integrate well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need to return to entrepreneurial and innovative culture by bringing in new leadership from the outside to tear down the silos. Also need to set realistic sales goals both internally and to the street and return the focus on its strengths - stop trying to be everything to everyone.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Manager
    Former Employee - Manager

    I worked at Cisco Systems full-time

    Pros

    Friendly 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.

    Cons

    Cisco 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 ManagementAdvice

    Tried 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."

  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Past its prime - there are better investments for your time

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Manager in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Manager in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Cisco Systems full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Manager 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 ManagementAdvice

    Stop 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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Get it in writing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Manager in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Program Manager in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Cisco Systems full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good 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.

    Cons

    management 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 ManagementAdvice

    What 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Operations Manager
    Former Employee - Operations Manager

    I worked at Cisco Systems full-time

    Pros

    Lots 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.

    Cons

    No 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 ManagementAdvice

    It'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?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Completely incompetent and oblivious management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Milpitas, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Milpitas, CA

    I have been working at Cisco Systems full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

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

    Cons

    When 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 ManagementAdvice

    Get 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Boring but stable company, horrible HR

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Vice President in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Vice President in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Cisco Systems full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Cisco 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.

    Cons

    HR 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 ManagementAdvice

    Replace HR leadership.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Quickly becoming a dinosaur

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Vice President/General Manager in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Vice President/General Manager in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Cisco Systems full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    some pockets of innovation - but few and far between

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get current, take some risk, and stop overpaying sr execs who do little or nothing

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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