Cisco Systems
3.5 of 5 4,202 reviews
www.cisco.com San Jose, CA 5000+ Employees

Cisco Systems Reviews

Updated Apr 13, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.5 4,202 reviews

                             

74% Approve of the CEO

Cisco Systems Chairman & CEO John T. Chambers

John T. Chambers

(3,035 ratings)

75% of employees recommend this company to a friend
4,202 Employee Reviews
in

Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "The work life balance is better compare to many of the start-ups"
    in 416 reviews
  • "It is very flexible environment where most people can work from home if they desire"
    in 246 reviews
Cons:
  • "Cisco leadership encourages employees to attain an equitable work/life balance"
    in 134 reviews
  • "The result is a dilution of culture and a race towards big company mediocrity"
    in 126 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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Overall solid technology company

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Cisco Systems for more than 10 years

ProsSales driven technology company with deep pockets and expansive product line

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

Advice to Senior ManagementNeed 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.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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

Operations Manager (Former Employee)

I worked at Cisco Systems full-time

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

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Get it in writing

Program Manager (Former Employee)
San Jose, CA

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

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

Manager (Former Employee)

I worked at Cisco Systems full-time

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."

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Past its prime - there are better investments for your time

Senior Manager (Former Employee)
San Jose, CA

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

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

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Careful with your expectations

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Cisco Systems full-time for more than 10 years

ProsStable company with decent benefits.

ConsI've been with Cisco well over 10 years and have seen the environment get worse and worse. Many of the comments here are flat out WRONG if you are in development (at least in my group).

Cisco is rolling out Agile, but in a non-sensical manner. Worst of all, they have manipulated / misrepresented this Agile adoption to the rest of the company. As a result, this dysfunctional version of Agile is being adopted in other groups as well.

- Work/life balance is paid lip service, but is NOT a priority. The Agile construct gives them an excuse to try and get people to work extra hours on a consistent basis.

- Work from home is not encouraged in my group, nor even allowed for most people. This seems strange coming from Cisco that creates infrastructure encouraging such an environment. Note again, this is a by-product of the dysfunctional Agile, and does not apply to all groups.

- Compensation is mediocre at best, though as mentioned, at least you don't worry about your paycheck bouncing.

- Cisco has mandatory PTO over the holidays every year. So while on paper, you get 4 weeks PTO, in reality you lose nearly a full week to the mandatory shutdown. This is one of the cheesiest moves I've seen a company make.

In a nutshell, if you are applying for a position at Cisco, and they tell you they are Agile... Just walk away.

Advice to Senior ManagementGet rid of the mandatory PTO. Other than that, you're screwed anyway, if such a blatantly false representation of Agile can get pushed through without someone screaming. That means you have management that only cares about advancement, not the actual work.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Completely incompetent and oblivious management

Senior Program Manager (Current Employee)
Milpitas, CA

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

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

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Boring but stable company, horrible HR

Vice President (Former Employee)
San Jose, CA

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

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

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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

I have been working at Cisco Systems full-time for more than 5 years

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

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Quickly becoming a dinosaur

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

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

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

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