Telling Its Diversity & Inclusion Story to Retain and Recruit Top Talent


Cisco Systems recognized the need to formalize its D&I program to continue to recruit and retain the best employees. Past Diversity efforts failed as executives didn’t understand the business case or benefits of a diverse workforce.

In addition, members of the Diversity team had different interpretations of what D&I meant in the organization. As a result, current and prospective employees didn’t hear the story in an impactful way and didn’t feel Cisco valued Diversity, which posed a clear threat to the company’s leadership position.


Cisco engaged The Grossman Group to help tell its Diversity story. We developed a strategic messagemap and gained alignment from the D&I team as well as key executives. The Grossman Group also created an internal branding theme that reinforced the core messages in a high-impact way and that aligned with the company’s external brand.

As a result of a creative and compelling internal brand and strategic messaging, the importance of Diversity to the bottom line is more broadly known at Cisco. Executives immediately began telling the D&I story with greater alignment (using a core presentation developed for internal and external audiences). The core messages also were integrated into the work of other functional areas, including Human Resources, to more consistently tell the story for current and prospective employees.