Cisco pioneers self-service style staff induction

New employees at Internet company Cisco put themselves on the payroll and then order their own mobile phones, business cards and company credit cards in a form of self-service HR.

Once recruited, members of staff log on to Cisco’s “New-Hire Dashboard” and bypass many tasks usually carried out by HR.

Mike Williams, HR director for Cisco Europe, the Middle East and Africa, gave these examples of how personnel will operate in the future at a conference on e-HR last week in London. The company has grown tenfold to 36,000 employees in the past five years, and is the fastest growing company in the history of Nasdaq. Each employee earns the company $379,200 (£260,000).

One of the main lessons Cisco learnt was that HR had to revolutionise processes through IT and business partnership. “You don’t want to mechanise the quill – you want to do something completely different,” he said.

Williams advised HR professionals involved in developing new systems to focus on the needs of the business rather than on making life easier for themselves. Since technology is changing so fast, he said, it was fruitless waiting for the perfect system. “You’ve just got to get in there and do it,” he said.

At Cisco managers can access policy on recruitment, training and development, performance reviews, salary and bonuses online without contacting HR at all.

Williams told delegates at the Linkage International-organised conference that its growth was a result of embedding the Internet in the culture of the firm and HR.

HR professionals had to embrace the Internet if their companies are to survive. As a result their role would become less administrative and more strategic, identifying business needs and developing solutions.

Sixty-one per cent of Cisco’s recruitment is through a web site which allows employees to refer potential recruits.

www.linkageinc.com

By Lisa Bratby

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