Building an exceptional corporate culture is many times no easy task, so at Ciena we are thrilled about our recent Great Place to Work® recognition. It serves as a testament to the commitment of our people--not just their words, but their actions as well--and speaks to our continued focus on creating the right environment with the right action plans to support it.

It’s at times like this that I’m prompted to take a step back and think about our heritage and how far we’ve come in a short space of time. Six years ago, we brought two diverse businesses together when Ciena acquired Nortel MEN. There was a very clear and conscious effort to evolve to a new culture for the combined company and not force-fit one into the other. Investing time and energy into its creation paid dividends, and The Spirit of Ciena Awards that we created at the time – a flagship vehicle that recognises Ciena individuals and their adoption of our values – is still going strong today. Since then we have completed further acquisitions and getting the “people thing” right has always been a priority for us.

"Culture can be perceived as intangible, the ‘secret sauce’ that makes us special – so how do we get beneath the mystery?"

- Jane Hobbs, SVP & Chief Human Resources Officer, Ciena

Knowing what builds our culture and, equally, what has the potential to destroy it is critical to any company’s success. But culture can be perceived as intangible, the ‘secret sauce’ that makes us special – so how do we get beneath the mystery?

Just as we have a financial plan, Ciena also has a people plan. Identifying actions needed to attract, develop, and engage individuals, we track our progress quarterly with our CEO sharing the results at our global all-hands events. And, in 2015, we spoke to over 500 members of the Ciena team globally to understand what they valued about working here, helping us understand our Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

By uncovering the value drivers of individuals, we discovered the essence of Ciena: flexibility, openness, informality and professionalism. This essence is now linked into our ongoing engagement survey and we are embedding it into our policies and processes.

"By uncovering the value drivers of individuals, we discovered the essence of Ciena: flexibility, openness, informality and professionalism."

- Jane Hobbs, SVP & Chief Human Resources Officer, Ciena

As an example of our ‘essence,’ we recognise the value of everyone’s contribution. We look to strengthen our culture of inclusivity in all we do. That’s why in today’s society of extended and blended families, we consciously looked beyond the traditional scope of maternity benefits to include paternal and adopted parental benefits, plus the needs of all caregivers. Fundamental to this was making sure that what we achieved was meaningful and relevant to all individuals at Ciena.

If you want to get a glimpse into what it’s like to be part of the Ciena family, take a look at our new Instagram channel and the impact we’re having on our people and in the communities we live and work.

Just as with our customers, we’re committed to providing a great experience and rewarding outcomes for everyone who works at Ciena.  It’s what makes me proud to be part of the Ciena team.