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Cisco Partners Share Top Three Talent Challenges

November 18, 2008 - 2 Comments

We’ve all read that some companies are shedding jobs rather than creating them right now, but Cisco Partners have told us repeatedly that attracting, developing and retaining talent remains a top priority for them. As far back as 2006, partners were starting to tell us that talent management was shifting from being an expense of doing business to a strategic business driver.At our annual gathering of partners, Partner Summit, in April, the theme came up again as our channel partner talent survey revealed that 48 percent of partners were finding the hiring of technical talent and 34 percent the hiring of sales talent ‘difficult’. At the time, Celia Harper-Guerra, senior director, partner talent acquisition program at Cisco, presented a holistic Cisco partner talent strategy aimed at helping partners address those challenges, including the launch of the Cisco Partner Talent Network.Six months on, at last week’s Cisco Channel Exchange in Lisbon, Portugal, we caught up with Celia again and asked her how the talent needs of partners have evolved since April, and specifically whether talent recruitment and retention remains a priority in the current economic environment. The results of Celia’s updated research were surprising, as this video interview shows.

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  1. One of the key indicators to retaining talent is developing your employees and providing career paths. Partners do have the opportunity to use a formal mentoring program that Cisco has provided. We have the TSS (Technology Solution Specialist) program which pairs up a system engineer from Cisco with a system engineer at a partner. They work together building a relationship and a development plan for the partner systems engineer. In addition, Cisco is launching a new program this month; The Professional Career Accelerator, which is designed to provide development to build a partners' employees business acumen skills. In this program, we have a component of mentoring and coaching. Cisco provides best practices on retaining talent and building high performing teams on our talent portal for partners to use and deploy within their business. The key to a successful business is to have fully engaged employees. This means a business must invest in their employee value proposition and create the right work environment. Having a talent management strategy focused on three core elements, first listening to your employees, second a culture of development and third a rewards program. Lastly, all of this must be embraced by strong leadership.Please share any other thoughts or recommendations. Look forward to the outlook in the coming months.ThanksCelia Harper-Guerra

  2. @Celia - I'll be interested to see another video from you in March '09. Truly challenging times.Re #3 in the 3-part holistic channel talent mgt approach you spoke about - etaining top performers"".Are channel partners using formal (and informal) career