MassMutual's IT modernization effort has required the company to recruit and retain a new kind of IT professional — one with an ability to think across disciplines, with a solid business acumen and with flexibility to handle changing roles within the IT group. In addition, the carrier faces increased competition for top IT talent both inside and outside the insurance vertical.
MassMutual's HR department has played a key role on both fronts and demonstrated an ability to partner with the IT group. "HR is sitting at the table with the IT folks and looking at the strategy and looking at the people implications of all those strategies, and then partnering with business heads and their managers in making sure that we have all of the talent we need in order to deliver on those strategies," says MassMutual second VP for HR Deb Wojcik. As the company has evolved during the current modernization effort, so too has how the HR department evaluates current and potential IT team members. "What we were finding was that projects, to be successful, required far more than the technical competency," explains Wojcik.
The new way of thinking has led MassMutual to put a greater emphasis on collaborative skills and other specific business-focused behaviors when interviewing potential employees and evaluating current workers. According to Wojcik, approximately 50 percent of IT performance evaluations, for instance, center around these behaviors. "We want to make sure that they have these attributes that are going to carry that [technical] skill set to the next level in what we need to be successful with the work that we have going forward," she says.
(Also see main article: "MassMutual Looks to Modernize.")