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How Prudential Annuities CIO sparks talent transformation

Sharon Florentine | Dec. 8, 2015
Prudential Annuities vice president and CIO Glenn Siegmund was proud of his organization's successful multiyear IT maturation and modernization initiative. But something was still missing -- engagement. Here's how he implemented a roadmap to retain and attract elite IT talent.

Even as the demand for technical talent increases, supply remains tight, especially with the explosion of digital, mobile and Internet of Things. Prudential Annuities is going through similar transformational shifts as other insurance companies as they grow their digital and mobile capabilities, Siegmund says, and that means they're competing for the same limited talent pool.

In addition, the trend toward buying big data, data analytics and data management solutions instead of building them in-house has made certain skills like data stewards, data scientists and integration engineers much more mission-critical and thus, harder to find than they used to be. Finally, he says that insurance companies have a difficult time recruiting younger IT talent, since it doesn't have the flashy allure of Silicon Valley start-ups and mobile app development companies.

"We want to be to a leading-edge technology business, and a place where innovative ideas are rewarded; we know retaining our existing talent and attracting new talent is at the center of how we're going to do that. I was looking at a great team who knew how to do their jobs, but they didn't feel they had the agency or the individual buy-in to get their ideas heard. We had to emphasize a commitment to continuous employee engagement and talent development that directly aligns to the strategic goals of the business," Siegmund says. 

That involved creating a leadership team with stakeholders from Prudential AIT, human resources and the recruiting and sourcing organizations, as well as their direct reports -- the mid-level management -- and then one more tier below that, Siegmund says, to make sure that everyone had a voice and bought into the direction he wanted to go.

He also held information sharing sessions to make sure that strategic imperatives and directions were clear, and that everyone involved felt that they had a stake in the outcome.

The Fifth Dimension

Siegmund used Prudential AIT's transformation roadmap as a guide when developing the talent transformation plan; it's anchored in a four-dimensional model by which an IT supplier becomes first a solution provider, then a strategic partner and finally an innovative anticipator of organizational needs. Siegmund and the Prudential Annuities leadership team then added a fifth dimension of “people and climate,” that further enables the other four dimensions.

This included the creation of a full-time IT organizational strategy (ITOS) leadership position, whose job it is to maintain the strategy and ensure organizational change and communication are aligned with the greater business strategy, he says. There's also a major emphasis on skill building for existing employees, and an Innovation Campaign, where innovative ideas and improvements are provided by employees and reviewed by senior leadership for implementation. 


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