S4 EP49: Connecting the ecosystem of Talent Acquisition, L&D and OD – Christina Parr, Head of Global Talent Acquisition, L&D and OD, Argo Group

“Throughput is really exciting when you connect those three areas, so what does that ecosystem look like?

We make sure we are branching out and seeking underrepresented talent and also talent who have amazing experience. We do that in our acquisition process”, says Christina Parr as she discusses her role of combining talent acquisition, learning & development and organizational development.

“As folks flow into the organization, we’re developing them to grow within the organization regardless of where they happen to come in at from a skill perspective.

And then as we look at the organization and how it’s developing, we have a lot of touch points, that we ask employees from a pulse perspective.”

On the podcast this week, Argo Group’s Head of Global Talent Acquisition, L&D and OD talks about her career journey from high-tech and oil & gas in to insurance.

“With quite a bit of reluctance I came to insurance. And until I really understood what was happening in the future of insurance, Insurtech, fintech, wasn’t all that excited. I love it, it’s addictive.”

Christina talks about the balance between attracting under-represented talent and through referrals.

“I understand now why we tend to talk to a lot of folks who have vast experience in the market. But we also have to keep ourselves in check with that bias because if we get too heavy on referrals, we don’t dig deep for underrepresented talent. It’s easy to fall into just kind of staying with the folks that you’ve known for so long.”

She shares how Argo Group are breaking down inter-departmental siloes, traditions and using data to transform employee engagement.

“We want to try things in different ways. By doing that, I think it makes us far more effective. We partner with a third party who brings us about 10 million data points from around the globe. And we use those benchmarks to compare our employee engagement results.

For the last five surveys, we’ve been going up and up and up, which is quite remarkable as we’ve been going through strategic alternatives.”

Christina highlights the impact of the Brookfield Asset Management acquisition.

“Most people in the organization were eagerly anticipating this transformation.

Once the buy was completed, our executive team not only presented the direction, but more importantly, listened to people.

‘What’s going well, what’s not going well, what do we need to change?’

I very much appreciated that perspective. Values are being revisited to make sure everyone understands that integrity is first.

We are transitioning the business to three towers. Casualty, Financial Lines and Surety, and Specialty Lines. They are in many different business areas and we get to be the arm of Specialty that they otherwise did not have.”

In terms of the impact on the day-to-day, Christina says:

“We have a focus on the right people in the right spots with the right skills. You’ve got to get the big people on the bus before you start going anywhere.

We’ve had some shifts in how our is talent positioned. One out of 10 are getting a promotion in some way, shape or form.

We’ve also been working with our socio-economic employee resource group to make sure that we give plenty of people, a chance to succeed who may not be traditional in their background.

How we then train them, give them the right skills and then we promote them, thereby making the organizational more healthy and sustainable.”

Christina emphasizes how the 8 employee resource groups are working to reduce barriers to entry and expand the prospective talent pool.  

“About a third of our roles do not require a degree now. That’s a big change.

In most companies, you’ve got the requirement for a degree, specialty certifications, Master’s degrees. You can see why unfortunately, we’re not getting underrepresented talent. We’ve worked very hard to start to shift that.”

“We do pride ourselves on bringing in different talent and working hard to make sure that we keep that in line.

One of the ways we do that is as we are interviewing, we make sure we have a panel of people who are varied in their background, in their thinking and their approach. That way we’re not too homogeneous.”

Christina tells leaders coming for interview at Argo to, “Do your research. You would be surprised at the number of people that we say to, ‘Tell us a little bit about what you understand about ARGO? What did you learn when you were researching?’

And even through this process of strategic alternatives, it was surprising to me the number of folks who were completely unaware of what was happening. That’s a bit heartbreaking.”

As advice for fellow people leaders looking to attract insurance talent in a competitive market, Christina says,

“Have a swift, solid process. We also have to make sure we move fast because, in many cases, a person might be looking at many different companies and the first one or two with an offer in gets the advantage.

You have to be very careful how you approach these things without cutting corners.”

When working with an external insurance search partner, Christina seeks a business that will offer insights that she might not be thinking of.

“Someone who says, ‘Hey, heads up, I’m feeling something over here in the market.

Being able to have that kind of insight. It might only be one minute, it might be three minutes.

When someone gives you insights in a bulleted format, it’s extremely helpful. For me as well as serving my clients internally and externally, as well as the team.”

Christina also highlights the tech tools Argo are using to attract, retain and develop insurance talent.

“Having development tools that are what I need right here, right now so that I can skill up and be ready for that next role is critical again to that organizational development that we need.

We want to make sure that we get those skills updated so that we can then not only be ready for today but also the future.”

Connect with Christina Parr on LinkedIn or find out more about Argo Group

The Insurance Coffee House Podcast is hosted by Nick Hoadley, CEO of Insurance Search.

We are a global Insurance Executive Search Consultancy, supporting Insurance and Insurtech businesses to attract and retain the very best insurance talent.

Find out more about showcasing your employer brand as a guest on the Insurance Coffee House Podcast or sign up to our News and Insights.

Copyright Insurance Search 2024 – All Rights Reserved.