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Travelers Insurance Revs Up Performance

November 18, 2001
Over the last few years, Travelers Insurance has learned that building competency management into performance reviews and training can pay dividends. The Hartford, Connecticut-based financial services company, a division of Citigroup, has engineered a highly focused strategy for developing, managing, and retaining talent. "By creating a solid skills-management model, we have been able to provide the right training for the right people," says Laura McSweeney, second vice president of technology.

Given the organization's more than 2,500 employees, that was no simple task. The HR department began by brainstorming about a competency-management process. It then developed a pilot program and started the process of identifying a system that could manage the task. During a previous merger with Aetna Property Capital, a paper-based system had nearly collapsed under its own weight, notes Cheryl Kozak, second vice president of human resources. After reviewing various products, the group selected SkillView's enterprise solution for skills management.

Today, employees use a self-assessment tool to enter data into the system. Then managers review the data and conduct their own assessment. HR then compares employees' skill-level data against a rating system based on a particular job or role within the organization and generates a report that shows any gaps. The SkillView system lets managers and employees click on an icon related to a particular activity or skill in order to see where they are and what courses they need to achieve a certain competency level.

"The key to success is defining the roles and expectations up front and building a system that provides a clear snapshot of skills," Kozak says. "Once the foundation is in place for measuring and tracking skills, it's possible for employees to follow a career path and a company to realize gains. Skills management increases productivity and produces results."