Jonathan White, senior director of operations at Liberty IT, talks about pandemic-driven growth at the company and the skills his team is searching for in new recruits.
For many tech companies over the past year, necessity has been the mother of invention – or, in plenty of cases, transformation. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, product and software teams have had to pivot their operations to the virtual world while catering to the increasing digital demands of their customers.
At Liberty IT, the impact the past 12 months has had on customer behaviour is bringing the company closer to more digital channels. To keep up, it’s looking to expand its teams.
“We’re seeing a surge in opportunities in that space and from our customers,” Jonathan White, Liberty IT’s senior director of operations, said. ‘We’re going to be working in partnership with them so that we can really respond to those digital transformation opportunities at speed.
“When you look at the impact of the pandemic on the global economy, we’re feeling extremely fortunate that we’re in a position to be growing,” he added.
Hiring plans for 2021
Liberty IT will be hiring for its tech teams in Dublin and Belfast in the year ahead, and the company is currently looking for experienced software engineers, technical leaders and people for its product function.
The company develops software and services for its parent company – insurance giant Liberty Mutual – and announced plans at the end of last year to grow from 550 people to 700.
As Liberty IT talent manager Emma Mullan told us at the time, it’s a “fast-moving and exciting” industry to be in at the moment as the company is harnessing AI, machine learning, serverless technologies and data science in a bid to improve experiences for customers around the world.
“We’re looking for creative, data-centric people to really help us reimagine the insurance experience, because I think consumer habits have changed dramatically,” White added. “And, you know, the pandemic has gone on for so long that they’re probably permanent changes at this point.
“Over the last year, future-proofing our businesses, homes and even ourselves has been vitally important. And we want to keep delivering those really highly personalised, friction-free customer experiences regarding all of the insurance interactions for our customers.”
What skills do you need to have?
In terms of new hires, White said the company will be looking for applicants from a range of backgrounds and industries.
“I think it continues to be really important to us that we get that diversity of thinking and experience, which naturally brings enhancements to our ability to innovate, both from a technology perspective but also in the ways of working as we continue our digital-enablement journey,” he said.
“That experience on the data science side and consultancy, product development and automation are all becoming more important than ever from a business perspective.
“We’re looking for professionals who have the technical acumen, but also those creative aspects and curiosity. People who can lean into that empathy and work in partnership with our customers and colleagues to really reimagine the insurance experience.”
What to expect from the hiring process
Like most tech companies, Liberty IT moved to remote recruitment and onboarding around a year ago, and White expects this to continue for some time. For that reason, Liberty IT has “invested significantly” in its onboarding experience, he said, in an effort to make it as seamless as possible for new joiners.
The company onboarded more than a hundred new employees remotely in 2020 and 40 so far in 2021. This has allowed the recruitment team to refine the process through feedback, White said, particularly in terms of making new staff feel connected.
“I know our teams are being incredibly creative for people who have joined remotely. It’s really encouraging to hear that despite being remote, they still very much feel part of the teams. And I think that’s testimony to our leadership that they’ve managed to create that environment.”
‘We’re looking for creative, data-centric people’
– JONATHAN WHITE
White added that continuous learning is “something that’s part of the DNA within Liberty IT” and the company has continued to offer on-demand training, virtual conferences and workshops to staff in the last year.
Every few weeks, the whole company also meets for a townhall-style meeting. “That’s really a chance for our senior leadership team to provide a two-way dialogue, really hear what’s on people’s minds with an open Q&A and also a good opportunity to share our direction and also showcase some of the great work that our teams are doing,” White said.
“And that creates a nice level of transparency with new people coming into the organisation as well, to get that connection.”
On the social side, White said that a company-wide event takes place every month. “There’s a cooking class on this week – I don’t know how successful that will be from my perspective, but the family are certainly preparing some alternatives in the likely event that things go wrong!
“Our community groups have continued to be really active throughout this period. We have some fantastic international speakers coming up and our wellbeing group have been running a fitness-tracking challenge, which has been really motivating for everyone and has definitely got the competitive streak out in a lot of people.”
Why Liberty IT?
White reiterated Mullan’s message that it’s an exciting time for the company and new joiners can be a part of that.
“The pandemic has really reinforced how important technology is in both home and work lives,” he said. “Anyone joining Liberty IT can expect to be involved in some really fantastic, transformative projects. So I think for anyone looking to unleash their full potential, we could definitely be a fit for them as part of our growth this year.
“And there are lots of exciting projects coming up. We’ve got some really incredible opportunities to reimagine the whole insurance experience for our customers. And being part of that, as well as the technical challenges, is going to make for an exciting 2021.”
You can learn more about jobs at Liberty IT on the company’s careers portal.