The Next Generation of Tech Innovators: insights from Marius Clapon, Head of IT Delivery @MassMutual Romania

The Next Generation of Tech Innovators: insights from Marius Clapon, Head of IT Delivery @MassMutual Romania

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, organizations find themselves in a relentless pursuit of innovation, constantly on the lookout. The backbone of this innovation is, without a doubt, the tech talent that drives it. As demand for skilled professionals increases, organizations are tasked with not only attracting but also retaining the brightest minds.
In this interview, Marius Clapon, Head of IT Delivery at MassMutual Romania, shares his insights on the multifaceted approach needed to cultivate a thriving tech environment, providing a unique glimpse into the heart of MassMutual Romania and the future of tech industry, offering valuable advice for those aspiring to make their way in the tech world. As Head of IT Delivery, Marius coordinates delivery needs across all functions. He is more than a technologist; he is a visionary leader whose insights and strategies have been instrumental in steering the company through the rapidly evolving tech landscape.
MassMutual Romania is a technology partner of MassMutual, a leading financial services company in the U.S., with a legacy of more than 170 years. Established in 2020, the Romanian company is building an in-house team passionate about technology and innovation. With expertise in software development, data science and a wide range of technologies, offices in Bucharest and Cluj, and team members across the country, MassMutual Romania develops technological solutions that help MassMutual accelerate its digital capabilities and enable it for the next stage of growth in the digital-first world.

1. How can technology businesses build access and retain tech talent as demand heats up?

As the cycles of demand alternate between peaks and valleys, the expectations of the employees looking for a change continues to evolve and that drives the way companies present themselves to the market with a value proposition to swing best talent in their favor.
 
It’s an increasingly competitive environment in which we are operating. Companies need to differentiate themselves and to put forward a value proposition that presents a long-term vision for the employees. I would start with culture, which is fundamental for the way companies attract the best talent in any market, not just IT. For us, ever since we started the company, we agreed that if we don’t have the right culture, we will not be able to build the right company. It starts with being honest and genuine, by actually caring about what we do, every day, not just at the beginning of the project but all throughout and into production. Then, shifting some of the status quo away from the “HOW” and more onto the “WHAT”, the “WHY” and the “WHO”. We want to feel connected to the mission and the vision of the company; we need to understand what it is that we are doing before we even start doing it. We need to understand how this connects to the business agenda at large. Lastly, understanding who is it that we are helping, is it a colleague from a certain department, the end-customer of the company, or are we rethinking the way the company does business. Having a lot of clarity along these lines is paramount.
 
Another part are the benefits that stretch beyond the compensation package. In order to achieve that, we create a benefits package that really resonate with the needs of our employees. It’s not about ticking some boxes but about understanding how they will add value for our colleagues.
Providing growth opportunities is also an important aspect when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. At MassMutual Romania, we are strong believers that people actually develop into the role, and it is important that they take control over their career progression. This is why we are actively providing our colleagues with the tools they need to be successful and grow professionally. Besides offering training, coaching, and mentorship opportunities, we provide access to online learning platforms while also collaborating with various training providers to offer customized programs tailored to the specific needs of our team. We are constantly identifying the development needs of our employees, in line with technological developments and market requirements and we promote a culture of continuous learning.
 
Lastly, having a sense of purpose and creating purpose in your work is crucial. What is it that we are doing? We are not just writing lines of code, we are changing the way the company does business, we are preparing the company for the digital-first future that we live in. We take a lot of pride in this kind of mission, so having all of our colleagues identifying with the larger purpose is another key part to retaining talent.

2. What strengths do you think are the most important in order for someone to work for MassMutual Romania?

On the technical front we always make sure that we have the best talent in our team, but there is a lot more that goes beyond the technical side. Having the right attitude is especially important – we want colleagues that are team players, value honesty, integrity, and trust, listen before they react, help the person next to them and are there when it matters the most. Our colleagues are curious by nature, and we know that curiosity drives innovation, go the extra mile, and keep us current with all the latest technologies.
Plan for the long term – this is one of the reasons for why I chose MassMutual Romania, as the company always plans for the long term. This allows us to make the right decisions and get better results. Having a vision for the future not only helps you not to settle for the next milestone, but it also encourages you to bring your best self to work.
Another important strength is to stay balanced. We often alternate between enthusiasm and energy as the main driving force each day, but don’t let one suppress the other, because they are supposed to complement each other. Don’t take uncalculated risks and make sure that your energy level is always there to back you up.
Lastly, and just as important as all the rest, we are always looking for team players. We believe that we succeed as one. No single individual will manage to go the distance on their own, but together we can, and that is important. Our focus is on building high-performance teams and putting the right people in place, with the right skills, that also complement and support each other. We understand the importance of being there for each other, knowing that true collaboration brings better outcomes.

3. Do you have any advice for aspiring tech people who want to grow in the tech industry?

I see a lot of energy in the newer generations of IT professionals and my advice to them would be to never stop learning. Continue to better yourselves and to learn something new each day! Stay updated on emerging technologies, trends, and best practices. Embrace a curious mindset as curiosity drives innovation and helps you stay adaptable in a rapidly changing industry. The pace of change will never be slower than it is today so be ready to pivot and to evolve. Explore everything with a beginner’s mind, as it will help you boost the level of creativity that you bring to the table. Better yourself and make sure that you always add to what you are.
Also, don’t fear failure, but rather see it as an opportunity to learn and improve. I have never seen any IT projects that went smoothly from beginning to end, there are always things that we need to correct, to redesign, so failure is part of the game. The only scenario where failure is bad, is the one where we don’t learn from it. Many successful tech professionals have faced setbacks on their journey to success, so embrace challenges as opportunities and always strive to improve in this dynamic field.
Lastly, I would say, don’t underestimate the importance of soft skills like communication, teamwork, and adaptability. Tech projects often require collaboration, and effective communication is crucial for success. Tech projects are the intersection of many capabilities, many personalities, so it’s important that you know how to navigate this.
By fostering a culture of learning, flexibility, and teamwork, organizations can not only attract but retain the innovators who are shaping the future of technology. For aspiring tech professionals, embracing continuous learning, curiosity and resilience paves the way for a rewarding career in this dynamic industry.

Watch the interview here:

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