Best Places spotlight: Nationwide arms IT pros for new tech challenges

IT staffers get plenty of training, teamwork and encouragement at the No. 28-ranked company on our 2013 Best Places to Work in IT list.

Jacob Bennett's work routine at Nationwide includes "gemba walks," brief visits with colleagues or teams to talk about ideas or problem-solve. Nationwide IT staffers also have regular "huddles," where teams get together to talk about what's working and what's not. And every other week there's a Teaching Thursday, when Bennett and his colleagues can spend two hours attending classes offered by co-workers or use that time to study for other classes.

IT staffers at CSX
IT staffers Jacob Bennett, Melanie Kolp, Michael J. Richardson, Shalini Sathyanarayana and Marcia Jones. Credit: Tom Griffin / Nationwide.

A requirements analyst at the Columbus, Ohio-based insurer, Bennett says IT team members put that training to good use when they work on major initiatives like updating legacy systems or deploying mobile applications for customers and agents. "There's a diversity of work," he says, and that work takes place in an encouraging and supportive atmosphere.

A variety of factors contribute to the IT department's positive environment, says executive vice president and CIO Mike Keller.

For one thing, the company has undertaken a number of technology projects aimed at transforming the business, and those projects present fresh challenges to Nationwide's nearly 5,000 internal IT professionals. And the corporate culture emphasizes collaboration, integrity and career development.

Keller says it's all aimed at creating a place where people can do their best work -- and that's a philosophy that permeates the entire company.

Next: Spotlight: No. 30-ranked Cancer Treatment Centers of America puts IT careers on track

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