Midcontinent Media Cuts Time-to-Fill in Half

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Sunday, November 1, 2009
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Founded as a chain of movie theaters in the 1930s, Midcontinent Media has grown to become a highly successful, multifaceted organization. Today, the company's Midcontinent Communications division delivers digital telephone, cable television and high-speed Internet service to more than 200,000 customers in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Its Midco Call Center division provides high-quality inbound call processing and order entry to leading catalog merchants.

To support its commitment to great customer service, Midcontinent Media must attract and retain skillful employees who have positive attitudes. But until recently, the company's slow, paper-based hiring process made it difficult to find exactly the right people for the right jobs. Hiring managers waited days to get requisitions approved, then waded through stacks of applications and resumes. The company struggled to identify and hire the most qualified applicants before they accepted jobs elsewhere -- a serious concern due to the low unemployment rates in the Dakotas. And hiring managers lacked an efficient way to store and share information about promising candidates.

"We needed a more centralized hiring process to support hiring managers," says Tara Klatt, project manager for human resources at Midcontinent Media. "We thought that an integrated recruiting solution would be the right answer for us -- and we were correct. Today, we use our solution as the foundation for continually improving the way we find and onboard employees."

Dramatic Improvement in Time-to-Fill

In 2006, Midcontinent Media completely transformed its hiring process by implementing a recruiting solution with configurable workflow capabilities. ADP's VirtualEdge Professional recruiting solution enables Midcontinent Media to follow a hiring process that begins and ends with the company's recruiters, saving time for managers. First, hiring managers and recruiters work together to develop a requisition before routing it for approval. Once a job is listed, applicants can apply and answer screening questions online. The recruiter provides the hiring manager with a pool of pre-qualified candidates and helps schedule interviews.

"In the past, approving a requisition could take up to several days," says Klatt. "Now, most are approved in less than a day. We saw similar time savings at every step of the process. Within a few weeks of launching our solution, we cut our processing time in half and significantly improved our time-to-fill."

Staying Engaged -- and Saving Time

Inspired by its success in the recruiting process, Midcontinent Media realized that its onboarding process would also benefit from a more user-friendly, automated approach. The company decided to enhance its onboarding process with ADP's VirtualEdge Salute module. With Salute, new hires can go online to fill out many required forms and learn about Midcontinent Media's mission, goals, leadership and departments. Midcontinent Media's streamlined onboarding process helps keep new hires excited about their new jobs.

"Even in the depths of the recession, unemployment is under 6 percent in many areas we serve," says Klatt. "Our new employees often have other options, so we want to reinforce the fact that they made the right decision."

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Meanwhile, Midcontinent Media's recruiters and staffing professionals are spending less time on manual tasks. Data entry takes a fraction of the time it once did -- especially because data from the hiring process integrates with HR and payroll processes.

"Data entry for a group of 35 new hires might have taken one person a couple of days in the past," says Klatt. "Now, moving all the data takes about 10 minutes. Spending less time on data entry allows us to put more energy into supporting our managers and employees."

Since transforming its recruiting and onboarding processes, Midcontinent Media has dramatically reduced the time it spends filling open positions. "Just within the recruiting department, we're spending at least two hours less per hire," says Klatt. "Considering we hire about 600 people per year, our time savings add up. Of course, the real benefit comes from being able to find the right people our organization needs to succeed."


Organization: Midcontinent Media 

Headquarters: Minneapolis 

Primary Business: Telecommunications, providing digital telephone, cable television and high-speed Internet service to more than 200,000 customers in the upper Midwest.

HR Challenge: Midcontinent Media needed to move from slow, paper-based hiring to a more automated, online process that significantly reduces time-to-fill.

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