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Time Warner Cable and SHL: Transforming the Hiring Process

This is part of a special advertising section featuring case studies offering solutions to HR technology challenges.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
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Time Warner Cable is the second-largest cable operator in the United States, with locations in 28 states -- primarily in the Carolinas, the Northeast, New York, Texas, the Midwest, southern California and Hawaii. As of Sept. 30, 2010, TWC serves more than 14.4 million customers nationwide. No longer just a cable company, TWC has evolved into a full-service telecommunications company, employing more than 47,000 people. The size and geographic diversity of the organization presents many challenges for talent-management professionals within TWC. Facing that reality, along with the contact-center industry's traditionally high turnover rates, human resources recognized that current recruiting and hiring processes needed some changes.

The story of the hiring-process transformation begins in 2006. Picture 32 divisions run independently, utilizing about 30 different assessment vendors, inconsistent use of assessments, and no documented measurement or results. Tasked with empowering TWC to gain an advantage in a highly competitive market, the talent-management group focused on the goals of increasing revenues by improving quality of hire to drive customer experience and sales performance and early identification of talent with readiness to perform on the job, and reducing costs by driving down turnover in staffing, training and production, creating efficiencies within HR processes through national collaboration of tools and processes, and avoiding legal implications through valid and consistent tools.

To achieve their goals, TWC needed to consolidate and standardize, so they created initiatives to streamline vendors, negotiate national accounts, and roll out pre-employment assessments for the most critical positions first. Following a competitive RFP process, the head of employee relations made the final choice to use SHL for assessments based on the range of validated content, business outcomes studies and scalability.

Among the objectives for the initiative were: consistent usage and standardization of an assessment process; objective measurement to help process over 350,000 applicants per year; quick identification of high-potential candidates based upon defined competencies for each job role; and a reduction in turnover for high-volume lines of business.

Once the decision was made, the talent-management team knew they would still need to prove the worth of the tools to convince managers to use them, as no locations would be required to implement assessments.

The team then developed a three-step strategy, starting with a grassroots effort targeting recruiters, as they were working with systems on a daily basis. Secondly, they worked with managers to clearly understand the spectrum of business needs. And last, they created a demo site to offer exposure to the program. "We chose the Carolinas for the pilot location because we felt there would be major impact, and the first adopters would advertise to others internally when it was successful," explains David Ivester, a manager of recruitment technologies. "We also focused on high volume, nonexempt positions -- customer-service representatives, cable technicians and sales representatives. Our initial results clearly showed the ROI we were looking for: 16-percent increased retention among customer-service representatives, and a 25-percent reduction in turnover among technicians. This news helped our adoption rate tremendously."

Reduction of turnover was not the only positive business impact. Measurements of performance -- such as Average Handle Time -- showed equally solid results. The quality-of-hire statistics showed those candidates passing the assessment with higher scores were rated higher by their managers. Janet Manzullo, vice president of talent acquisition, states: "We need knowledgeable leaders and skilled employees supporting our mission and practicing our values. Now that we've shown the value of using assessments, all locations are now using one or more of the SHL tests."

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In order to best communicate the results, the TWC team then developed an approach to show value to their business leaders. Their advice to other organizations: Integrate systems as quickly as possible to minimize recruiter time spent on administration of assessments. Look at the data which is available; don't wait for the perfect outcome data. Conduct concurrent validation studies, as this is the single fastest way to show impact on job performance. If you don't have data available for a scorecard or performance metric, have managers rate that metric. Longer-term, analyze performance and turnover by location to show the broader impact of the assessment.

HIGHLIGHTS

Organization: Time Warner Cable

Headquarters: New York

Primary business: Provider of video, high-speed data and voice services in the United States, connecting more than 14 million customers to entertainment, information and each other.

 

HR Technology Challenge: The size and geographic diversity of the organization presents many challenges for talent-management professionals within TWC. Facing that reality, along with the contact-center industry's traditionally high turnover rates, human resources recognized that current recruiting and hiring processes needed some changes.

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