Sparton Electronics, a $382,000,000 corporation based in Schaumberg, Illinois, is a provider of complex electromechanical devices with capabilities that include concept development, industrial design, design and manufacturing engineering, production, distribution and field service. The primary market classifications served are navigation and exploration, defense and security, medical, and complex systems. Sparton offers its customers development, design, manufacturing and distribution capabilities in a highly collaborative environment.
Corporate metrics indicated that the Brooksville facility had a time to hire metric, which was out of the stated range for time to hire for the corporation as a whole, resulting in higher costs in the way of productivity, overtime and management being taken away from the delivery of end products to customers. Additionally, the extended time to hire resulted in higher cost outlays due to the need for increased usage of outside recruiters.
While the six-sigma methodology was implemented within the Sparton Electronics operations in various other areas, the HR function at Brooksville had not fully implemented the methodology to the HR service function.
A six-sigma team was developed at the Brooksville facility consisting of the HR manager, the quality manager, several members of the HR department and one of their internal customers. The team was charged with determining the exact time to hire and to determine ways to lower the overall hire time as well as to lower the cost of hire to the corporation.
The Define Stage
The six-sigma team began the project by constructing a project charter which provided both the team and corporate management with the structure of the effort to resolve the hiring time obstacles. The charter was critical as it defined the scope of the project. It was important because it delineated what was critical to the quality of the hiring process. The scope determination told us that definition of quality did not include non-salaried employees as they were not part of the equation for hiring time.
The charter also explained the metrics that the team would use going forward in the determination of the hiring time metrics. The team determined that there were a trio of major metrics that were critical to the problem at hand. The first was Rolled Throughput Yield, which Wikipedia defines as the probability that a process with more than one step will produce a defect free unit. In this case Sparton wanted to know the probability that the hiring process would fall within the corporate plan. The second metric was that of the Cost of Poor Quality is a look at what costs would disappear from the hiring process if there were no extended hiring period. The final metric was that of capacity/productivity. It is a metric, which looks at the capacity of an organization to produce goods and services.
With the project charter completed and accepted by all the stakeholders the team began the process of completing the first of two process maps of the hiring process. This first map development was to examine the current state of the hiring process. Its purpose was to lay out the steps of the hiring process. The process map provides an eagle’s eye view of the process and has the potential for showing where the gaps are.
Once the gaps became apparent it became critical for Sparton Electronics’ improvement team to decide how the gaps were affecting the process. The next tool utilized by the team is the Ishikawa Fishbone Diagram, which show the cause and effect of the conditions present in the process. The team took into consideration six system conditions, which had a direct return on how fast hires could take place.
The first condition was looking at the role of management. The team discovered that there were three conditions from a management perspective that were present. The first was initially the directions on the job requirements were unclear. The uncertainty led to HR submitting candidates to the hiring managers that did not meet their expectations, delaying the process. The second condition present was that due to demands on their time the hiring managers were not making the review of applications a priority, instead concentrating on other aspects of their position. Attached to the priority of reviewing resumes was their busy schedules made it difficult to schedule interviews in a timely fashion.
The second condition was the people side of the equation. The team knew that there were steps in the process that were totally dependent on HR completing certain tasks in order for the process to continue. The Ishikawa indicated that four factors seemed to be prevalent. The team discovered that one holds up was on the shoulders of the hiring manager not completing the required forms in the recruitment process. HR was slow to complete the forms for them. The Brooksville plant is a relatively small facility and with the HR workload, like the managers side of the Ishikawa fishbone, the team found insufficient time to schedule sourcing time to review and pre-screen candidates. The third cause the team found was like many organization there was a talent shortage for the skills required to fill the jobs and the HR tem was not well-versed in utilizing the candidate search engines on their vendor sites to proactively source qualified candidates. Finally, when interviews were scheduled, those conducting the interviews were not fully prepared.
The third condition was that of equipment or technology. The major factor here was that due to the location of the Brooksville facility there was a less than perfect Internet connection. The plant is located a 90-minute driving distance from the nearest major city so the Internet speeds are less than they would if they were in the Tampa area. The slow Internet speeds caused the review of resumes on the internet sites to be a painfully slow process and the HR team procrastinated on using this method to source candidates.
The fourth condition explored by the team was that of the process itself. The team found that the process was slowing down because it was still being done manually instead of using technology based tools. Further because of this, there was no dedicated resource to complete the sourcing and the level of incoming e-mails from applicants was not being managed. The other cause discovered was that the external sourcing resources were slow in responding with the pool of candidates that might have an interest in the position available. In exploring why, the measurement condition was not adequately it the measurement condition was not adequately met it was determined the evaluation form used to select candidates not an effective measurement tool.
The Measure Stage
As the Sparton Team began to collect data to fain the understanding of the process, they instituted a series of time studies to collect data on the hiring process time line. The team first constructed a detailed hiring activity sheet. The sheet reviewed what actions or steps from the process map were required during the hiring process and paired it with the time requirement in minutes. It considered 24 steps to the process as shown below:
|Action||Time Requirement (Minutes)|
|Post Job Internally||10 minutes|
|Post job externally||15 minutes|
|Source resumes||2 minutes each|
|Forward to Manager for Review|
|Prescreen interview||30 minutes|
|Schedule phone interview with Manager||2 minutes|
|Schedule on-site interview||10 minutes|
|E-Mail candidate confirmation||5 minutes|
|Airline Reservations||45 minutes|
|Plant tour||30 minutes|
|Debrief meeting||15 Minutes|
|Contact candidate with offer||15 minutes|
|Prepare Offer letter||3 minutes|
|E-Mail candidate offer||2 minutes|
|Offer letter Received|
|Schedule drug screen||15 minutes|
|Background check request||10 minutes|
|Pull results||2 minutes|
|Action||Time Requirement (Minutes)|
|Assign ID#/ email manager and trainer||1 minute|
|New hire notification||1 minute|
|Close job folder|
|Record affirmative action data|
In addition, the team created a candidate activity sheet which recorded the date and time the candidate profile was sent to the hiring manager and how long it took the manager to respond to the resume information that was sent to them.
Following the time studies, the team completed a stakeholder analysis in the form of a SIPOC form to identify each player in the process and their contributions. This enabled the team to extend the process map by identifying who contributed what inputs to the process.
The Analyze Stage
Having completed the time studies and the stakeholder analysis, the team began to sort through the data and identify the impact each had on the hiring process. The team discovered through the use of a Pareto chart that the two largest obstacles to an expedited hiring process were the time period from the posting of the job opening to a physical interview (56.6 days) and posting of the job opening to the phone interview (54.4 days) The team then reworked the process map to identify areas of improvement.
The Improvement Stage
The team then laid out the areas of improvement based on the data secured to this point in the process. Using a Pick Chart, the team identified improvements based on whether they a big payoff or a small payoff and easy to implement or hard to implement. The results of this analysis found the following improvement areas:
Big Payoff/Easy to implement Big Payoff/Hard to implement
Work from home on recruiting Create talent pool of candidates
Set dedicated recruiting time Go to agencies sooner
Review agency performance Use talent network internet connection
Establish time limit for manager review Build network
Establish time limit to send to agency Use social media
Review outlook capabilities
Small Payoff/Easy to implement Small Payoff/Hard to implement
Separate resumes into own job folder Referral bonus for external people
Meet with Danielle – Tips and Tricks
Flag resume submissions to manager
Follow up email to manager after 48 hours
Combining the activity sheet with the pick chart the team was able to identify the areas of improvement. These areas of improvement were then categorized based on impact, ease of improvement and cost and then each factor was weighted providing a total score based on 1 to 5 range. This was done using a quality for deployment form. The improvements were breaking down into delays caused by the application process and the manager process.
The team determined that in the application wait process the areas for improvement were separating resumes into their own job folders (3,1,1); greater pool of good candidates (1.4.2); use of a talent network (3,3,1);go to agencies sooner (1,1,5); work from home on recruiting (1,1,1) ; build a network (2,5,3); review agency performance (1,3,1); Danielle Gusser tips and tricks (3,1,2); Redevelop evaluation form for effectiveness (3,1,1); use social media (2,4,3); referral bonuses ( 0)
On the manger wait process the team identified the following areas of improvement using the same 1 to 5 Scale. They began the improvement process by setting a time frame and date to send resumes to the manager (1,1,1); follow up e-mail with manager’s after 48 hours (3,2,1); look at outlook capabilities for follow up for organizational purposes (4,3,2); Give time limit on Sparton sourcing (1,1,1) flag resumes as urgent or high importance (3,1,1).
Having completed the improvement areas, the team re-completed a process map showing the new steps of the hiring process in order to demonstrate the improvements the project presented to the Sparton Electronics team and management at the Brooksville plant.
The Control Stage
After analyzing the data collected, items from the pick chart were implemented and the new process map developed. During that time, the time to fill metric was changed to stop the clock at the signing of the offer letter rather than actual start date. Taking into consideration the reduced target time to fill, from 71 to 59 days, 59 days became the new goal. To effectively measure their improvement the team adjusted the original actual time to fill from 111 days to 97 days.
In Fiscal year 2014, the company filled 12 salaried position with an average time to fill at 97 days. And at an average cost of $5427 per hire. (total average cost of hire of $65,124). Since the implementation of the new process the company has filled 8 salaried positions. The result is an average time to fill of 35 days and an average cost of hire at $1744 (13,952 total average cost of hire). These new data points represent a 64% improvement in time to fill and a 68% decrease in the average cost of hire.