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MSA Safety Slices Tuition Assistance Processing Time in Half

A global leader in safety, MSA’s core products include self-contained breathing apparatus, fixed gas and flame detection systems, portable gas detection instruments, industrial head protection products, fire and rescue helmets, and fall protection devices. With more than 1,700 employees eligible for education assistance, MSA pays out more than $700,000 annually in reimbursements.

TuitionManager has definitely made everyone's life easier.

Kimberly Helmick

Talent Acquisition Coordinator

The Challenge

MSA has a rigorous application process. First, the employee seeking education assistance must complete an enrollment application. This application details the education program the employee wants to pursue. Once submitted, the HR department holds a meeting where the employee, talent acquisition coordinator, director of HR, HR business partner, and the employee's manager are in attendance. In that meeting, they discuss the employee's career path and the details of the chosen education program. After being accepted into the program, the employee needs to complete a reimbursement application for each semester of school that must be reviewed and approved at several administrative levels.

"The objective of the application process," explains talent acquisition coordinator Kimberly Helmick, "is to ensure that everyone receiving assistance is getting an education that is aligned with their career goals."

The challenge was that MSA was using an application and reimbursement system based on Lotus Notes. This 30-year-old database application had a significant limitation: only employees with (company) email addresses could submit their applications online. Hourly employees, who don't have email addresses, had to submit paper applications.

Additionally, Lotus Notes had insufficient reporting capabilities. "We weren't able to pull the data that we needed to present to the executive leadership team," laments Kimberly. "When we did produce reports, it took a lot of manual work."

The Solution

MSA began with an Internet search to find a solution. They considered outsourcing the program to one of the companies they found, but they wanted to be able to administer it onsite. Then, MSA came across TuitionManager. They had a conversation with the team at HostedHR and were impressed with what the platform could do at such a reasonable cost.

Most importantly for MSA, TuitionManager eliminates the need for paper documentation, the use of a standalone database, and the manual process of creating reports. And, because it's a web-based solution, employees and everyone involved in the approval process can access TuitionManager from any computer or mobile device.

"Implementation went smoothly for us," says Kimberly. "The HostedHR team was very patient with us. They provided us with a test site so that we could test a bunch of scenarios just to make sure we were ready to go live. When we found an issue, it was fixed right away. And, we met our launch deadline."

The Results

The TuitionManager platform is a huge upgrade from MSA's Lotus Notes Database. As such, it brought with it a range of positive results.

Sliced the Education Assistance Application Processing Time in Half

"Before TuitionManager, we had to manually respond to requests from employees about the status of their application," shares Kimberly. "Now, we don't have to spend time figuring out the status of their application and sending employees update emails. They can simply log into TuitionManager and see for themselves. Not having to communicate back and forth through email has cut the amount of time we spend on applications in half."

Additionally, TuitionManager serves as a valuable resource of information. MSA is able to place on the platform their customized program policy as well as help guides for employees to use. That means fewer requests for information and help coming from employees. And, that translates into less administrative work.

Easier and More Meaningful Reporting

Compared to manually cobbling together reports from Lotus Notes, reporting with TuitionManager is a breeze. "We routinely receive requests from upper-level management for reports regarding budgeting and information such as who's in the program and what education they are pursuing," explains Kimberly. "Now, we can provide that information with a click of a button."

When asked what she would say to other organizations considering TuitionManager as a solution, Kimberly replied, "I absolutely recommend TuitionManager. If you have any doubts about its capabilities, just discuss them with the HostedHR team. They will address all of your concerns and accommodate your needs."

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