Using VR and the Cloud to Improve Child Welfare Services
Facing a high turnover rate, Indiana's Child Services Department needed to better prepare family case workers for a tough job. It's using VR and the cloud to better support its staff and, ultimately, better look after Indiana's vulnerable children.
Working as a case manager for a state child welfare department can be, to put it lightly, a tough job: Imagine going into a home, meeting a mother or father accused of child abuse, interviewing the family and having to make a decision about whether their children are in good hands.
In the state of Indiana, that trying experience was taking a toll on the Child Services Department's workforce. The department had a turnover rate among family case managers (FCMs) of around 40 percent, with most leaving within the first two years on the job.
The cases assigned to these managers are typically open between 18 months and three years, Kevin Jones, CIO of Indiana's Child Services Department, said to ZDNet.
When Jones became CIO of the department in 2017, he was tasked with finding technologies that could help solve these problems. As a systems engineer, Jones said he approached the challenge by considering his objectives, rather than the tools at his disposal. He ultimately deployed cloud-based employee engagement tools to gather data about employee sentiment and virtual reality programs to help new and prospective employees learn about the daunting experience of making a family visit as a case manager.
Don't look at your circumstance and let that define what you do as a solution . . . Look at the need and provide the right solution regardless of what your environment, industry or business process is.
– Kevin Jones, CIO, Indiana Child Services Department
Jones tapped cloud service provider Vlocity to build an "employee engagement product." Vlocity was built on the Salesforce platform and focuses on supporting six key industries, including government. Salesforce just announced its plan to acquire Vlocity for $1.33 billion, underscoring the value of deep industry expertise in the cloud space.
In the past, when Indiana's Child Services Department surveyed outgoing employees, it had around a 30 percent response rate. Vlocity helped the department build a new, 25-question survey that was automatically sent to workers' cell phones and email addresses as soon as they delivered their two-week notice to HR. With a more seamless workflow, the survey return rate increased to 95 percent.
Then, Jones tapped Vlocity and Mulesoft, another Salesforce company, to collect data from the simulations about the way prospective employees responded to the simulations. The department uses that information to help identify candidates well-suited for the job. Meanwhile, the VR experience has also prompted some job candidates to take themselves out of the running.
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