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Kevin Jones Handled a Persistent Issue with VR and Introduced a Data-centric Transition

Indiana Department of Child Services’ long-term vision was to develop a culture around data analytics and business intelligence to support better decision making. Kevin Jones, the department CIO, said in a recent presentation that the key to this effort is consolidating data silos, changing a legacy case management system, and creating unique processes that better aid the organization’s goals.

The undertaking was significant, considering a state government agency’s budgetary constraints. Jones had to showcase the importance of data analytics and decision-making. His attention turned to the agency’s staff turnover, which was increasingly problematic, with almost half of them quitting within their first two service years.

Data-driven organization

Jones is a classically trained systems engineer and thus knew virtual reality could help sort out many issues. It included supporting human resources in hiring better people, operating as an immersive training platform for present employees, and aiding the division’s transition to a data-driven organization, etc.

Primary Reasons

The Indiana Child Welfare Services agency hires around 5000 people. They were employing about 1500 new workers yearly. However, high attrition levels were significantly costing the agency annually. With the help of the data analytics model and evidence-based methods, his team executed surveys and understood that the primary reasons were supervisor dissatisfaction as well as job responsibilities that did not live up to expectations.

VR training system

The Accenture Virtual Experience Solution is a VR training system custom-made for human services. Jones’ team used this system and built a process that helped job candidates understand early on what they were signing up for. Candidates could simulate the experience of role-playing various field scenarios, including how they would react in crucial home situations.

CIO Kevin Jones

Present employees

Jones said that the system allows the candidates to experience the emotions of being in different situations. For the present employees, the simulations work as an immersive training platform, providing the division veterans a chance to witness their own responses and offering an opportunity for better self-awareness, which also includes potential bias.

By collecting metadata from the seasoned members’ VR simulations, the team can build a baseline profile of someone who is the most likely to continue their child services role. Additionally, Jones’ team combines the metadata with their agency’s case management system to develop analytics models and build business intelligence. Jones said that as they send people simulations, they can observe patterns in what they did and how such decisions affect the case.

Reduce Staff turnover

Since incorporating the virtual reality program, the agency could considerably reduce staff turnover. In an area where they were experiencing 53% turnover, the program put 119 people through the virtual reality simulation, which lowered the number of work offers extended to 59 people, of which 32 accepted the position, and 26 continue to be employees currently. It meant that the agency successfully decreased turnover among first-year staff members in that area from 53% to 19%.

In the case of staff development, the virtual reality experience showed a way to provide more effective and efficient training to present employees while raising their self-awareness.

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