ZABS Place leadership reached out to Apparo for help in replacing an outdated, paper-based employee training system.
ZABS Place’s mission is to help young adults with special needs harness their own special talents and prepare them to transition to rewarding careers and realize their dreams of leading meaningful lives. They operate a thrift shop in Matthews, NC where on-the-job training takes place.
ZABS Place reached out to Apparo seeking help identify and select an application that will track and manage the special talented young adults that go through their programs. Apparo matched them with a volunteer from Centric Consulting, Kevin Anderson. He assessed ZABS needs and conducted research in order to recommend a system that will be able to deliver on their goals. See PDF of Project Snapshot.
Rochel Groner explained the significance of their Community Impact Project, “Kevin put in 160 hours. I don’t have 160 hours!! We couldn’t find what we were looking for because I don’t have 160 hours, so we gave up. It was just not possible for us as a nonprofit. It’s not just dollars, it’s time. We are stretched so thin as we work to stretch those dollars, sometimes it’s not possible to do the thing that’s best for the organization because there isn’t time to make it happen.
She continued with great compliments for her volunteer from Centric Consulting, “Kevin really got us as an organization. Sometimes professionals technically should be able to help you, but it’s not a meeting of the minds. You end of spending so much time explaining who you are, leaving very little time to get anything done. Kevin was quick and effective to get to know us and get to work for us. It was incredible. “
Rochel also shared her great satisfaction with the solution implemented as a result of this project, “Before it was all paper and pen. Goals weren’t methodically broken down and we didn’t work backwards, only forwards. In our own research we focused on HR applications and then educational ones. None were the right match. They are were all rear-view mirror, focusing on what have you’ve already done.
When you take one step after another, you’ll get somewhere but it may not be where you wanted to end up. Kevin made us realize that we needed a goal tracking system. We didn’t consider what we were doing to be goal tracking, but he was right. We were looking in the wrong place and that’s why we couldn’t find what we were looking for.
Lifetick makes you identify where you want to go and then all of the steps to get there. It’s methodical, like lesson planning for a teacher. It’s so exciting to find a program that works like that. Now we can look ahead, plan, set goals and the steps to meet them.”
Our young adults benefit from the reporting on an individual level:
- We can see where there are problems/sticking points and identify when they started. Before Lifetick, when we wondered when problems began, it was hard to find the answer. Now we have the data at our fingertips so we can address problems quicker.
- When our young adults go on a job interview, they have a detailed portfolio of information on what tasks they’ve conducted and what skills they’ve developed at ZABS. This will help with job placement.
We’ll be able to manage the expansion into new programs and add new coaches, knowing we can track progress effectively.”
A year after the completion of this project, we checked back in and learned that the system and positive impact are being sustained.
Rochel shares, “Looking back, we are head and shoulders above where we were a year and a half ago, with our piles and piles of paper from which we couldn’t glean any information. Lifetick has been a huge step, a game changer for us.”
She reflects on some of the specific benefits that stand out over the past year:
- Increased motivation to read task lists and mark progress – use of technology to track their training and goals is more engaging for the young adults than paper on a clipboard
- Improved training – ability to finetune for each individual because their progress is more easy to analyze
- Increased insight through use of the journal feature – young adults become more self-aware and their coaches and supervisors become aware of non-work related issues that may impact performance
- Improved reading skills – Rochel shared a specific story of a young woman who knows how to read, but rarely used her reading skills before Lifetick. She began with Lifetick by simply guessing words on the screen and now is truly reading.
- Increased computer literacy