Tech Startup Targets Turnover in Disability Space

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John Dickerson is the founder of Quillo. John Dickerson is the founder of Quillo.

An Indianapolis-based startup has created a cloud-based platform designed to inspire, engage and educate employees. Quillo's mission is to strengthen the culture and relationships in organizations supporting people with developmental disabilities. Founder John Dickerson, former executive director of The Arc of Indiana, says a more than 50 percent turnover rate among individuals working in those organizations led to Quillo's creation.

In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Dickerson said several factors contribute to the high turnover rate.

"We're seeing turnover in the 50, 60, 70 percent range with folks and so we studied this for two years and came to the conclusion that pay is important. They're not paid well but that's a political battle we have to fight," said Dickerson. "But what we learned is it's third on the list why people leave. It's all about relationships and their well-being and feeling part of something."

Dickerson says there are about six million people nationwide that work in the developmental disability field and about 80 percent of them get their communication from their supervisor by smartphone. He says Quillo uses short, 60-second videos targeted to the employees on their devices which are centered around micro-learning and based on positive psychology.

"We found most of the time, their supervisor calls them when there's a problem and that's the only time they hear from them. So every one is based on a positive message affirming, either from us or from the subscriber. This is a novel new way to engage that emotional connection with the organization."

Quillo launched in March 2018 and has since branched out to more than 30 agencies in 14 states. Dickerson says, regardless of the size of the organization, the response has been supportive. "Seventy-two percent of users say it improves the relationship with the people they support and 40 percent say it improves the relationship with their supervisor."

Dickerson says the company is now looking to expand its reach to other industries such as education and healthcare.

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