With 86% fewer steps, the recruitment process for State Troopers will move 3 times faster
IN BRIEF: Ohio State Troopers are the best of the best -- but the system for recruiting, testing, and processing applicants was going too slowly and getting too costly. Leadership assessed the situation and assembled a Kaizen team. The team went on to create a transformed process that moves faster, costs less, and ensures that candidates and newly minted Troopers meet OSHP's high standards.
SERIOUS TRANSFORMATION: The recruitment process has been streamlined from 235 steps to just 34 steps -- an 86% reduction.
BY THE NUMBERS: Handoffs will go from 76 to 11. Delay points from 50 to 15. Decision points from 28 to 8.
THREE TIMES FASTER: In terms of time, the process is expected to move three times faster when all the improvements are implemented -- from about 181 days on average to a projected 61 days. That's from initial recruitment all the way to an applicant being selected to attend the Patrol Academy.
COST SAVINGS: The improvements will reduce the average cost per candidate by $762, according to team calculations. Based on the volume of candidates from 2010 through May 2012, annual savings would average about $433,000.
TIME SAVINGS: The changes will save an estimated 472 staff hours that can be redirected to value-added work.
Leadership made all the difference in ensuring the success of this Kaizen event -- when planning the project, and during the week-long event itself. Above are some of the leaders who were on hand for the event launch on the team's first day of work: (L to R) Major George Williams; LTC Paul Pride; Colonel John Born, Superintendent of the Ohio State Highway Patrol; LTC Daniel Kolcum; Tom Charles, Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety; Joe Montgomery, Deputy Director; and Melanie Schropp.
Ohio State Troopers face some of the toughest situations imaginable. That’s why it’s so tough to become a Trooper -- and why the recruitment process is so important.
Just 3% of people who submit applications end up becoming troopers. That’s based on data from 2010 through early 2012, but it reflects what has been true ever since 1933, when the Ohio State Highway Patrol began safeguarding our state: Only the best wear the badge.
The recruitment process, on the other hand, was showing the need for improvement. Overall, it was taking too much time from initial recruitment efforts to confirmation of employment. Process costs were growing, applicants were having to make multiple trips to Columbus, many weren’t showing up for scheduled applicant visits for interviews and testing.
That was the situation as of early 2012 -- but not for long long. OSHP leadership took action, organizing a Kaizen event for early June and setting up a team of 14 people from different parts of the process. The team was instructed to analyze the current recruitment approach, develop a transformed process that moves far faster while ensuring first-rate personnel, and get the new process in gear as soon as possible.
Every Kaizen event is a hands-on undertaking that gets everyone involved. Here, team members generate improvement ideas following analysis of the current-state process.
The team did its work over the course of five straight days. Monday marked the start of process mapping, when the group created a massive diagram of the current approach. They scoured the map, uncovering all instances of inefficiency -- everything from unnecessary handoffs to delays to loopbacks. Then they shifted into high, generating 120 improvement ideas and then reducing the list to high-impact actions that could reasonably be implemented. Next came three separate process redesigns, which set the stage for final development and consensus-building around a truly transformed approach.
The original process had 235 separate work steps, compared to 34 steps with the new process, for an 86% reduction. The team knocked out nearly nine of every ten steps. The new process has 11 handoffs -- compared to 76 previously. It has 8 decision points -- versus 28 before. It has 15 delay points -- a fraction of the 50 that existed with the old process.
It had been taking anywhere from 171 days to over a year in some cases to go from initial recruitment efforts all the way to an applicant being selected for the Patrol Academy. When the new process is fully in place, it will take 61 days on average, according to team projections. The bottom line: Everything will move three times faster.
A set of team-developed improvements is fueling this big increase in efficiency. One change is the elimination of one test (the results were rarely used for screening out candidates), plus the replacement of a second test with an in-house testing tool that has rock-solid validity and can be graded the same day. The switch maintains the highest screening standards while reducing delays and cutting costs by up to $560 per candidate.
Also, the team combined two medical tests into one, and three physical training tests into one -- again, safeguarding those high standards while eliminating duplication and achieving greater efficiency. Also, key forms are being simplified and standardized, including the main application, and these will be making their way online for added convenience and speed.
Yet another change focuses on the start of the process. Historically, only 1 in 4 applicants were showing up for testing. So the new process puts greater accountability on interested individuals at the earliest stages. A pre-screening process will serve as a first-past approach for ensuring pre-qualified applicants.
According to team calculations, implementation of all the improvements will reduce the per-candidate cost to the state by $762. To put that in perspective: Based on the volume of candidates from 2010 through May 2012, when 1,375 candidates showed up for testing, annual savings would average about $433,000. There will be savings for applicants as well. Their average out-of-pocket expenses will go from about $1,700 per applicant down to $515. These team estimates are based on fewer required trips to Columbus and fewer days that applicants will need to be away from work (down to 3 with the new process, compared to an average 11 days before).
The team presented its plans and projections on the day. The audience included Colonel John Born, Superintendent of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and Thomas P. Charles, Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
Trooper Jenn Fouty (Class 151) noted her status as one of the two newest Troopers on the team: “As we started going through this process, it was so empowering for both of us to feel that we can have a voice in changing it." She and Trooper Justin Slusser (Class 151) were integral to the team because they could speak about the recruitment process from recent experience.
S/LT Mike Crispen, who served as team leader, confirmed what became clear during the presentation -- that the team had safeguarded what is most important when it comes to recruitment: "All the way through the process, there was the question, What kind of impact will this have on quality?
We think it will be better."
As a result of these changes, the Ohio State Highway Patrol is now starting the largest class in its history with 127 recruits scheduled to start in the 153rd cadet class on September 12, 2012 -- and an additional 500 currently processing to fill another large class in November. These goals were not achievable prior to the Kaizen.