Jim Wegeleben, Senior Manager of Logile Academy
Kathleen O’Reilly, Academy Specialist
In our three-part Gig Scheduling and Crowdsourcing series, we’ve explored Employee Open Shift Bidding and What Are Gig Employees? Now we’d like to turn your attention to another, virtually untapped, talent pool we call “Crowdsource Workers.”
The need to find employees to work is never-ending. Are you spending a tremendous amount of time searching for qualified applicants? Have your recent search efforts resulted in smaller groups of applicants? Although you would prefer to choose from a larger selection of qualified applicants, do you find yourself having to compromise some qualifications in order to accept candidates from the few that applied?
Consider the typical current hiring steps:
- Contact the local employment office to send people over.
- Spend money to place a “Help Wanted” ad in the local newspaper.
- Contact the local high schools/colleges to post available jobs.
- Call to set up an interview.
- Take the time to interview.
- Select the candidate.
- Make an offer.
- Wait and see.
A lot of steps and effort as you grapple with not enough applicants and not ideal candidates. What if you could consider potential workers outside of your organization to pick up an available shift as they wanted? How could you go about obtaining that type of worker?
Let’s start by defining this group of workers.
We’ll call them crowdsource workers because the hiring process involves individuals obtaining work via the internet when using smartphone apps. A potential crowdsource worker is an individual not currently working under the organizational banner. They could be a retiree, a stay-at-home parent looking to earn some extra cash, or an employee working for another organization. These individuals have the time and the qualifications to be considered as a candidate for hire. Once they are approved to work at the organization, they are considered a crowdsource worker and gain access to shifts that are up for bidding.
Consider an example:
Dan has recently retired. He thought staying at home working in the garage on his wood projects could pass the time. It has only been about six months and he is already out of ideas for things to build. Dan is bored and wants to do something different with his time. He sees an ad from his local grocery store encouraging people that want to pick up a few hours of work to consider this “Gig Scheduling” thing.
Dan’s first thought is “What is gig scheduling?” But after a few minutes reading the download from the company, it is something he thinks could benefit him now. He is familiar with the idea of gig work because he has used ride-share services accessed through a mobile app. Dan thinks picking up a few shifts during the week would keep him busy. He could decide when, where and how long to work each time. The more Dan thinks about it, the more the idea appeals to him. He decides to contact the store for more information on how to apply.
As a crowdsource worker, Dan could continue to work even though he is officially retired. Becoming a crowdsource worker sounds like a perfect fit for what is going on in his life now.
How does it work?
Individuals already working for the organization, including gig workers, should have the first chance when it comes to shift bidding, receiving the open shift broadcast before a crowdsource worker. First-dib privileges are a way the organization can demonstrate loyalty and appreciation, recognizing and rewarding the value of the gig worker’s contribution and willingness to help support the organization. But, if a shift is still available after a designated time has passed, the unfulfilled open shifts are broadcast out to the crowdsource workers.
The crowdsource worker selects the hours and shifts for the week from what is made available. The number and frequency of shifts bid on are determined by the individual, but it can significantly lighten the burden of store managers trying to find employees, especially during these unique and challenging times.
Both gig and crowdsource workers use the same mobile application. The manager writes the schedule, identifies the open shifts, broadcasts, receives the shift bids and then assigns the work. In either case, training of some sort will occur, so the individual is capable of fulfilling the on-the-job task requirements.
What is next?
Speaking of training, something worth consideration at this juncture regarding an implementation strategy is bubbling up to the surface. We’re thinking about an opportunity, a two-pronged approach demonstrating a good example of the genius of “and.”
What if your gig workers could facilitate the opportunity for you to redeploy to serve critical business needs? By providing strategically focused training, such as daily on-the-job coaching, and rapid skills training, you could meet the needs of customers at a faster and more efficient rate. The flexibility the skills training offers the schedule writer has significant potential. They would be able to fill shifts from the get-go with skilled, trained employees and prioritize from within. Crowdsourced workers could be considered as candidates for additional skills training as well.
Research shows that promoting a culture of learning is beneficial to both the business and the employee. Receiving educational resources is perceived by the employee as the organization being supportive and their job satisfaction index increases. Additionally, when people stay where they are acknowledged and valued, the organization reaps the benefits of cost avoidance when it comes to spending time, money and resources on recruiting, hiring and training.
Crowdsource workers provide another alternative resource to a very compromised retail staffing situation. Implementing a gig-style scheduling and gig/crowdsource worker strategy is an elegant and creative solution for retailers looking for relief from a vicious overtime/burnout scenario.
As you reflect on gig scheduling and crowdsourcing, be sure to identify your needs, both current and future. The pandemic caused a ripple effect with businesses in many ways. The concern we are talking about in this series is ensuring you have a competent, qualified employee pool to take care of your customers. Without your customers, it is just a matter of time before other decisions are made about the future of your business.