Britt Miller

Britt Miller

  • Wonolo

685-teacher-confused-sized.jpgThere’s a lot of talk these days about the on-demand economy. Among all of the Ubers, Instacarts and Postmates of the world, a number of staffing platforms have cropped up in the same on-demand spirit. Sure, it looks promising, but as a business owner, how do you really know that the on-demand staffing model could work for you vs. your usual route of using job boards and temp staffing agencies?

To help shed some light on how these platforms work, here’s a top 10 list of questions, along with some guidance for business owners on what to look for in a platform and how to approach this exciting new model for levering technology to find immediate help.

  1. How do I know that the workers on Platform X are qualified to do the jobs I have available?

A reliable on-demand staffing platform should have a number of assurances in place, including transparency around the average ratings of the workers and ways to distinguish workers who have specific areas of expertise or skills critical to one particular job via means such as a badging system. For added peace of mind, the platform also should have a proven process for screening via background checks and a detailed onboarding approach.

To ensure you attract the best workers from this vast pool, being as specific as possible in the job post is a must. If there are special requirements, such as a type of clothing necessary or the ability to lift a certain amount of weight, be sure to include that information up front so you have the right workers showing up fully prepared from the start.

  1. So wait, you’re telling me that I don’t have to go through stacks of resumes and hours of phone screens?

That’s right. A good on-demand staffing platform should be doing all of that legwork for you in terms of pre-vetting the workers.

  1. Where are these workers coming from in the first place?

On-demand staffing platforms acquire their workers from a number of venues, including job boards, job fairs, and targeted ad campaigns. Word-of-mouth can also play a big role in adding workers to a platform, as some workers will refer it to their friends, based on their own positive experience.

  1. Why are there so many people willing to pick up these jobs?

There are a number of reasons why people have embraced the on-demand economy as a source of income. For some, it’s a matter of freedom to be masters of their own schedules, whether it’s a desire to have greater flexibility to travel, to finish work toward a degree, or to care for children or other family members. For others, it can be a means of supplemental income beyond what’s coming in from other jobs. And still for others, it could be a way to try out different kinds of work and to network, as these jobs can become a route to full-time employment with a company.

  1. So if people are finding work via an app, who the heck do I talk to if an issue comes up?

Though technology is playing the broker in this relationship, a trustworthy on-demand staffing platform should offer 24-7 Customer Support where you can connect with a real, live human being.

  1. How do I pay people?

The beauty of leveraging a technology platform for staffing in the sharing economy is that it should enable swift payment for the workers. A good solution should offer a clean interface where it’s a matter of simply inputting your payment information and the ability to submit payment to the worker once the work is approved.

  1. Speaking of paying people, do I need to pay to post jobs with any of these platforms?

Credible platforms shouldn’t charge any sort of up front fees for posting a job. Instead, you should only be on the hook for payment once the work has been completed.

  1. What types of jobs are a good fit for posting on an on-demand staffing platform?

There’s a wide-ranging set of jobs that have been proven to be successful for filling via an on-demand model, including warehousing, delivery drivers, event staffing, administrative tasks, and merchandising. The key theme is that it should be work that requires a pretty basic level of training.

  1. How is my business protected from an insurance standpoint?

On-demand staffing platforms should have a variety of protections in place, for both the businesses and the workers. For businesses, ensure your staffing partner offers general liability insurance to cover damage to products, facilities, etc. caused by workers during the service engagement. Workers should also have protection, such as Occupational Accident Insurance (OAI), to cover for medical-related benefits for accidental injuries arising out of the course and scope of the work undertaken.

  1. Are on-demand staffing platforms only for last-minute job requests?

Not necessarily. A good platform should absolutely be able to fill a last-minute request in a matter of minutes. To verify the platform’s success level with filling this type of job, inquire about metrics, such as fill rate or time-to-fill. But, they should also be able to pull in a steady stream of workers if you know of an open job farther in advance or have a series of jobs that need to be filled over the course of several days.