Will new Uber-style staffing platforms blow up the talent market?


Ed Pederson

Vice President, Product

“Hey, we are desperate for someone to cover second shift today. Can you help?”

This was a conversation we had with a customer recently. The request came into us at 12:20; by 12:30, we had ten people interested in the role, and by 12:40, we had someone in place. Less than 30 minutes, start to finish. A few years ago, that would have been impossible, or at least startlingly rare. Today, it’s as simple as a few clicks, and that’s all down to digital transformation and investment in technology that connects people to jobs without layers of complexity and time-consuming processes.

Our team achieved this through Kelly Now – a proprietary platform that works a lot like Uber or Lyft. Clients share hospitality or light industrial assignments with us – from a few hours to a few days or weeks. We host them on our app and pre-vetted applicants connect with the opportunities in their area in real-time as temporary workers. Shifts are covered. Deadlines are met. And workers get to pick work that works for them.

We started our Kelly Now pilot in August and we’ve been overwhelmed by interest from clients and candidates. We’ve gone from zero hours and zero staff to 2000 people in the platform and around 3000 hours of labor per week in just a few months. By the end of the year, we’re anticipating over 65,000 hours being worked through the app every week. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved with Kelly Now, but we’re not the only ones out there exploring this space; the staffing market is being turned on its head, and these types of platforms are enabling and accelerating dramatic change.

More than tech

This isn’t just a technological shift, it’s part of a wider social change in how people want to connect with work. We increasingly want greater flexibility from the work we do. Throw in a growing demand for consumer-levels of service in every area of our lives, and job apps that allow people to find work as easily as they find an Uber start to look very attractive. As a staffing industry, and as employers, we have to meet talent where they want to be, and platforms like Kelly Now are one way of bridging the gap.

It's easy to think of these work platforms as just a shiny new piece of kit, but we’re seeing around 50% redeployment through Kelly Now, which means workers aren’t just trying this way of engaging with work on for size – they are actively choosing it, more than once. The rapid growth of our platform shows a real and increasing demand for this way of connecting with work (and workers).

Solving big industry challenges

For organizations, this is an opportunity to solve some of the biggest issues they are facing in staffing, whether they are hiring at volume to cover seasonal or project gaps or simply trying to fill a crucial shift fast. High drop-out rates. No-shows. Increasingly shallow talent pools. Being outbid by competitors. By making the hiring process slick, flexible, and easy, businesses can clear out a lot of internal processes and roadblocks that often act as real barriers to speedy recruitment and begin to meet the challenges of an uncertain world in an agile way.

Of course, the labor issues businesses are facing right now are not just internal ones. The great resignation and low unemployment numbers are making it increasingly difficult to find the people they need to meet their goals. There are thousands of articles and videos out there on how to overcome these seismic labor market shifts, but ultimately, it comes down to being brave enough to jump outside of your comfort zone and do things differently. I believe that a focus on innovative and disruptive technology is central to meeting the obstacles that companies face right now.

Will Uber-style work platforms blow up the talent market? I don’t have a crystal ball. But I do believe the pace of change is increasing, and that these platforms will expand opportunities and options for both workers and businesses alike.

Want to know more about Kelly Now? Get in touch to discover more about this new hyper-fast way of connecting opportunities and workers.


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