The world of work is changing

Antony Woodcock, Co-founder and Chief Executive of GIG explains how recruiting temporary staff needs to change to solve a millennial problem.
The hospitality industry has always seemed to be at the back of the pack with regards to innovation and technology. Like the last guy to be picked at gym class, it’s desperate to be recognised but never had enough to offer.

The unique nature of its operational intricacies, increasing costs and the lack of a personal service have all played their part in the industry’s initial reluctance to change model and adopt. But with new trends and technology hitting the marketplace at break neck speed, the industry is being forced into action. For the first time it seems the hospitality industry has finally been ‘hitting the weights’.

The root cause of this change? The consumer. Third parties have had to step in to revamp the somewhat dated practices of the industry, to make independent owner/ operators wake up to the importance of a digital presence. The likes of Trip Advisor, Bookings.com and more recently Airbnb, all disrupted the market and forced the tourism industry. But how did these industries fail to spot a threat like this for so long? And what cost did they face in doing nothing?

When you look at Deliveroo – and also Uber, for that matter – it’s clear that many of today’s disruptors achieved their success by simply understanding and responding to shifts in consumer behaviour. People wanted a straightforward mobile experience, at a competitive rate.

Uber started out as a platform that enabled users to make extra cash out of an underutilised asset and became the largest taxi company on the planet. It was originally meant for people who had a car but soon people started buying or leasing a car just so they could get involved.

The working world is rapidly changing. A recent McKinsey Global Institute report showed that between 20 and 30 per cent of people in the US and Europe are working independently in the ‘gig economy.’ And this number of people choosing to live and work more flexibly is only going to increase. As a result, one such area undergoing its own renovation is the temporary staffing agency.

Business in hospitality have long since adopted the model of recruiting temporary staff to manage seasonal demand. However they have been held at ransom by growing costs with an extreme lack of transparency. The alternative approach of doing it yourself however doesn’t leave much to be desired either – dealing with part time or fixed term contracts, having to add and remove staff to the payroll, sort out payslips, deal with tax, NI, holiday pay and complete a right to work check to name but a few of the tasks involved.

Now, for the first time, mobile technology is helping to create a truly on-demand service whilst providing greater transparency around costs and potential staff. Not only does this technology help to streamline a very manual industry it also makes it more accessible again to both business owners and work seekers.

My brother and I run a sushi store called Maki. We noticed that most of our employees were millennials who wanted to work flexibly to fit earning extra cash around either their studies or busy social lives. Our trade increased dramatically over the summer, which meant having to hire extra staff on inflexible part-time contracts. Therefore we created GIG to automate that part of the process and make it easier for employers like Maki. On the worker side a lot of our staff had other more important priorities (studies, passions etc) and getting people to stick to their rota’d shifts was always a nightmare so why force them…let them choose.

GIG is the brainchild of three lifelong hospitality professionals. We wanted to create an efficient, cost effective shift based marketplace. To create a platform that would work in favour of both the work seeker and work provider, by focusing on flexibility and immediacy. The technology we have used has enabled us to remove unnecessary middle-man process and connect the business and worker directly, empowering businesses and workers to make their own decisions about who to hire and where, when and who to work for.

Smart companies are those that recognise that disruption is inevitable and adopt it as an active business strategy. It’s now time for industry leaders to recognise that the modern workforce is looking for flexibility over and above long-term stability. The working population is the technology population, and the opportunity that mobile technology now offers enables businesses to rethink their entire staffing strategy.

Don’t leave it too late and pay the price at a later date. By getting involved now, you can shape how businesses like GIG will operate. Innovation, and eventually disruption, is something that companies either take control of, or risk facing the consequence down the line.