Last week, this article about the expansion of Uber Works began circulating on one of the staffing forums that I follow actively. While the article’s message made some staffing firms see doom and gloom, I’m not buying it. It’s true that the right technology is key to staying relevant in the staffing industry, but Uber Works doesn’t meet the need for a human element in the staffing world. To reduce recruiters to “dispatchers” dismisses the relationship-building power of recruiters. The ability to truly vet workers and form strong relationships with clients can’t be replaced by an app. Clients want to know that their workers are proven to be reliable, trained, and honest by someone they trust. I think that, as Uber Works grows, we’ll see clients backing away as they realize there’s too much risk involved without the human element of the recruiter.
As Jason Leverant from @Work Group pointed out, for some industries that employ volumes of short-term shift workers for finite periods of time, this new model could be effective. It’s not that different from Uber’s rideshare service: connecting buyers to workers for short, finite periods of work for an agreed upon rate. However, when it comes to finding a longer-term worker, the hiring process becomes more nuanced. Employers want a good culture fit, and workers want to feel taken care of throughout the intimate process of job-seeking. These are things that just can’t be accomplished through the Uber Works app alone.
Usually, when an industry is ripe for disruption, it means that companies in that industry are completely defenseless and caught off-guard. Take the taxi industry when it was disrupted by Uber: the industry hadn’t evolved its technology in decades. In the staffing industry, this simply isn’t the case. Rapid advances in automation, texting, branded on-demand apps, and referral accelerators have given staffing firms the tools to fend off competition and disruption.
While Uber Works can’t compete with a staffing agency’s recruiters, its entry to the market does signal an important evolution in the industry. Staffing firms that don’t currently employ a mobile recruiting app will find it harder to compete with UberWorks and other disruptors that offer extreme on-demand services and make the hiring process easier. In my (admittedly biased) opinion, there are mobile solutions that are on par with Uber Works and offer a far better candidate experience.
If you don’t have a staffing app in place, now is the time to implement one. If you are planning to attend the upcoming SIA, StaffingTec, or StaffingHub conferences, you will find that solution providers like us (StaffUpApp) are there to help you find the right mobile tool for your company to defend from disruption.