As one of the founders and the CTO of FromWolf, I’ve led our team in working with over 20 temporary staffing companies on their digital transformation journeys by helping them go on-demand. In doing so I have learned a lot about what happens when companies decide to make the leap. At FromWolf, we are firm believers in co-creation or iterative innovation, wherein we implement a solution quickly, get feedback from clients, and then adapt the solution based on that feedback.
However, getting feedback is a tricky art.
When we think of on-demand, we think of an Uber-like experience for our clients. Staffing companies, be they from light industrial or legal, healthcare or hospitality industries, could have their clients place orders right from their phone and the order would be immediately filled with the right candidate from the staffing company’s pool. The on-demand platform takes care of identifying the right candidate for the job, notifying them, and assigning them to the order in no time.
To our surprise, when the staffing companies we work with asked their clients if they would use an on-demand platform and how it would help them, the answer was almost always the same: Their clients want a platform where they can review and interview the candidates before hiring. They want to make sure the staff assigned matches their expectations. We like to call this the avocado problem.
If you’ve ever shopped for avocados, you know it’s a delicate affair. You want to pick them at your preferred level of ripeness.
When companies like FreshDirect and Instacart first launched, they asked customers if they would order groceries from them. Most folks said they’d be okay with purchasing items like milk and packaged goods, but not fruits and vegetables. Why? Because only the customer knows exactly how ripe they like their produce.
Then, why is it that even before Covid-19, Whole Foods and Target were filled with Instacart shoppers?
The answer? Trust.
We feel comfortable ordering avocados on Instacart or FreshDirect because we trust the platforms. Today, when we get in a stranger’s car to go somewhere or live in a stranger’s house when we travel, it’s because we trust the platforms. We trust that the platforms will ensure the product and service to match our expectations.
Thus, when staffing companies’ clients say that they want to review profiles, negotiate rates, interview candidates, search a candidate pool and so on, they are not saying they like to click buttons on their computer and do the hard work in hiring; what they are really saying is they are not sure if they can trust the platform to send them a candidate matching their expectations.
While on-demand staffing platforms are certainly the future of our industry, it’s not the company that builds the first or the best app that will win the game, it’s the company that has the highest amount of trust that will.