Time to Face the Workers

Sixty-seven percent of contractors surveyed by Deloitte would choose not to work a contract job in the future. The consulting company on Thursday released the results of the survey, covering 4,000 full-time, part-time and independent contractors in 13 US markets.

Here is the reality of the first generation of on-demand companies. They created the market, which cost a great deal to do, but they took too much from each transaction to justify the complete lack of support and benefits for a majority of the people who tried the experience through those marketplaces. Uber’s introduction of a savings program was an important nod to this fact, but still only a nod.

The next generation of on-demand marketplace will blend worker services into the experience, offering more than flexible work, it will develop an array of tools for saving, both for retirement and on the cost of group-purchased services managed through the marketplace providers. Then labor will want to stay, because the deal will be fair. Fairness counts to people. They remember being treated fairly.

There will also be a lot of people who simply become small businesses offering their work, perhaps bundled with the products made by several different companies. Think: A hometown rep for those brands in sales, service and support situations.

A significant differentiator for those brands, whether it is Uber or IBM Watson Cognitive Services, Chanel or Craftsman, will be the ability to provide access to training to workers, whether contractors or remote employees. The latter idea, part-time remote employee who gets benefits was effectively brought to life this past week by Amazon, which announced it will offer more flexibility in work, and part-time workers access to benefits. This week also saw the first UberEats workers strike.

Much is in motion in the labor-organization relationship, but it’s clear that a tariff of 20 to 30 percent of worker revenue for the marketplace isn’t an attractive proposition to 2/3rds super-majority of workers surveyed by Deloitte.

Churn can kill. Supply churn, because it lowers overall quality of service, is terminal.

The next generation of marketplaces will start from the assumption that worker’s engagement, their desire to continue to work through the marketplace, is a critical business metric. They’ll start to treat workers like customers, making their day better rather than just paying a “commodity worker” to deliver a service.

They can take an important step forward by letting service providers — drivers, maintenance and lawn care workers, as well as doctors, lawyers, accountants and others — set their own price and develop ongoing service relationships. Then, the challenge for the on-demand marketplace provider is to remain a key to their trusted relationship, which involves re-thinking service at every level.

Beginning by facing the worker and dealing with them as dignified individuals with futures they must consider and save/invest to achieve, on-demand markets can begin to turn local goods delivery and service experiences into enduring parts of their community. A business must find its market and make itself indispensible to it, that’s the whole game in the platform services era.

Source: Most workers are disappointed by the gig economy

Author: Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch Ratcliffe is a veteran entrepreneur, journalist and business model hacker. He operates this site, which is a collection of the blogs he's published over the years, as well as an archive of his professional publishing record. As always, this is a work in progress. Such is life.

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