Casual employment is increasingly changing the work and business landscape for both the employer and employee. It is driven by changing demand and expectation in the consumer market for goods, services or expertise.
The ability to employ people on a casual basis allows businesses to be agile and more competitive. It provides the opportunity to roll with market forces and expectation. Likewise, casual employment is also providing many employees the opportunity to work on their own terms and with multiple employers, should they wish.
As an employer, there is an immense benefit in having the ability to draw on existing internal expertise and labour when market driven demand requires it, or existing prior plans breakdown. The underlying challenge has been the ability to quickly and easily identify your people that can and will work when you need them. We all know and agree that no amount of advanced shift planning will ever eliminate shift vacancies from arising.
In addition to casual employment, freelancing is increasingly popular. Freelancing is not a new phenomenon. There are industries renowned for their open and long-standing engagement of freelancers. These include Journalism, Photography, PR and Marketing, Fashion, Education, and Entertainment to name several. Interestingly, the Freelancer Union in the USA recently stated that freelancers make up 35% of US workforce.
The definition of a casual worker and a freelancer has arguably become blurred. A freelancer is self-employed to some degree and they provide their labour, skilled or unskilled, without the commitment of tenure. In comparison, casual ’employees’ provide and receive more regular and reliable engagement from an employer.
Until now, existing software applications have not adequately, elegantly, and securely allowed for businesses, of any size, to easily communicate their shift or work requirements with their people based on accurate and real-time availability. Likewise, staff (and freelancers) have found it near impossible to share their availability with their employers and managers, using a single cloud software solution, that reduces their risk of missing out.
The fact remains that staff availability generally needs to be communicated to more than one person in a company because the need to back-fill shifts often rests with any number of staff at any time day or night. In the majority of company’s, the corporate support function doesn’t run 24/7. Add the need for a strong yet simple communication protocol to eliminates making lots of calls, sending individual SMS and emails, to share and confirm shifts further limits the opportunity to maximise the mutual benefit of the employee and employer casual working relationship.
There is no dispute that there are a plethora of enterprise workforce management platforms in the market, but they promise the world and try to solve lots of problems. They can be cumbersome, difficult to integrate and over-engineered. Typically they don’t give access (or they charge extra) to all those who need it, such as leaders/managers needing to fill shifts on the spot or as employees wishing to share their availability to work, in real-time to multiple people. They can be hard to use and require disruptive staff training. Prohibitive licensing terms and high licensing fees are also a barrier to their use.
Employers need technology that drives productivity, efficiency, and engagement. They need a solution that reduces their risk in not finding staff when they are needed and reduces their reliance on labour hire agencies.
Employees that we speak to just want to be able to keep their employers informed of their availability, be contacted when they are available and confirm their shift engagements. If they are in a senior or management position they want to be able to backfill shifts quickly anytime, so they can get on with their proper job.
These fundamental employee and employer requirements are not over the top!