Talent acquisition in trying times: The Instawork method
At a time when workforce reliability, workplace safety and job security are all being affected by COVID-19, companies are starting to feel the pressure. Addressing these problems through technology that is revolutionising talent acquisition with ‘click-of-a-button’ applications and software, Instawork offers a centralised platform that connects businesses with proven professionals in real-time.
“Instawork is a flexible staffing solution for warehouse manufacturing, food production, and hospitality-based workers,” explains Mike Bohnett, Vice President of Sales and Partnerships. “At heart, we’re a tech company that is aiming to rebuild how staffing works, to better meet the needs of both companies and today’s hourly workforce. Fundamentally, we believe that staffing ─ and specifically temporary staffing ─ is broken.”
At this point, we wondered exactly how the temporary staffing system, which is a tried and tested model, is, to use Mike’s wording, “broken”. The leading-VP was quick to elaborate: “At Instawork, we have spoken to many companies that use contingent labour, and there is a trend in all of our conversations. It seems to be the case that everybody is struggling to find good workers that show up consistently ─ it’s an ongoing saga that never seems to end. As a solution, these companies are piecemealing across several agencies in an effort to get a fraction of what they actually need. That’s frustrating for them; arguably, it’s painful. Whichever word you put on it, one thing is for sure: it’s a costly game of trial and error.”
“Companies the world-over need dependable workers. It’s a necessity to keep the cogs of business turning. So we at Instawork decided to try and find a solution that would ensure the delivery of quality, vetted professionals when needed ─ and we believe that we have managed to build a service that achieves exactly that. Through the Instawork platform, workers can easily pick up shifts at top organisations and get paid quickly afterwards, and they receive reviews from employers, which ups their credibility for any other potential gigs.”
An excellent example of Instawork in action is the company’s close collaboration with Sun Basket, the San Francisco-based subscription meal delivery service. “Sun Basket experienced a huge spike in demand, just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. They needed extra warehouse labour, and their at-the-time provider couldn’t get it for them, so they looked for an alternative solution and found Instawork.” Subsequently, Instawork was able to onboard Sun Basket in a matter of days and provide a 90% fill rate for its warehouse staff, with an average worker quality score of 97%.
Mike Wargocki, VP of Manufacturing at Sun Basket, helped us contextualise what happens when operations teams are understaffed and what problems it can cause: “The first thing it causes are mistakes. That’s a serious issue because, as we’re making orders for our customers, the key is making sure that quality remains as high as possible.” With understaffing resulting in employees having to perform several roles simultaneously, people can quickly become exhausted and more susceptible to illness, a core concern that Sun Basket, particularly during the pandemic, is diligent to avoid.
Despite what Wargocki calls the “uneven workflow” of the company, even as demand in 2020 grew, he says that Instawork has allowed Sun Basket to meet its staffing challenges with aplomb. “The Instawork team has been amazing because of the quality of workers, as well as the consistency of the fill rates.”
“Using the Instawork platform, Sun Basket has counter-intuitively lowered their overall staffing costs,” adds Bohnett. “In fact, it’s become such a dependable process that Sun Basket’s Warehouse Lead chose to forego adding a full-time team member in favour of his Instawork team. By using a platform like Instawork, Sun Basket is actively empowering its frontline teams with tools to make informed decisions, which aggregates into a high return on investment (ROI) across the company.”
Furthermore, Wargocki makes it clear that he views Instawork as a truly modern company, in step with prevailing workplace trends and employee preferences that will keep it well-equipped to handle the staffing challenges of tomorrow. “The world is moving more and more towards doing everything on your phone. The virtual interaction and the way that we're able to select workers and get data almost instantaneously really makes convenient for us. Plus, that’s where the younger workforce feels more comfortable; they enjoy being able to select a job based on the days they want and not the ones they don't.”
IHS Markit/CIPS: UK Manufacturing PMI near-record high
UK manufacturing trends
For the UK manufacturing sector, growth of output and new orders were both reported by IHS Markit and CIPS as among the best seen over the past seven years, which in turn has led to a strong increase in employment. Despite this, the sector continues to face supply chain delays and input shortages, which resulted in increased purchasing costs and record selling price inflation.
UK Manufacturing IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®)
Seasonally adjusted, IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) rose to 60.9 in April, which was an increase compared to March (58.9) and above the estimated 60.7 for April.
Increasing for the eleventh consecutive month, the latest readings are the highest since July 1994 (61.0). The output growth for April has been attributed to the loosening of lockdown restrictions, improving demands and a rise in backlogged work.
“The manufacturing sector was flooded with optimism in April as the PMI rose to its highest level since July 1994, bolstered by strong levels of new orders and the end of lockdown restrictions opened the gates to business. It was primarily the home market that fuelled this upsurge in activity though more work from the US, Europe and China demonstrated there were also improvements in the global economy. This boom largely benefited corporates as output growth at small-scale producers continued to lag behind,” said Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.
In addition to expanding production, total new orders rose for its third consecutive month, which was attributed to a revival of domestic market conditions, stronger client confidence, parts of the economy reopening and improving global market conditions.
While new exports rose in April, the rate was reported as weaker in comparison to new orders. “Companies reported improved new work intakes from several trading partners, including mainland Europe, the US, China and South-East Asia. Large-sized manufacturers saw a substantial expansion in new export order intakes, compared to only a marginal rise at small-sized firms,” said IHS Markit/CIPS.
UK Manufacturing’s outlook
Remaining positive at the start of the second quarter, 66% of companies forecast that output will be higher in a year's time, which is attributed to expectations for less disruption related to COVID-19 and Brexit, economic recovery, improved client confidence and new product launches.
“Further loosening of COVID-19 restrictions at home and abroad led to another marked growth spurt at UK factories. The headline PMI rose to a near 27-year high, as output and new orders expanded at increased rates. The outlook for the sector is also increasingly positive, with two-thirds of manufacturers expecting output to be higher in one year’s time. Export growth remains relatively subdued, however, as small manufacturers struggle to export,” said Rob Dobson, Director at IHS Markit.
Adding to comments from IHS Markit and CIPS, , Managing Director of Freight and Logistics at Accenture Global said: “While today’s figures are positive overall, the worsening supply situation is still a concern, with rates of both input costs and selling price inflation running far above anything previously seen. Shipping delays and material shortages are driving huge backlogs of uncompleted work and the surge in manufacturing orders is leading to many firms struggling to boost operating capacity to keep up with demand. With business expectations becoming even more optimistic as the economy rebounds, the big question will be whether firms will be able to cope with the surging inflows of new orders.
“As ongoing supply chain issues are still at large, companies with wide international footprints should look to reassess their logistics strategies by running supply chain stress tests and simulations in order to respond quickly to upswings and variability in demand. A flexible and resilient supply chain will be a key way for businesses to remain both competitive and stable as we emerge from the pandemic”