Why 2018 Is the Year On-Demand Staffing Goes Mainstream

On-demand staffing, the idea that companies can engage their staff only when they need them and where they need them, is poised for a breakout year in 2018.

Pioneered by Uber and refined by many technology-enabled staffing platforms that provide on-demand services to consumers, the game is now shifting to where the real action is, corporate America.  Imagine that you run a retail chain, and instead of relying on each store manager to add staff when your stores are busy, the system automatically sends out push notifications to staff based on sales by hour increases and staffing can be targeted by those with the highest employee rating, closest distance, and immediate availability to work?

Similar to the adoption of other new technologies, like smartphones, that consumers found first and then convinced corporate America to adopt, on-demand staffing makes total sense to every business owner who calls an Uber car and says, wow, that was easy … what if I could call the workers for my business when I needed them like that?

Adoption of new enterprise technology requires that the buyers of that technology can understand the benefits of trying something new. They may not care about how it works, but they do care if it delivers benefits that are quantifiable and relatable.

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So why now? Pressures on both the supply and demand side are creating a tipping point, making it necessary to adopt the speed of on-demand staffing.

  1. Millennials want to be their own boss, control their schedules, and arrange their work lives, just like they do their personal lives, with apps on their smartphones.
  2. As the economy continues to grow and there are more jobs than workers, companies must adapt to how the labor force wants to work and provide more flexible work arrangements.
  3. Companies of all types (think large chain retailers) need to reinvent their business models, and optimize labor expenses while also providing personal service and more product expertise (think Apple stores) to compete with online and attract customers to stores.
  4. Smartphone technology and apps usage is now ubiquitous across all types of industries and work categories. Previously, these types of services only worked for IT folks or early adopters who worked at tech companies, but no more.
  5. Enterprise adoption of the cloud to manage all of their critical functions is near complete. Remember when many companies used to say, “we will never put our financial data in the cloud?” Well, any CFO saying that now would be looking for a new job.

Cloud-based platforms have changed entire industries: Amazon, how we buy anything; Uber, Lyft, Via, how we get from here to there locally; and Expedia, how I book my vacation and business travel around the world.

This chart shows the evolution of staffing models for corporate America and how technology has become the driver of change. Previously, government regulations, labor cost optimization, globalization and other factors drove staffing model adoptions but technology is now leading the way.

Now the biggest change of all is coming, how businesses think about staffing, typically their largest expense, and how each one of us thinks about making a living in the age of on-demand everything.


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Glenn Laumeister

Glenn Laumeister
Glenn Laumeister is CEO of AllWork.

Glenn Laumeister

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