Gigging on Pokemon Go: How the Staffing Industry Can Win the Talent War

pokemon-1543353_640The talent war rages on. In today’s gig economy, digital worker platforms are driving new levels of talent competition in the staffing industry. Retaining and attracting the best talent is key. Novel strategies abound for retaining and attracting the best and brightest, including ensuring quick and easy access to earnings and a steady stream of work. What about other strategies? What about making work more fun for the worker?

Enter Pokemon Go, a location-based augmented reality game, where players use a mobile device’s GPS to locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures called Pokemon. The power of the platform has proven incredible with 100 million downloads since its release and off the charts user engagement. The game’s ability to bridge the digital-physical divide has enabled it to not only grab users’ attention, but keep it. Quite literally, Pokemon Go has opened Pandora’s augmented reality box.

Pokemon Go is just an example of the power of augmented reality within the gaming industry. Numerous industries can learn from its meteoric success and find new and innovative ways to engage mass audiences with augmented reality.

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The staffing industry, notably in the gig worker segment, has already responded. Uber drivers are capitalizing on the Pokemon Go craze by offering their services to drive players around to cover more ground quicker, increasing the players’ ability to capture the various species shown in the game. Other independent contractor services offered include Pokemon Go trainers to help you athletically-prepare for the endurance needed to hunt species for long periods of time, bodyguards to protect you from being robbed or jumped while playing, tour guides to show you around new cities should you be traveling while playing the game, and even a Siberian Husky dog whose owner claims “has the special ability to attract rare Pokemon.”

So, what does this mean for the staffing industry moving forward? The future of work has the potential to be built on the back of augmented reality. Currently, the game is free to play. The rewards players gain are internet points and notoriety at capturing rare Pokemon – yet the craze continues. What would happen if these users (workers) were paid to play the game (while working)?

Take this scenario into consideration: An Instacart delivery worker needs to complete a delivery, and Instacart, the platform, needs to ensure the delivery goes smoothly and efficiently. Currently, this is all done within a boring checklist-like workflow. Bring augmented reality into the picture (literally), e.g., Pokemon Go-style, and a worker’s job would automatically become more interesting, engaging and increase worker happiness.

This is just one example of a workflow that could be made more fun by incorporating elements of augmented reality, and just one industry that would benefit from worker satisfaction and retention.

There are certainly challenges to implementing these workflows. For instance, mapping a real world task to a gaming environment is currently a huge hurdle to overcome. However, the potential is perceptibly massive. As the staffing industry becomes more and more tech-centered, as recently evidenced by the acquisition of technology platform Twago by Randstand, the possibility for the staffing industry to have the tech resources needed to execute this potential is tangibly there. The winner of today’s talent war will be the next company that looks outside their industry to capitalize on trends and technologies that can propel their business and workforce to the next level. Augmented reality offers an exciting strategy for domination on the field of battle in the war for talent.

MORE: Regulating the Gig Economy

Johnny Reinsch

Johnny Reinsch
Johnny Reinsch is co-founder and CEO of Qwil.

Johnny Reinsch

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