By: George Lessmeister, CEO and founder of LGC
Technology is critical to continuous improvement, which is probably why Gartner predicts companies worldwide will will make an IT expenditure of $3.9 trillion in 2021, up 6% from last year. But are companies spending money on IT wisely? A March Wall Street Journal article examined company tech expenditures and found companies waste money on tech spending. This article struck a chord with our company since we had just completed a poll about an app we’ve been using in business operations.
LGC is a national staffing firm that works within the hospitality industry. We help hospitality companies fill open shifts with temporary staff. In 2019, our team entered into a proprietary agreement with Shiftgig to bring the app to our staffing processes. Our goal was to make job-order posting for clients and confirmations for gig workers easier. The technology allows hospitality business clients to self-enter gig jobs for workers to see immediately and allows gig workers to easily confirm work for these open shifts.
Being a first-time app-using company, we decided to ask users—gig workers and LGC staff— if the app was working well for them. So we took a poll during the first week of March 2021. Their feedback confirmed we made a smart investment, but it also brought to our attention that there were also areas for improvement. Here is what we found.
The App Simplifies Temp Staffing
Whether staffing for banquets, a front desk, bars or housekeeping, giving temporary workers easy, visible access to available gig jobs not only benefits them, it also benefits operations. Nearly 55% of gig workers polled told us our app improves their ability to book jobs. More importantly, during the pandemic, nearly 53% were able to find new opportunities. One gig worker said, “It gives me the opportunity to ensure I'm always working and never out of work.”
The App Saves Time, Streamlines Operations
A traditional hospitality temp staffing process goes like this: First, get the order from the business customer, next, put it into a computer, then, call gig workers and play voicemail tag, and finally confirm jobs. Our app streamlines this process for everyone.
In fact, one of our team members told us: “The app helps us manage business better, so we can devote more time on the things that make real long-term business impact.” Others agree with more than 73% of LGC staff polled stating that the app has changed how they work. Gig workers responded favorably as well. In the poll, nearly 74% of gig workers said the app gives easy access to jobs, allowing them to find new opportunities.
The App Feedback and Reality
While we would have loved for our survey to only return positive feedback, that simply wasn’t the case. What we did discover was valuable to improving how the app operates. For instance, we learned that the app makes it too easy for gig workers to drop a shift. About 50% of our LGC staff reported this challenge.
Additionally, we learned this app may not be perfect for every market and every client. And that’s ok. Our team operates in nearly 40 markets across the country. In smaller markets, this tool is well received. In these markets, our team offices are generally staffed with just a few professionals who have several operational roles. Our hospitality clients in these smaller markets appreciate being able to use the app to self-enter jobs and hire temporary staff.
However, when working with top-tier clients and in larger markets, our team told us asking business clients to enter their own job openings simply isn’t good business. They reminded us technology should not replace the human-centric business relationship.
Leveraging What We Learned
Misunderstanding the customer and how they use your technology can equal sunk cost. As the above mentioned Wall Street Journal article says, “Sometimes companies go for technology based on what it seems customers want—without realizing that their assumptions are off base.”
By polling the users of our app, LGC uncovered opportunities to improve. This was important to us because the staffing industry is a relationship business. We want to make it as easy as possible to build client relationships. We also don't’ want to sink cash into a technology initiative that isn’t useful to our team, our clients or gig workers.
The question for you is: Are you willing to find out what’s working, and what isn’t, in your technology to make continuous improvements?