01/27/2016 Molly Moseley

How Uber’s labor model is changing talent-acquisition


Uber reports it provides 1 million rides a day, so it’s likely you or someone you know has used the service to zip around town. Over the past few years, Uber has changed the way we travel, but it has also influenced the structure of business and challenged the idea of traditional employment as we know it.

Uber functions using an on-demand business model in which contracted drivers work independently and on their own schedule. This system has been so successful that other businesses have followed suit. Think about it — what can’t you get through an on-demand service? There’s DoorDash (food delivery), Luxe (parking and valet services), instacart (groceries), Drizly (liquor delivery) and so much more.

For recruiters, the trend of businesses offering on-demand service means tackling unique hurdles. Often the core skills of employees are easily transferable from one company to the next, so it’s important to attract the right talent before the competition can swoop in. Workers often jump around between Uber and Lyft or even work for both. It’s essential for recruiters to be heard by the right audiences and to keep them happy enough to stay working long-term.

If you’re a hiring manager at one of these companies, give yourself a recruiting edge by thinking strategically. To start, don’t put all your eggs in one basket when advertising job openings. Use multiple recruitment solutions to reach untapped talent pools and attract new people in different demographics. You must always be willing to try new sources to stay ahead of the competition.

Next, determine the various audiences you want to reach. Identify your target candidates and start marketing directly to those people. For example, I recently saw an Uber commercial marketing to the stay-at-home parent. It was all about working “after hours” or when your kids’ schedule permits. Bingo! This perfectly targets a specific audience and speaks directly to them while giving them key motivating points for applying.

How can you make jobs irresistible to new talent? Some good old-fashioned extras like sign-on and referral bonuses are highly effective. Additionally, don’t forget the application process itself. The majority of job seekers are using mobile devices, so consider offering a short-form application that is quick and easy to complete from a smartphone or tablet. You can always gather the remainder of the information needed if you’re interested in a candidate.

Of course, one of the biggest challenges is retention. With all of the competition you must face, you need to find a way to set yourself apart. Consider extras like benefits that are not typically offered by on-demand service companies. The more perks you can provide, the more loyalty you’ll earn from staff. (Bonus, they’ll become great brand ambassadors and will be more likely to recruit their friends to work as well.)

Over the next decade, it will be interesting to observe the evolution of on-demand service businesses. With new offerings emerging regularly, the challenges of attracting and retaining good employees will be top of mind for recruiters. To stand out, they absolutely must lead the pack with target marketing and unique benefits.

What other ways do you think these types of companies can attract and retain talent?

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