SHRMLabs Better Workplaces Challenge Cup Finalist: WorkWhile

This platform connects hourly workers to shifts that fit their needs

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer August 31, 2021
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​The inaugural SHRMLabs Better Workplaces Challenge Cup competition highlights the most innovative HR technology solutions from companies across the U.S.

The five finalists were selected from 150 initial submissions and stood out among 51 regional finalists. They will go on to make their last pitch to a panel of judges, including Daymond John, award-winning entrepreneur and star of ABC's "Shark Tank," as well as an audience of investors, leading HR professionals, fellow innovators and the media. The pitch fest will be held Sept. 10 at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2021, and the winner will be announced from the main stage Sept. 11 by SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP.

Here's a look at one of the finalists: WorkWhile, an on-demand staffing firm with an hourly labor platform based in San Francisco. Jarah Euston

Jarah Euston, co-founder and CEO of WorkWhile, spoke with SHRM Online about the product and how it improves work and the practice of human resources.

SHRM Online: What does your product do?

Euston: WorkWhile's mission is to help hourly workers earn a better living and live better lives. We use cognitive science and behavioral testing to find the best hourly workers and then match them with shifts that fit their skills, location and life. Businesses get access to a quality workforce, while workers get stable income and unmatched benefits.

The WorkWhile platform screens workers at scale. Our algorithm matches workers to relevant shifts. Workers upload proof of certifications, safety cards or vaccination to share with clients. Our all-digital platform makes reviews easy and creates a powerful feedback loop to match the right worker to the right shift.

We've developed technology and data models that enable us to pay our workers 24 hours after clocking out of a shift. This helps support our workers who need this access to their earnings. This year, we launched an innovative telehealth benefit that puts a doctor in workers' pockets—available free of charge to our workers to both support them and keep the best workers retained on our platform.

SHRM Online: How does your technology improve the workplace?

Euston: A recent McKinsey study found that 62 percent of so-called "gig workers" want to be permanent, while 70 percent of companies plan to use more temporary labor. It would seem the needs of businesses and workers are in conflict, making hiring and retention challenging. We hear from workers all the time that their rent payment doesn't change, so it's frustrating when their hours do. At the same time, workers need some flexibility to take care of life when it happens, and of course businesses need to match labor and production needs.

Our screening ensures that only the most motivated 70 percent of candidates make it onto the platform, while our data models allow us to predict performance with confidence. We can process thousands of candidates a day. Technology also allows us to track location to confirm time and attendance and provide innovative benefits like next-day pay and telehealth services.

Our customers appreciate that there is no paperwork required to work with us. Work can be requested with a few clicks, and feedback is easy through our web portal, or customers can integrate WorkWhile into their systems with our powerful application programming interfaces.

SHRM Online: What specific HR problem does the technology solve?

Euston: The No. 1 issue we solve for HR leaders is time—time spent recruiting, interviewing and following up, hoping to hit your staffing targets. Especially in today's market, time spent competing for talent is time not spent being more strategic. Technology allows us to have the scale that most businesses can't match, so we can connect them to the right talent faster.

Companies use WorkWhile to access talent in three ways:

1. Contingent workforce management.

2. Temp-to-hire assignments.

3. On-demand labor.

Our technology tools make it easy to provide real-time feedback to quickly find the right talent for your roles. More and more companies are abandoning traditional recruiting models in favor of "auditions," where workers can try the job before converting to a full-time hire. We find the faster a candidate can get to work and get paid, the more likely they are to stick around. The result is better outcomes for businesses and workers.

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