GIG economy; increase in contract-based jobs
"It is a win-win situation for both sides where remote employees don't have to worry about getting their next client and employers don't have to worry about quality issues faced on freelancer marketplaces." Neelesh Rangwani, Co-founder, Wishup
Q1. According to you, How is GIG economy bringing the stability in jobs with the help of startups?
Gig economy based startups like Upwork, Fiverr are open marketplaces which connect service providers with customers. Though they do have their fan base, they have not been able to enjoy the expected and utmost confidence of their clientele due to the lack of quality output regulation on these platforms.
In a free market with unregulated demand and surplus supply, how does an employer ensure that the remote employee will give the desired work output? How do they know how knowledgeable, trained or skilled the remote employee is? This is where Wishup.co is trying to change the entire concept of gigs and remote working. Our Virtual Employees are highly skilled and vetted full-time employees working from a remote location with all the advantages of a gig economy.
On the other hand, for an employee, consistency in terms of job availability to sustain a stable income and way of life is paramount. We have been able to introduce stability by improvising the concept of remote working. We hire talented professionals with previous work experience and great work ethics. We not only train our remote workforce and upskill them but we also take care of the different aspects of client acquisition. This rids the remote employee of any uncertainty in the workflow.
So it is a win-win situation for both sides where remote employees don't have to worry about getting their next client and employers don't have to worry about quality issues faced on freelancer marketplaces.
To give an example, cab aggregators brought stability to drivers community and service marketplaces did the same to service professionals. Similarly, freelancer marketplaces are changing the scenario and have brought stability to white collared work from home professionals.
Q2.What are your expansion plans for the near future?
We want to expand in three ways - geography, skills, and type of customers.
- We see a huge organic demand from the developed economies. In the US, the term virtual assistant is more than a decade old. Australia and the UK are not far behind. We plan to tap on these huge markets with better quality talent and a lower price point. Price arbitrage is going to be the key growth driver in geographic expansion.
- Next, we want to expand the number of skills we offer through our platform. We entered the market with Virtual Assistants offering support with administrative level (Category 1) tasks like calendar management, meetings set-up, travel planning, account management. etc. However, we have been getting more demand for higher skilled online tasks (Category 2) like database building, e-mail marketing, social media, web research and expertise tasks (Category 3) like SEO, content development, web design, sales, digital marketing and more.
This is also the reason why we want to call our workforce as virtual employees instead of the traditionally used name virtual assistant (or VA) because I feel the term VA is very limiting considering the range of services that we will offer.
- Lastly, we also plan to reach out to corporate and large B2B clients apart from our current focus which is startups, small businesses, and self-employed individuals for their tasks.
Q3. Has Wishup.co initiated any Skill developing programme provision for employees?
The core philosophy of operations at Wishup.co is skill development.
Wishup.co arguably has one of the topmost skill development programmes which runs through multiple stages across the lifecycle of an employee.
- A rigorous 2-month Induction training program: Thorough training in more than 70 skills & tasks including business communication, project management & internet tasks like social media management, etc. The training program is conducted online through virtual classrooms and using online collaboration tools with various completion tests to measure the job readiness of each employee.
- An on-the-job learning program: The training module is constantly updated with the new skills learned by different virtual employees in their jobs. The virtual employees are trained for all additional skills by seniors/trainers in regular sessions.
- Virtual classroom sessions: Frequent sessions are organized with senior industry experts where virtual employees can interact virtually with them to learn about the latest trends and niche topics.
Q4.How would you define the growth and future of GIG economy?
According to the US State of Remote Work 2018 study conducted by Buffer, more than 90% of respondents said they intend to work remotely for the rest of their careers. Industry experts predict that by 2020 more than 50% of the US workforce would work remotely and about 43% would be freelancers. My personal opinion is that more half of the global workforce would be working remotely over the next decade.
The future looks very bright for remote working. With the advent of collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, Trello, Github, Jeera, and more cloud-based services, employees can work from the comfort of their homes, do flexible hours, save on commute time, increase productivity and have a great work-life balance while employers can get access to talent from across the world and save on overhead costs like office space, Internet, laptops.
Earlier people would believe when someone said ‘you can’t have it all’. Today we are moving to times where ‘we can have it all and much more’.
Q5. Do you think technology has majorly changed the criteria of recruiting talent?
At Wishup.co, we assess all candidates (irrespective of the role) on something called Digital Quotient (DQ), a way of measuring a candidate's comfort with the Internet - the ability to leverage the power of the Internet to get work done faster and better, work with social media, learn new tools for project management and collaboration etc.
And technology has brought about a big change in the process itself.
- Accelerated reach to a much wider talent pool: an instant click gives access to millions of candidates.
- Access to global talent: global & varied skills at low costs with the click of a button
- Even the evaluation procedure has become much faster given the technological advancements over the past decade.
Today, we can simultaneously assess multiple candidates globally, without the need for human intervention at most steps. The initial verification & filtration of profiles is done using social media and reference checks. All further interview rounds are conducted remotely using recorded video interviews, video monitoring of assignments, online timed skill tests and online collaboration tools without the need of having live human checks!
For e.g. to check communication, even a simple application email can be a filter and provide an insight into the skill level of the candidate.
Q6.What are the three essential qualities of a leader you think everyone should adopt?
- An eye for talent: A team is as strong as your weakest team member. As technology has helped in the faster discovery of a wider pool of talent, it has also increased noise. With a higher number of applicants, it has become extremely important for a great leader to identify great team members. An eye for good talent is becoming increasingly important for today's leaders. Apart from identifying good skills, it is also important to identify great professional ethics in potential team members, a trait rarely found in emerging economies.
- Empathy and trust: Most leaders learn it the hard way that an organization is not built with just technology, processes, and numbers, but it's built with people who make that organization. Empathy and trust are some of the most important people management traits that a leader must have. A leader needs to understand the strengths and weaknesses of every team member along with understanding their individual
personalities to get the best out of them. A leader must also consistently work towards trust building within the team and with each member. A team that is able to trust is a team that triumphs.
- Communication: To err is 'human', to miscommunicate is 'a bunch of humans'. Most of the delays, mistakes, and friction within an organization happens because of communication issues. Moreover, in a remote or virtual setup, it becomes even more important to express your ideas, plans, and thoughts clearly and conspicuously to other members. To get the best output without compromising on speed, a leader has to be a great communicator and a moderator in the team. A leader is one who should not only express himself well but should also able to understand others' thoughts and share it with the team effectively.