ITA Spotlight: Shiftgig
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Posted by: Gary Hotze
Wade Burgess, CEO, Shiftgig, @shiftgig
Putting the gig in gig economy and matching talent with opportunity, Shiftgig is proud to call Chicago home. Here's a view of our origin, our current mojo and a glimpse into how we see the future.
In 25 words or less, what is Shiftgig all about?
Shiftgig connects businesses with the on-demand workforce through our industry-leading mobile platform. Our technology provides financial opportunity for hourly workers seeking flexibility and choice while delivering mighty business agility to companies.
What problem do you solve and how do you address it better than the competition?
A growing percentage of the workforce is seeking greater flexibility and optionality in the way they work.
Today it can be difficult for people to find work opportunities that fit their schedule. The traditional nine-to-five workday doesn't offer time flexibility and location of company selection that many people now want and need. Shiftgig provides a quick and easy way to pick up work on demand, all from a mobile app. Workers choose when, where and for whom they want to work, giving them the opportunity to earn money on their terms, and on their schedule.
Many organizations also face the challenge of filling gaps in their workforce with quality and reliable workers, especially with fluctuating demand and seasonality. Shiftgig offers businesses in the foodservice, hospitality, retail, warehouse, and experiential marketing industries to tap into a pool of pre-vetted and skill-verified workers on demand. Our technology ensures our clients' shifts are only matched to workers who are qualified to do the job. Because Shiftgig's workers are empowered to pick up only the work they choose, we're able to offer our clients a more engaged, enthusiastic, and professional workforce.
Better than anyone in the human capital space today, Shiftgig's supply/demand marketplace dynamics solve for both of these problems simultaneously.
How did you get started?
Shiftgig was founded in 2011 by Eddie Lou, Jeff Pieta, and Sean Casey as a virtual job board for the service industry. In 2014, the organization pivoted, seeing great potential in the market for an on-demand, two-sided marketplace like we are today. More recently, Shiftgig welcomed me as their Chief Executive Officer to help continue our mission of connecting millions of people with millions of shifts.
As the former Vice President of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn, I've seen first hand what can happen when preparedness and opportunity meet. In LinkedIn's case, this meant creating economic opportunity for the world's professionals, and I look forward to focusing on the gig and hourly workforce with Shiftgig.
How has your company culture evolved as Shiftgig has grown?
As a company that began as a startup, we still encompass that collaborative, all hands on deck approach today. As we multiplied over the past several years, however, we've also learned that you can't continue to charge ahead at a hyper-growth pace without updating operational structures to keep pace. We are continually optimizing for today while putting the infrastructure in place for the next phase of our business.
What are your primary goals for Shiftgig?
Shiftgig's number one goal is to create economic opportunity for the hourly workforce. We strive to do this by connecting millions of people with millions of shifts. As CEO, my goal is to ensure we provide economic opportunity to this workforce in the most seamless, successful, and enjoyable way possible.
Where do you see Shiftgig in two years? Five? Ten?
Shiftgig's success will be proportional to our ability to align with, and in some ways to shape, the core of the gig economy. With 43% of the US workforce to be freelance or gig based by 2020, there are many business opportunities within this significant shift, in the way companies and workers interact. Shiftgig's core competency focuses currently on matching skills with needs. As the qualitative and quantitative data sets improve in this sector of the economy, our data science team will play an increasing role in optimizing the marketplace dynamics of the gig economy.
Projecting 5 to 10 years in a tech sector this new isn't likely to be as helpful as assuring that the strategy and technologies are nimble enough to pivot with the nearly inevitable dynamics that will evolve with the developing marketplace. Within two years there are three primary ways Shiftgig will connect flexible workers with organizations: 1) via a public marketplace where organizations post gigs and workers chose them 2) via private deployments of said technology with an organization's workforce and 3) via third party suppliers and consumers of talent.
What's the No. 1 thing on your to-do list?
My top priority for Shiftgig is to attract and retain world-class talent to our internal team. I believe hiring the best people will ensure we are offering the best technology and support for our workers and clients.
In your opinion, what are some of the pros and cons of being an Illinois business?
The values and work ethic that the Midwest encompasses are what makes Illinois a great state in which to do business. It also helps that Chicago's technology scene is booming, not only in pure play technology companies but within many industries where tech advancements are providing a material advantage. With many companies in the tech sector moving their offices and headquarters to the city, there are many opportunities for businesses to tap into new talent and partnerships.
Also, with top educational institutions throughout the state graduating promising students each year, Illinois businesses have the opportunity to bring in and develop this talent.
On the flip side, the tech boom Chicago is experiencing also means more competition for talent. We're finding that we not only must seek out the best talent but must also seek out the best in ourselves to sell them on joining our team.
What are the most significant challenges you face as you scale your business?
When you're growing as quickly as Shiftgig is, you'll find challenges both predictable and entirely novel. One problem that comes to mind is maintaining focus. It's easy to become distracted and follow the latest and greatest ideas, but it's essential that we assess and evaluate the areas where we can have the most impact.
Also with fast growth comes challenges with operational efficiency. One way we've overcome this so far is to hire experienced executives, directors, and managers who can help set up the processes we need to scale our business quickly.
This one is all you. Anything else you want to tell us?
My personal mission in life is to help people live better lives, and Shiftgig allows me to work towards this mission in a new way. One way to think about what we're doing: we're offering a lifestyle option that did not exist, or was difficult to manage before. Working when, where, and for whom you choose, at a compensation, you're entirely in agreement with is an exciting new option for many in the workforce. Empowering the gig economy in a way that helps both the producer and consumer of work is an inspiring thing to lean into each day.