Five likely impacts of a CEDAH (Central Database of Available Hours)
- Skills: Being able to access a range of irregular work fosters “soft” skills in the local workforce. A stream of earning opportunities require basic computer skills, reliability and ability to discuss instructions. Those with high re-booking rates clearly have a solidity about their work that merits investment in more formal training. The CEDAH will show a manager which skills are available, hour-by-hour around his call center and link him to local workers who are readiest for upskilling according to his parameters.
- Hiring: “Try before you buy” can de-risk recruitment. Instead of relying on formal qualifications and interview skills, CEDAH workers flagging themselves as seeking full-time can be prioritized in bookings to, for example, deliver packages. The ones that work well can then be tagged for escalating hours until both sides are happy to create a formal job.
- Leavers: Ceasing employment can also be less of a cliff. An employee approaching retirement age can be offered the chance to sell her hours back to the firm at times of her choosing, perhaps with some guaranteed hours as incentive.
- Staffing-led opportunities: You own a specialist cough-sweet manufacturing plant. Running the production line requires people who blend ingredients, ensure quality, work the packing machine and dispatch the goods. You have a template on the CEDAH for numbers of people required against each role and an alert set for anytime outside normal hours when everyone on the list is available. Suddenly you are informed the mix of people you need is showing availability for Sunday. The total cost is displayed. A quick calculation of extra sales might have you clicking “Activate”.
- New businesses: A CEDAH makes it much easier to start a business: sell services through the CEDAH while doing other sorts of work until business can be full-time. If things go well, hire workers incrementally until it’s time to create jobs. Suppose bespoke tourist-guiding is a chosen niche. The CEDAH offers instant, no-cost, market entry allowing those bookings to be prioritized over other forms of work if you wish. Overwhelmed by bookings on public holidays? Find local CEDAH workers with customer service track records, book them for training then hire them as required.
Mega-burger have 25 fast food outlets in “Flexcity” (an area with a CEDAH); the same number in Tradtown (an area focused exclusively on job creation). Low costs are critical, but quality of service directly impacts footfall. Mega-burger’s scheduling system decides how many staff are required at each outlet at any time.
In Flexicity, the scheduler software links to CEDAH. The company has put 500 CEDAH workers through its 3 hours of basic paid training, ensuring only those who had done at least 5 successful bookings elsewhere qualified. Applicants also had to accept Mega’s contract, including fixed pay, in the CEDAH. The system scheduled training sessions when managers and facilities where available.
Now Mega’s managers have a core staff but thousands of pre-trained available hours each day. Because there are so many competing options for workers in the CEDAH, Mega has offered “guaranteed hours” to people in its pool who have completed 25 bookings in their restaurants. This arrangement specifies the company will buy at least 12 hours if the worker is available for at least 20 that week. It gives the caterer flexibility and ensures each worker is exposed to as many buyers and opportunities as possible at times when its uncertain if they will be needed for burger assembly. A track record of reliability for an anchor employer quickly shows up on the CEDAH, opening doors to more opportunity.
Managers in Tradtown, which has little interest in flexible work, are caught between the need to schedule in line with customer activity and rules imposed to protect workers who are scheduled top-down by their software. They have only a small core of staff who must be slotted around restaurant needs.
Employers gain data-driven flexibility from a CEDAH but workers are also uniquely empowered. The biggest challenge may be inducing them to stay when a CEDAH will tell them what skills they could most profitably acquire and effortlessly expose them to buyers across whatever sectors they wish. Retaining these informed workers may become a key HR objective.
Paying above market rates is one way to keep full-timers out of the CEDAH, and trained CEDAH workers out of other employers’ bookings. Soft benefits such as lounges for breaks, social events or worker discounts will help. There may also be options around personalized training packages that reward continued loyalty. But the days of employers taking workers for granted because the switching costs of finding alternative employment, particularly if it involved a new sector, were prohibitive could be over.