Many discussions within the gig economy focus on platforms connecting the individual demander with an individual supplier. The one-on-one transaction. A taxi driver and a traveller, a cleaning lady with a private citizen, and the babysitter with a family with children. Platforms lower the threshold for these kind of activities and pave the way for markets to grow. It has caught my eye that recently such discussions mainly focus on the individual client. There is hardly any word on the opportunities such platform developments could offer to business clients.
Slightly over a year ago, I travelled to Copenhagen to meet up with the founder of gig platform Meploy. Initially founded as a platform to connect freelancers to businesses for short term gigs, it soon they made an interesting switch. By converting to a staffing model, they hired the ones who would execute the gigs and became a completely digital first employment agency.
I kept following Michael, Meploy’s founder, and met him several times throughout Europe, just like last Thursday in Brussels. He told me they now facilitate fixed clients with their complete flexible hiring. And during last year only they have grown by a factor of 10.
Meploy is a platform that more or less shows how I expect the gig economy —though I rather call it the platforms facilitating the organization of work— to develop over the next couple of years. Beginning with the facilitation of gigs for (and between) consumers, slowly evolving to a means of organizing the flexible shell of organizations, whether or not white label. This is highly interesting to organizations, because the benefits of those platforms in lowering their transaction costs can now also be applied to a business HR environment.
Besides taking the flexible shell into their own system, another extra interesting plus for the organization is that it can additionally benefit from the platform’s talent pool. In doing so, the platform takes over the whole organization flow of the flexible shell. This development may have an considerable impact on the temporary work agency sector. Whether this impact will turn out to be an opportunity or threat is to be determined by the industry itself. This area of the gig economy has not yet been part of the discussion, but will, in my opinion, have great impact in the near future.
P.s. A couple days ahead of my conversation with Michael, I read his latest blog in which he announced to yearly share 10% of the companies profit among those that worked through the platform over that year. He has given thought to a cooperative model, but with the impermanent relation to workers on the platform, it would not provide any added value in his opinion. With this, I believe he has created a finely unique solution.
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