Technology has already revolutionized the workplace, and now it's taking root in how businesses find employees. Jyve, a platform dedicated to connecting workers with employers, is a small business's avenue to what's being called the skill economy.
Unlike in the gig economy, where workers are locked into one role (like driving for Uber), the skill economy consists of workers who can be effective in several roles and build their skills as they take on new challenges in different workplaces. For small businesses, that means hiring workers to complete tasks instead of hiring full- or part-time employees.
"Most small to medium businesses do not have single roles that they need to be filled," said Brad Oberwager, CEO and co-founder of Jyve. "They usually need people with a variety of skills that can handle different tasks from day to day, and even hour to hour."
Access to a fluid talent pool, where workers hop from job to job and build experience, means small businesses can get quick tasks done without hiring another employee. While retail is its main vertical, Jyve's model could serve as a new type of employment for the future of small business.
How Jyve could change small business
Jyvers go through a certification process, shadow an experienced Jyver and go through an application process before they can start working. This vetting process ensures that small businesses are getting quality help. Right now, Jyvers complete tasks like stocking, ordering, auditing and display building. Oberwager said Jyve currently works with retailers, grocers and consumer packaged goods brands.
One of Jyve's main verticals is in-store execution. In-store execution, while a focus for companies with several storefronts, is the implementation and execution of retail strategies across store locations. This can include merchandising, in-store marketing programs, fulfillment and assisted sales. Jyve has carved a niche for itself in this area to start out, but Oberwager said it plans to "expand into new areas down the line."
That could mean more opportunity for small businesses to tap into the skills economy. In the short term, if you own a retail business or grocery store, partnering with Jyve grants you access to a valuable talent pool. If you own a different type of small business, you'll have to wait and see how Jyve expands. The big takeaway from the emergence of Jyve, however, is the skills economy and the impact it can have on small businesses.
Why the skill economy is good for small business
Tapping into a talented workforce without expending the resources to bring on another full- or part-time employee means small businesses can enjoy the productivity of a worker without the commitment. This allows small businesses to operate with small teams and tap into the skill economy when they need more support.
"In the skill economy, people can work in multiple roles and capacities based on their full skill set, and, more importantly, people can acquire new skills and broaden the number of roles that are available to them," Oberwager said.
While still growing, Jyve is among the first platforms to give businesses access to this kind of talent pool. The company pitches it as a win-win for businesses and Jyvers: Businesses get access to task-based labor, while Jyvers can enjoy fresh work environments, fast pay, and an opportunity to build skills and improve their resumes.
But it's far from the only task-based jobs market. Beyond the somewhat well-known TaskRabbit and Fiverr, Amazon's Mechanical Turk lists micro-jobs to its human intelligence tasks that remote workers complete for a fee, such as video processes and data verification.
Of course, some of these task-based job sites are much more niche in nature. For instance, Appen is a micro-job site for translation and language services. TryMyUI pays people $10 to navigate a website for about 20 minutes and then provide feedback. EasyShift jobs generally include taking photos of items in stores for consumer brands to track products.
While a promising idea, Jyve is currently only geared toward small business retailers and grocers. As the platform continues to expand, more small businesses will be able to tap into the skill economy.