Over the past three years, MyWorkChoice has built a modular workforce, more than 20,000 strong across nine states. The concept is pretty simple:
MyWorkChoice connects companies that have shifting needs with workers who are looking to set their own hourly schedules.
As it turns out, that it's a successful business model during a global pandemic too.
“When I was building this, I had no idea it would serve that purpose,” says Tana Greene, CEO of Charlotte-based MyWorkChoice. “But it sure has been good keeping people employed.”
How is this playing out amid COVID-19? Take supermarkets, for example. Demand remains high and they need a growing force to keep shelves stocked. That's where MyWorkChoice steps in, providing talent that can work as little as four hours a week, as many as 40, and on average 24.5.
We recently sat down with Greene, to discuss the evolving needs of the economy and what it means to provide jobs at a time when people need them most.
Obviously, no one started 2020 expecting it to look like this. Where was your business before the pandemic started?
We were booming. We had expanded to nine states. In Q4 last year, we opened four of those states. We could hardly keep up with what was happening in our world.
From a business perspective, we have to deal with the clients, but we also have to take care of the people. We had clients that needed to scale. They needed a flexible and scalable workforce. Imagine I have to bring 400 or 500 people on in a week. We knew that this was our opportunity to shine while also taking care of people in need. The most exciting part is that we've connected a lot of furloughed people to work.
Why do you think MyWorkChoice's model has resonated at a time like this?
We are a contactless, virtual recruiting machine. Even though we built that for the flex worker and the way people want to work today, it really fills a need with COVID-19. We wanted to get people to work, that's our number one thing. And we wanted to help companies that needed help. Because we're virtual, we can hit a demand in a new city and onboard 400 or 500 new people in a week. We could do that before, but it means more now than ever.
For us, the ability to allow them to choose shifts has kept everybody working. If their kids are home from school or they have someone they need to take care of, flexibility is important. Flexibility was important before this, and has been during, but I think it's going to matter even more in the future.
What has it been like to operate your business on a day-to-day since all this started?
It's involved communications at a CEO level. It's been a real learning and “a-ha” moment. We've had challenges over the years, but this was a new one for all of us. The key was being flexible and able to adapt. That's what we built this for, to give people flexibility.
I've been sending out daily inspirational communications and I've been doing a weekly all-hands update virtually. Everybody comes into that call and it's been fantastic. The feedback has been, “We need to keep doing this.” Every week, people share stories and have an opportunity to participate. And we've gotten an opportunity to know each other even though we're physically apart.
What's your advice to other business owners out there trying to navigate the situation?
I really think that staying focused on your goals, despite the short-term setbacks, and always keeping those goals in mind, will get you there. This too shall pass. I had to be reminded of this, but I realized we have all been through tough times before. You have to position yourself for life after COVID-19 and prepare now for what comes next. That's the way you're going to get through this.
The focus in business, for at least the near future and beyond, is virtual. How do you see your industry evolving?
I think the trends in my particular industry are going to be virtual recruiting and flexibility. I believe that's where it's going. If you look back, the old days, companies would have needs and hire them when they had an opening, but that doesn't seem to work these days. I believe when you look at the future, due to COVID-19, technology is going to provide change making companies look faster than before. It's never going back to where it was before technology, and now after the pandemic, we're never going back.
It feels really good because you're helping both sides. And you're empowering a workforce that has never really had empowerment.
Because this is a human experience as much as a business one, I think this is an important question that I continue to ask: How are you doing, personally?
I have my quiet time every day, which is what I had before and I have it even more now. I just take time to journal and think. Exercise is number two but for me, I saw this really early on as an opportunity to grow as a leader. I'm not on airplanes, I'm not in cars all the time. I read a lot, listen to podcasts and learn myself. I think I'm going to come out a totally different, better leader on the other side.
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