[Article as per published on Digital News Asia]
- Staff hiring and retention woes can cause a business to tank
- Actively looking for seed funding to start regional expansion
THE retail, food and beverage (F&B), hospitality and events industries are often dogged by no-shows or unreliable employees – staffing woes that can scuttle their business.
This predicament is well understood by Singapore-based GrabJobs [URL corrected] cofounders Emmanuel Crouy and Mark Melo, who have invested in the F&B business on the side.
“You could have an excellent concept, location and menu, but your business can sometimes tank just because you have the wrong staff,” says Crouy, speaking to Digital News Asia (DNA) recently.
This major issue faced by Crouy’s own F&B investment, and most F&B outlets actually, led him to thinking of a platform that could address it.
“With my background in recruitment and computer science, I thought we could do an app similar to Grab or Uber where we can connect part-time job seekers to employers instantly.
“That’s how GrabJobs came about,” he says.
Crouy claims reception has been overwhelming since the app launched in December 2015, with 200 employers and more than 2,600 part-timers currently on board.
The initial plan was to do a soft launch over one month, and get 20 employers and 100 part-timers on board, followed by a period to refine the app, he says.
However, the response was a lot more than expected, he claims, adding that in less than a month, more than 1,000 part-timers and over 100 clients signed up.
Mandatory performance rating
There is no screening when a part-timer signs up and creates a profile on GrabJobs.
Instead, the app relies on an employer to give a job performance review after a part-timer completes an assignment.
“The unique feature we have in this app is that we have a performance review system,” says Crouy.
A job-seeker starts without a rating, and can only build his or her rating up with successful job completions.
“You will clearly see who the reliable or unreliable ones are. We already have cases where part-timers didn’t show up and they got a one-star rating, and no-one’s going to hire them again.
“We also have reliable part-timers … with five-star ratings,” he adds.
The rating is mandatory for employers, failing which the app tells them to do so before allowing them to look for more part-timers.
“It’s a simple rating system – you put in the number of stars according to the four criteria of experience, communications, presentation and attitude, and you can even insert text as well,” says Crouy.
Cash bonus for part-timers
GrabJobs currently also gives incentives for part-timers to do a good job for their employers.
“We actually incentivise them to perform well, like giving them a cash bonus for well-rated jobs they complete. For example, if they complete five jobs with at least a four-star rating, we give them S$20 (US$14) cash,” says Crouy.
The money might not be much, but it is equivalent to a few hours’ work, with part-time salaries in Singapore ranging from S$6 to S$8 (US$4 to US$5) per hour.
“If they continue to get good ratings, they will continue to get jobs through our app and earn more money,” says Crouy.
“The ratings give them a sense of accountability and responsibility that they otherwise might not get,” he adds.
Challenges and plans
GrabJobs’ answer to services staffing woes
The biggest challenge so far for the founders has been in time management when it comes to meeting employers and getting them on board, since GrabJobs does not yet have a full-time team, according to Crouy.
“So it’s just Mark [Melo] and me doing everything. Right now we have 100% success when we meet them [employers]. They typically download the app and use it,” he claims.
“For employers, we noticed that digital marketing doesn’t work as well as for the part-timers. What works is calling them and meeting them face to face.
“We just hired two full-time business development and sales people this week, and they are tasked with meeting these employers on a full-time basis,” he adds.
GrabJobs plans to roll out more features for its app.
“One of the big ones we will be rolling out is a chat system, where employers and job-seekers can exchange messages, something the popular job apps in Europe already have,” says Crouy.
“We are potentially expanding to full-time jobs,” he adds.
GrabJobs is also looking into regional expansion, with its sights set on either another country in South-East Asia, or all the way to Australia, by the August timeframe.
GrabJobs is currently self-funded, but is actively looking for additional funding, according to Crouy.
“We are looking for seed funding to start our expansion, about S$500,000 (US$361,000) by June,” he says.
The app is currently free for both employers and job-seekers, but there is an intention to monetise it on the employers’ end, according to Crouy.
“Initially we wanted to do pay-per-hire, where it is free for employers to post jobs and they only pay when they hire.
“The issue with that is we quickly saw that if you can post jobs for free, you get a lot of spam, similar to GumTree or Facebook. You see people posting 20 times about the same job.
“We [will] switch to a pay-per-post model. It is something we will introduce in April. Right now, the app is free and we always offer a free trial,” he says.
The cost of posting a job advertisement will range between S$8 and S$12 (US$5 to US$8) for employers. Job-seekers will likely see the job ads for free.