The on-demand economy is huge in the marketplace right now. And it’s no surprise that it’s only going to keep growing. With the rise of smartphones and mobile tech, it’s easier than ever for a consumer to connect with providers who can best meet their needs. Companies who source the goods and services they offer from independent contractors, matching customer demand with workers who can meet the need on the fly, are very well equipped to take advantage of the trend.
The successes of businesses such as Uber have inspired many more on-demand business ventures, but this business model can be challenging to implement effectively. When your workforce is composed of independent contractors, who set their own schedules based on consumer need, it can be difficult to offer a cohesive standard of service. And the stakes are high.
The importance of good training to consistency, and the challenges of training contractors
The contractors delivering their products are providing most of the customer experience. For the business to succeed, the providers themselves must succeed on an individual level.
However, although contractors as service providers create flexibility and scalability, independent contractors also pose a major challenge because their training is typically voluntary. An independent contractor isn’t likely to undergo training if they feel it won’t directly impact their bottom line. This means that it isn’t enough for training to simply be offered for it to have an effect. It must be relevant, engaging and streamlined. The good news is that if a training program can meet these qualifications, it can make a big impact on the quality of service delivered.
Factors for training success
What factors can help training in an on-demand economy be successful? First, training should be integrated into the providers’ actual workload as seamlessly as possible. An on-demand work model leaves little time or motivation for spending unpaid hours logged on to a third-party LMS.
Learners are more likely to access training courses when they are built into their respective work platforms. For example, consider a setup where a training course can be integrated with minimal friction into the process of task assignment. The worker can then complete training in between tasks, or while waiting for a customer. Seamless, streamlined training not only removes friction, it also helps providers stay aligned with the company brand.
Second, training should take advantage of trends that align well with the on-demand model. One example of a trend that would work particularly well with on-demand training is microlearning. By breaking information down into short, manageable chunks, workers can easily integrate learning into their schedules without detracting from the time they need to take on the amount of desired tasks. Exploratory learning, as opposed to linear courses, also makes for a great fit, as workers can direct their focus to the training that is most interesting and valuable to them.
Third, and perhaps most important, training must be immediately and recognizably relevant to the tasks providers complete as part of their work. If training isn’t relevant enough, workers will not find it worth their time. There must be a clear incentive: if they complete their training and improve their skills, they can watch their revenue rise. Because provider success is so tightly tied to company success, task-relevant training should be a top priority when considering how to raise company-wide service standards.
An on-demand company’s standard of training can make or break the business venture. With the market growing and becoming more competitive, engaging and relevant training is a must to ensure success.