The challenge of establishing trust in a fast-paced share economy
Whether it’s part time or full time, for fun or for income, gig work has attracted millions of workers by its flexibility, independence and convenience.
The digital and gig economies are forecasted for enormous growth with the continuous development of new mobile apps and on-demand services, including professional services; household services; and asset sharing such as Uber, Thumbtack, Airbnb and Postmates.
On-demand services are changing the way we live and work, have proven essential during the coronavirus pandemic, and will continue to expand as demand increases.
Many of those who have lost their jobs and whose finances have been impacted during the pandemic have turned to gig work for supplemental income. Freelancers now account for a larger proportion of the global workforce than ever before. In fact, freelance job postings have risen 41% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to 2019, as the global pandemic has shifted the ways we work and live.
But with the rise of these digital sharing platforms comes particular challenges for both gig workers and hirers.
Trust and safety are vital to the success of a gig economy. Whether hiring or looking to be hired, you need to know you can trust the people you are interacting with and they need to know they can trust you. Gig workers want to prove their competency and trustworthiness for the job, while hirers need to trust that the worker is qualified and has a background clean of criminal or fraudulent activity.
The cost of not truly knowing the background of each person you hire, or let into your home or around your family can be devastating. Studies show that two-thirds of people solely rely on preferences and word-of-mouth when selecting who to hire for things like home repair services. The problem is, even if a gig worker has a good peer reference, it’s difficult to measure their trustworthiness.
As gig work permeates every corner of the global economy, employers and hirers will need to find better solutions for vetting candidates quickly, reliably and continuously, while gig workers face the challenge of standing apart from the rest and proving they are the best choice suited fora role—without sharing any personally identifiable information.
So how can hirers vet the identities and experience of candidates, and how can gig workers prove they can be trusted?
The paradigm that needs to evolve is the archaic method of verifying a person’s identity and background. Running background checks with a third party can be expensive and time-consuming. Often, pulling a report can take multiple days, leaving hirers who need a quick, on-demand solution at a loss. Job assignments for gig workers are often urgent and require a fast-hiring process.
Once a traditional background report is obtained, few people are trained in evaluating past behavior to determine risk in a given situation based on the information in the report. Many background checks are not comprehensive and don’t take into account things like licenses and credentials or financial compliance without conducting several additional checks.
In addition, the exchange of sensitive data during the background check process puts gig workers at risk. Traditional background checks require workers to hand over personally identifiable information to the employer, such as their Social Security number, which puts themselves at risk of identity theft. Company data breaches are becoming increasingly common in the digital ecosystem, and some of the most recent data breaches have been the largest on record to date.
The gig economy and on-demand service platforms are only as good as their reputations, which are put to the test daily in every person-to-person transaction.
What the industry needs is a trust exchange. A solution where individuals can prove trustworthiness without putting themselves at risk. It is time that we drive a societal change in terms of safety, security, and personal responsibility.
We must put individuals back in control of their personal data and provide a turnkey trust network for the digital and gig economies to sustain and thrive. A change in the trust exchange economy is coming and we invite you to be a part of the journey.