The Deskless Workforce

Big parts of many large organizations’ workforces are deskless. Is there a way to connect them to your tech-reliant HR ecosystem if they don’t work with a computer?

By Adam Etzion, HR Analyst @ Gloat

September 16, 2020

deskless workforce

We often talk about the importance of connecting a company’s workforce through a democratized system that allows talent to shine regardless of title or position within the company; that’s the main idea behind opportunity marketplaces, and it’s revolutionizing the way we think about work and organizational structures.

But there’s an underlying assumption hidden under most of the talk around talent marketplaces; mainly, the assumption that the talent within the company routinely accesses a computer, and has enough time to maintain a profile in the system, browse through opportunities relevant to them throughout their workday, and interact with others in similar positions. For programmers, engineers and creatives this might be the case – but in many companies, it can leave huge segments of the workforce untapped; employees whose jobs require a presence on the ground, either moving from one location to another or carrying out more physical tasks that don’t require a monitor, mouse and keyboard. In short – deskless workers.

These people are just as valuable to their companies as their desk-working colleagues, and the untapped skills and perspectives they bring to the table can be just as important, not to mention – talent marketplaces increase employee engagement and retention, and there’s no reason these organizational benefits should be limited just to people working a desk job.

So how can companies tap into their deskless workforce and make them a part of the talent marketplace revolution?

Today, Everyone Has a Computer

The solution to the deskless workforce problem is actually quite obvious; extending the talent marketplace ecosystem to mobile platforms. Even if your deskless employees don’t touch a computer once during their entire career, in the world we live in today it’s fair to assume that they have a smartphone in their pocket. Implementing the talent marketplace in mobile app form actually makes sense for desk-workers as well – we all sometimes take a break from our computer monitor and check our phone; having the talent marketplace available there makes it more accessible and interaction with it more organic, no matter where you are.

But there’s another major benefit when switching to a mobile app: location services.

More Data, More Opportunities

Moving to mobile does more than just open up previously untapped talent – it also opens up new kinds of opportunities and networking options that wouldn’t be possible without it. With access to location services, for instance, employees using a talent marketplace app as they travel between different locations could be notified about opportunities at the site they’re visiting, be they short mentorships, gigs, or projects that are relevant to them.

This has the potential to massively boost communication and networking within the company, and provide all sorts of chances for employees to develop and grow professionally.

But if it all makes so much sense, why aren’t we seeing mobile applications of the talent marketplace already?

mobile app

New Tech, New Challenges

Talent marketplaces are a very new idea. As their implementation continues to take root in large enterprises, new needs, as well as new possibilities begin to open up. While a mobile talent marketplace app may seem like a no-brainer once you stop to consider the benefits that it brings, realizing the full potential of the talent marketplace as a technology and an idea still requires time and experimentation.

We have no doubt that we’ll be seeing many more novel ways to interact with and make the most of the talent marketplace and what it has to offer, realizing both the full potential of the workforce as well as the full potential of the technology it’s based on – but in the meantime, we’re excited to see what new and unexpected uses talent marketplace mobile apps will bring with them.

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