NEW YORK—Dealing with low staffing issues can be a real headache, and finding a skilled temp to fill a last-minute no-show for a shift is an even bigger challenge for hospitality venues. To remedy the situation, hoteliers can spend hours calling around to find a replacement in a pinch or deal with agencies that may over-promise and under-deliver on capable talent.
Jitjatjo, an on-demand solution provider based here, has launched an app designed to deliver “instant staffing at your fingertips” for hospitality and provide “flexible work and instant pay” to temporary staff, according to the company. With 30 years in the industry and an interest in two technology companies, co-founder Ron McCulloch has seen his fair share of staffing issues and realized it was time to fix the problem—and he had the resources to do just that.
“Staffing is a very difficult part of the equation, particularly with multiple venues, and most of the problems that happen occur last minute or as you’re in operation mode,” said McCulloch. “Technology has a lot to offer in solving immediate problems and introducing intelligence. From an operator standpoint, I saw quickly we could harness the knowledge and key factors involved in making decisions on staffing issues, and it was a powerful future to go after.”
To get started, hospitality venues simply input the details of the job and the app can book talent in about 30 seconds. Jitjatjo will also analyze the booking to curate the best talent for the position based on location, experience, availability, ratings and more. Jitjatjo puts the power in the hands of businesses by enabling them to dictate specific requirements such as a dress code or brand-centric instructions. Additional features of the app include location status, group messaging and the ability to track the temp’s start and end time of a shift. The Jitjatjo app is free and can be downloaded via iTunes and Google Play.
“Our staffing point was to automate the process as much as we could to offer an instant utility,” said McCulloch. “We have the regular staffing process you expect, but virtually all of these steps an applicant has to follow is actually done on the app. At the end of the process, we have a face-to-face interview and all the other elements are repeat elements automated into the app itself.”
Will businesses trust an app to handle the hiring process? Think of it as an Uber for hailing ready, willing and—most importantly—experienced hospitality staff that have already been vetted for your business. The proof is in the buy-ins. Just a few months after the app’s launch, Jitjatjo has cultivated a diverse roster of clientele to include bars, restaurants and hotels in New York. McCulloch stresses this point: Jitjatjo is a technology company focused on a service and sector, not the other way around.
“The benefit for us is that we can scale pretty well. We’ve spent a long time perfecting workflow and everything we need is in place before onboarding the talent we’ve located. As soon as that happens, we are in position to offer that talent automatically to our client base,” he said. “The key facet here is each of the steps we’ve taken to bring the staff with the right categories and experience. Once that’s all done, the key differentiator in how we handle the demand side is that we do not broadcast out the requirement to a group of individuals. Inside the platform, the algorithm itself considers who is requiring the resource and exactly who is the best fit for that. The app allocates it out to an individual.”
On the talent side, McCulloch noted that they have already pre-committed to their availability and the system is quick to respond. “We already know the availability of the talent across the various categories we provide and we know the relativity between all of the different talent we have,” he said. “The system itself can do the work it would do automatically to find the best person at that time.”
Keeping the entire process transparent, the Jitjatjo app enables the employer and the talent to provide a rating for the particular gig. It adds a layer of influence and accuracy, he explained. By doing so, the system is fully up-to-date at the end of every shift and illustrates how the talent is doing and the status of the employer-staff relationship.
“The reason you wouldn’t try and utilize a temp staffing agency is because the relationship isn’t there. As proven by other marketplaces, the fact that we can legitimize the transaction through the relationships we have with the talent and move it forward to the employer is added assurance,” he said. “It’s also an incentive for the temporary staff to perform to the best of their ability because they’re doing gigs for us on a regular basis. Businesses can get the best performance they can expect from that talent.”
According to McCulloch, the benefits of the Jitjatjo app for hoteliers include consistency, cost savings and reliability.
“In terms of staffing, there is a huge ability to influence what you’re spending on a week-to-week basis and that has to be judged against a full-time roster in place. In a business that’s got peaks and troughs and is not level, trying to work out staffing schedules is challenging,” he said. “There’s never been an ability to get on-demand staff at a level you can rely on. Only now have on-demand resources been available, such as Uber for transportation and Jitjatjo for hospitality staffing. We’re a trustworthy source of on-demand staff—not only do we have categories across the requirements recognizable to hoteliers, bars or restaurant operators, we have tiers within that a structure to allocate and find resources you’d want.”
As more businesses become tech-enabled, the app allows for a different approach to meeting staff needs on a weekend or a busy period. “You won’t have to overstaff to compensate for peaks and troughs in business,” he said. “You can concentrate on the front-end of the business instead of hours on the phone trying to resolve staffing issues in a short period of time.” HB