The growth of the sharing economy is imperative. It’s evident in numbers ($15 billion in 2014 to $335 billion projected for 2025*) (Source:Forbes) and in the growing belief in owning less and sharing more. Moreover, technology has gone mainstream to enable platforms that make sharing economy such a hit. It’ll be hard to jog your memory about the last time you had to dial another human to get you a cab or to deliver your food.
Let’s look at the growth figures of successful sharing economy platforms in India – Uber with 30% more revenue in 2019 and food delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato with a 7% growth in installs last year.(Source:inc42 ) While the future looks promising, concerns around customer safety could prove to be a roadblock. A basic Google search on keywords ‘2019+cabs+crime+India’, validates this concern.
Factoring in surge in the incidents of crime committed by workforce in the sharing economy, a major pillar that supports this delicately evolving economy, it’s safe to conclude that the growth further hangs by a thread. The onus of finding trustworthiness of the person mediating between a customer and a business lies almost entirely on the latter and that is a tricky situation to be in.
Competitiveness in the sharing economy necessitates thoroughly vetting the staff (drivers, delivery boys, home improvement professionals etc.) to prove assets and not liabilities. The primary step in this direction is hiring efficient workforce with a clean background.The Annual Discrepancy Trend report by AuthBridge, however, shows that 3 out of every 100 candidates screened in the sharing economy had some criminal or civil case against them. This figure must raise red flags for all the players in the gig economy, who have an additional challenge of
1) onboarding their staff quickly to
2) keeping up the supply with the raising demand and
3) avoiding subjecting potential employees to friction and consequently losing them to competition.
The high attrition trend and the subsequent loss of opportunity isn’t helping anyone either. In the absence of a centralized body that can aid certification of skills, character and suitability for a job, like the Disclosure and Barring Service in the UK, the concerns of sharing economy businesses in India becomes more profound.
When customers interact with sharing economy brands, they expect these platforms would’ve done their job in mitigating risks that they are exposed to by allowing these service providers into their intimate spaces. While many sharing economy businesses are proficient in providing a robust platform – ease of booking/ordering, a peer review system, 24/7 customer support etc., they find it daunting or are ill-equipped to enable trust on two fundamental aspects – establishing identity and criminal background of their workforce.
It’s common knowledge that India is going through an unprecedented digital revolution riding on the back of technological advancements. Following the example of developed nations, the online availability of major databases such as civil litigation database, regulatory compliance database and criminal database is becoming a cornerstone in establishing trust between an employer and an employee here too.
The catch is that due to lack of awareness, most employees still don’t comprehend the extent to which verification has been simplified. It’s common for them to make uninformed, inefficient and often expensive choices in the pursuit of complying with the tightening scrutiny of the law and policy makers. The Delhi High Court, for instance, acted on a PIL by an NGO in August 2019 and sought response of the Delhi government and taxi aggregators with respect to adherence to the city taxi scheme of 2015. The plea referred to news reports of instances where safety and security of passengers, including women, have been put at risk by the conduct of the drivers of app-based cabs.
Answering the fundamental questions about the identity and criminal history of the gig partners doesn’t have to be a time-consuming and hassling process. We, for one, are working towards bringing speed, accuracy and reliability to the hiring and onboarding process in the sharing economy. We understand this space and know the exact parameters needed to be authenticated for establishing trust in a gig employee. Our customized solution –StaffAssure™– puts all verification essentials for a blue-collar employee in a package to be taken off the shelf. With StaffAssure™, Instant Identity Verification of national IDs is possible in real time whereas criminal history can be verified in just few hours.
Our method of verification is highly tech driven. The strength of our authentication solution lies in our proprietary database of negative record supported by technologies like AI, ML and deep search algorithms. Further, one needs to only sign up on our end-to-end platform -iBridge™- to start bulk upload of cases or integrate compatible APIs to their systems.
In the times, where consumers have come to expect their cabs and facials booked in seconds and their food delivered in under 30 minutes, it is significant for businesses to be sure that they are riding on the back of workforce that can deliver, and deliver without harm, intentional or unintentional. When it comes to the sharing economy, the famous Russian proverb ‘Trust, but verify’ really does translate to ‘Trust, verify and with speed.
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