Frankly, I cannot even recall the last time I called a cab. After each ride, the application asks you a question: Are you satisfied with your ride? Sure – five stars out of five. Are you dissatisfied with your hotel? Was it not clean enough? That’s true, it could have been better – rating: three stars.
Easy, right? Not quite. After all, it would be unwise to expect a rating that is impulsive by definition to also be reliable and generated without emotion. What does it mean that the ride was ‘satisfactory’? Does it mean that the driver got you to the train station on time despite numerous and blatant violations of road traffic regulations? Perhaps the hotel room was clean, but an argument with your employer made you angry and caused you to rate it 3 stars.
By the way, few people know that just as we rate our drivers so do they, in turn, rate us…
But let’s start from the beginning…
It would actually be really difficult to determine the exact moment where rating everything became the norm. In Poland, the beginning of rating could be traced back to the boom of the largest online auction platform – Allegro. The rating system itself at that time was simple, clear and transparent. On the most basic level, the rating system could be summarised as follows: you are an honest seller/buyer, you receive a comment and a rating: positive, neutral or negative. Most likely, each of us has at some point written something like: I recommend this user!
However, it seems that we have failed to notice a very important phenomenon, and we are not yet fully aware of its social consequences.
We have become used to our applications, we crave likes in social media, and we failed to notice that booking systems such as AirBnB or Booking as well as Uber and BlaBlaCar or other mobile platforms that connect service providers with customers who need such services, such as UpWork, actually request a lot more than just our rating. Most importantly, it is a brilliant business model using a simple method to engage us, the users, in order to save plenty of money that would otherwise have to be spent on hordes of qualified employees to rate the service quality. Can you imagine an annual employee evaluation of Uber drivers? No need, they are rated routinely.
Naturally, we appreciate this solution because a large number of stars makes it easier for use to buy things or book a specific hotel. After all, once we have booked our room, we do not want to be driven there by a driver who has less than 4.5 stars. And just when we started to believe that we are already rating everything and everyone, Uber has started testing an application in Chicago to connect employees with employers – Uber Works.
Employer, are you ready for this?
It seems that everything has already been written about how we are now dealing with an employee’s market and how difficult life has become for employers, not just in Poland. The record-low unemployment, generation mix and internationalisation of the labour market are combined with the increase of labour costs and unyielding competition for the best employees. However, I am convinced that we are about to witness a tremendous cultural change. Firstly, the low unemployment and absence of workforce have put significant pressure on wages. Secondly, the rising wages will – much sooner than we might expect – make a large portion of the working population ready to seek employment on a part-time basis. This is something that the companies in Poland are neither culturally nor organisationally ready to handle.
This is no longer science fiction. Pretty soon, mobile applications that connect employees with employers will replace employment contracts. A company that is not ready for a cultural and organisational transformation that enables it to increase the flexibility of employment will not be the first choice for anyone who desires greater freedom in work-time scheduling and who expects to have even more free time.
What, then, should HR departments regard as the most important challenge in 2020?
A five-star rating and a comment: I recommend this employer!