Industries are floundering in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and many businesses are struggling to survive in the harsh economic climate it has brought on, triggering lay-offs and hiring freezes. For others, hiring has gone into overdrive to meet the increasing need of customers - such as delivery drivers for food and essential items, healthcare workers, grocery store staff, and other hourly workers who can be considered frontliners as well.
The California Delivery Association (CDA) recently hosted a webinar on Contactless Hiring and Onboarding, moderated by Michael and presented by Andrew Brady, co-owner of King Courier and current President of the CDA. They invited Workstream co-founder and CEO Desmond Lim as co-presenter, to share his hard-earned insights on hiring and how industries have pivoted to adapt to the current conditions we are facing. Read on for the full transcript:
Michael: Okay everybody, I'd like to welcome you to the 2020 Contactless Hiring and Onboarding in the COVID-19 climate webinar. Our speaker today will be Desmond Lim, the CEO and co-founder of Workstream, a contactless hiring and onboarding software for logistics, retail, hospitality businesses, and more. They work with brands including Jamba Juice, DoorDash, Uber, Marriott, and more, and are backed by investors including Zoom, DoorDash and Jay-Z, basis set ventures. Desmond is a graduate of Harvard and MIT, a very impressive background. A serial entrepreneur, he used to run a logistics business with his father and is based out of Palo Alto, California.
Andrew Brady will also be hosting the webinar and has some experience working with Desmond. I'll hand it off to Andrew to talk a little bit about his experience with Desmond, and then let Desmond take over with Andrew to co-present after that.
Andrew: Hi everyone, and thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to join us. I met Desmond on LinkedIn, and we talked about Workstream where it seemed to me, because we are Amazon DSP and we need to hire a large number of people, we decided to give Workstream a try. It's been a great partnership so far, they helped us get from 20 to 30 routes quickly and easily. We were able to meet our ramping guidelines from Amazon, and we exceeded them this year, which is something no one else on our station could do. So, I'm here just to tell you about my great experience with Workstream, and I encouraged him to join the CDA because I think that anyone who needs to ramp up quickly and wants to hire people with very little effort, and especially if you're doing Amazon work where you constantly need to hire, it’s a great way to go. So, I'm the customer testimonial department here today. I'll hand it over to you, Desmond.
Desmond: Thank you very much, Andrew, and also Michael. Thank you so much, Andrew, for sharing, that was very kind of you. It has been a great joy to be partners and to learn from you. I'm very glad to have the chance today to share more. I will dive right in to talk with everyone. This is probably top-of-mind for all: what is this contactless hiring? I think in this current virus climate as we all know, it is best if we can try to be remote and virtual as much as we can, and that is what we can do for you – this end-to-end hiring flow that is fully virtual. That involves quite a bit of video and texting. Being able to source, screen, and onboard people virtually. I will bring you through the pointers here.
As you can see, what sourcing does is, there will be no more having to manually post. We help you to post onto many job boards through our software. Our server will post for you onto more than 20 channels, from Indeed, LinkedIn, Craigslist, every single week. We also have a referral software that is going to be very helpful for you. Secondly, for screening, it is where our contactless hiring flow comes in. You are able to screen people through our software virtually through texting, and you are able to set up video calls through our software. We are fully plugged into Zoom, so that every time that you want to talk to someone, our software will help you to self-schedule a time via Zoom via the phone. People who are keen to talk to you can self-select into some of your free time slots. Finally, for onboarding, we can do away with paper or even email. Everything will be built through the phone, where you will be able to do paperless onboarding with an online signing. This is with W4, I9, and any kind of forms that you have. We can even help you conduct training, videos, and guides, and all those can be built on it. I think one of the best things we can do is that, since we work very well with Andrew and his team, we can share some of these workflows that we have built for him with you too.
Andrew: I'll jump in here just for a second. Before Workstream, our primary source of advertising was Indeed, and we were spending about $1,200 a month with Indeed. Once we started working with Workstream, we started channeling our sponsored Indeed through Workstream, and we are now paying significantly less for significantly more applicants. We were spending $1,200 a month for about 30 a week, and now, I think we're paying $400 and we're getting about 65 a week. Right now, we are actually overwhelming Amazon's ability to get our guys in, which is cool for me. So, it definitely works, and it is a lot less work for one thing. And again, like Desmond was saying, we have all the questions that you would ask in an interview, we have all the paperwork done, and now we're doing some new stuff where we have training videos for a different position we’re hiring, we have training videos up and it's pretty cool. The other good thing is, you can stumble through it on your own if you're tech-savvy. But if you can't figure it out, they have great support, and we have a dedicated guide, Ben, who puts all our stuff up for us. They just take care of it. So, Workstream is really good, and I'm very happy with it. Desmond, back to you.
Desmond: Thank you, Andrew. Trying to build upon what Andrew has just shared, in the world of trying to hire drivers and hourly folks, one of the key things is trying to engage them fast. I know it well because both my parents are both hourly workers. I grew up in the States, and my dad has been a driver for the past 40 years. So, what we learned is that being able to reach out, engage, and screen them, that will be very key. Through our testing software, you will be able to do that quickly. You will be able to save costs by working with our team, because we are going to help you to source for more people, through various channels on top of Indeed. From Facebook jobs, Google, Craigslist, Glassdoor, and more. So, one of the key points we have here to make is, whether or not we use a software, make it a point to get back as fast as you can.
The second tip that we have is to maximize screening. We have found that being able to screen people thoroughly is key. Some folks who applied for the role of drivers may not even have a drivers’ ID. That doesn't make sense for you to even spend time talking to him or her. Being able to set up some of these questions, some of which I'll be showing you in the next few slides, will be very helpful for you. Being able to talk to them through videos or the phone, will be very helpful too. Our software will create this automated workflow that is contactless through the phone, which will be able to help you to save time and screen for the folks that have the best fit.
Over here, I would quickly touch on some of these screening questions, and I am sure Andrew has a few to add too. These are some of the ones that we have used, and in the past few weeks, we have added quite a few more. For example: “Have you traveled out of the country in the past few weeks? Have you been in touch with someone who has been sick, or with someone who has flu-like symptoms?” This is all very key because every one of us here wants to do our best for our team, to keep everyone safe and sound, so trying to add in these simple questions will be very helpful. Moving on from that, we will also be asking questions on: “What will be your free time slots? How many hours can you work? Have you worked in this space?” You can even create some scenario-based questions. For example: “Now that our company is trying to roll out contactless delivery, will you send it to someone face-to-face, or will you send it to someone at the doorstep?” These are some very simple questions that we will be surprised that some people may not get it right. So, these are just some of the questions about their habit.
Andrew: We have lots of questions that we ask people in the workflow for getting hired with us. I have always focused on questions that were: “Have you been a delivery driver before? Have you driven a cargo van before?” These kinds of questions. Seeing these slides, it made me realize that I have to go back to the drawing board and add a bunch of new questions. Even for me as a presenter, I feel like I am learning something here today.
Desmond: Thank you, Andrew. Since we are on that, maybe I could ask you. What are 1 or 2 questions that you have used that have worked very well?
Andrew: We have questions like: “Do you have a car that you are willing to use for work? What kind of vehicle is it? Have you had any accidents in the last 3 years?” These kinds of questions. And, “Have you driven a cargo van before? Do you have actual delivery experience?” for the Amazon positions. For “Who did you work for?,” questions like “Have you had any experience working for Amazon before?” For us, this is something that I think I have not taken as good advantage as I possibly can. I am definitely going to hit you guys up for some better questions because your questions are way better than mine.
Desmond: Thank you. We have a case study on Andrew, which I think he shared a bit on. Andrew, can you tell us just a bit more in-depth, in the past what were you doing? Could you share a bit of that, prior to working with us, can you share a bit on your workload?
Andrew: Before, we were using Indeed and experimented with a bunch of different hiring sites. We would call people, email them, set up an appointment, have them come into the office. We would get about 40 people we would contact, that we would be able to schedule. 20 of them would make an appointment, 10 of them would show up for their appointment. Of those 10, 5 would show up for their 1st day at Amazon, and 2 would survive. So, we are doing much better now than we were before. The big thing, the surprise from this, is that the prospects are doing the process themselves on their phone. In the old system, we hired a lot of people that did not know how to work a cellphone, which can be a real problem in today’s delivery environment where everything’s done over the phone. It’s all data, and everyone knows you’ve got to use an app, you’ve got to be able to push the buttons. We were hiring people that couldn’t push the buttons. Now with Workstream, we’re finding that those people are filtering themselves out. They don’t reply to texts, they don’t go on to the next steps, they don’t answer the questions, or watch the videos. Some of the guys that are inappropriate for the job are filtering themselves out. And that is a great thing.
And when this whole COVID thing happened, we want to minimize interactions with strangers because that’s where your risk is. We didn’t want to be bringing 20 people into our office 3 times a week. To limit all that, we went to video interviews. Granted that, I still think that for the personal interview, you get a better filter where you get more of a sense of what the person is like. We seem to be doing ok with video meetings and it is what it is, but at least we have a way of doing it. If we did not have Workstream, I don’t know how we will be continuing to hire right now without risking the health and safety of my existing workers.
Desmond: Thank you, Andrew. Earlier you were telling me that one of the barriers you faced was that your team was worried about your own job roles if you were to bring in this new software. Would you like to talk a bit about that, please?
Andrew: This is kind of fun. My biggest challenge when implementing Workstream was selling it to my own people. My partner Chris was so sure it would work, and everyone in the HR department was “I don’t want to do that, I like to talk to people.” It comes down to the fact that they were afraid they were going to lose their job. It doesn’t replace people, you still need someone to go through the list. In fact, I now have 2 people doing 2 different job postings that we are running through Workstream. So, I have actually doubled the number of people that are working on it, but it is so much easier that I can have someone who is less qualified processing a huge number of applicants. This is great because we are growing because we are getting all these home deliveries. We were delivering freight, prescriptions, to people’s homes because they don’t want to go to the store anymore. I am struggling to hire people again, and now we just put in a new thing and boom, it is up and running quickly and easily. I have got 2 different streams now, of workers coming in and it is working great.
Desmond: Thank you, Andrew. Trying to talk a bit about trends, people have been talking about, with the current COVID-19. Even in the next 3 to 6 months which we all wish that things will become better, people still feel that businesses and folks will want to work from home and stay home more. That is definitely a huge chance for teams like yours, Andrew, to grow even more because everyone wants things to be sent to their homes even more. Can you talk about the trends, is this a trend that you see?
Andrew: Absolutely. Lily, who I have got going on a bunch of my Amazon hiring, is working out of her house. Because we are using Workstream, she doesn’t have to meet people. They fill out all the paperwork in Workstream and we download it. They are doing a virtual i9, W2, all that stuff, they fill out all the forms online, the applications, the background checks. All we have to do is to get a drug test from them. We don’t have to talk to them at all until they show up on the first day at work.
Desmond: That was very great, very helpful Andrew. I will quickly go through the rest of the slides, and we can open up to the team to see if there are any things that people want to ask about. One other company in the same space, we’ve got Envoy America. Envoy America has more than 50 locations, it is also in the same space. In the past few months, they have more than 100,000 text messages that have been sent, with over 70,000 that have been sourced. They were able to save more than 10 hours every week for every location, saving more than 5,000 hours across their whole brand and team. Trying to build upon what Andrew was sharing on, companies do not fire people, but they are able to use the time that people save to do other things that can create more value.
Andrew: That is true, I have Lily, my hiring personnel, to do much more stuff. She is doing a whole bunch more administrative tasks because we’ve freed her up so much, and she is working from home.
Desmond: That is great! We all really see the trend of more and more people are going to work from home, that is a trend that will surely grow. It’s a very positive trend for everyone who is here today on the call.
This is some of the team that I will quickly bring you all through. We have a strong team from Glassdoor, Yelp, Bamboo, Google, MIT, Harvard, and more. That is the team that we have built, and which is really passionate about working with folks like you. I was sharing that both my parents were hourly workers, my dad’s a driver for the past 35 years. And we have a very strong customer success team that is based in SF, which is going to be able to help you. Aaron is the lead for the team of CS, and he will be working closely with each of you if you all are keen to try to find out.
And finally, these are some of the folks that have believed in us to give us funding. From the CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan, who has been on the news almost every day now, CEO for Yelp, James Harden from Houston Rocket, Jay-Z who folks should know, and also our very own Joe Montana. It’s all of these folks who really believe in the things that we are doing and really trust us, and I hope one day to be able to organize one more of these sessions with some of them.
This is my email over here, email@example.com, so if anyone has any questions, you can feel free to email me. What I would love to do now is to open up the floor to see if there are any questions from the group, for either Andrew or me.
Question 1: If you guys could just give me a contact, I'd love to talk to you a little bit more, a little bit further about how it might work with me. It is no doubt that this sounds like a really great thing. Everything is all packaged up, it's all included and inclusive. Sounds wonderful. So, it's just a function of working with our company and the costs and things like that. We're not as robust in our hiring practices as maybe Andrew is at this point, but it is still a problem and we do need to streamline it. And I would love for it to be able to be done from home. My company has people working from home way before this stuff happened, so I would love to see this function be able to be done from home, and not tie up the normal staff that's in the office. I have your email but if you wouldn't mind, I’m with Gold Rush Express Delivery, I’m one of the owners, and Andrew can you get my email if you don't have it? I'd love to talk to you guys offline further. Andrew is a buddy of mine, so I could talk to him also. I'd already heard a little bit about this, I'm already kind of thinking about something like this, so it's good timing and I look forward to hearing from you, where early in the morning is the best for me.
Question 2: A quick question on this, I was a little late to this party, I apologies. My GM’s not here, but I wanted to point out, as far as background checks, NBRs, and analysis, is that all tied into this?
Desmond: Yes, it is. We have background checks that tie in, it is part of the flow. Through our software, you will be able to conduct background checks in a way that is very seamless. Everything is all built on the phone too.
Question 3: A more important question. It's not, per se me, getting the information to SCI, for example. We went through a nightmare back in November/December just trying to get our onboarding process done. Primarily because most of the people that we use for drivers are not a big fan of technology. I mean technologies from the 90s, meaning they're not getting their information submitted. It sometimes took weeks to the point where I even had to pay out of pocket on payroll or just had to do payroll aside from my payroll company because they were not processed yet. So, this kind of forces the driver, through their smartphone in other words, or make it easier for them to get that information quicker and more efficiently?
Andrew: From my experience, this was a concern at first for us, that we will get fewer applicants because they would filter themselves out because they were unable to do the whole text. In the end, the way it turns out is, we're getting more people now for less money, and the non-tech savvy are filtering themselves out. The people that we get know how to operate a cell phone, which is pretty much what they need to be able to do. You need people that can use an app, and by the time they make it through, they can use an app, which turns out to be great for us. It was a concern at first, and it turns out to be an unfounded concern, and actually a benefit of the whole Workstream process.
Question 4: Got it. Did we discuss, at any point, pricing through this?
Andrew: No, but I can tell you at first when I first met Desmond and we talked about the pricing, it seemed very expensive to me. But now that I'm using it, I'm saving money, I'm paying less bucks per hire. My hiring manager’s working from home, she doesn’t have to come to the office, she’s working less and I have got her doing other stuff now too. Whereas before, she was completely consumed talking to people on the phone 12 hours a day. Now, she's doing all kinds of other stuff and it works out really well. If you factor in what I was paying just for ads, I was paying so much more for ads to get half as many people as I'm getting now. I was paying $1,200 a month to Indeed, and now I pay Indeed through Workstream so that all the applicants go directly into the Workstream API. I'm paying less to Indeed through Workstream and getting more people.
Question 5: We'll have to talk offline with Workstream regarding that if you guys are interested in doing a program of our association. Andrew, do you think that these guys would be a good group to connect with WorkforWarriors?
Andrew: Maybe yeah, I don't know. I did not have a lot of work with WorkforWarriors.
(Follow up to previous question) Well, that is part of their problem, because they are disorganized, and they need help streamlining it in a sense. I mean, California alone has over 20,000 veterans unemployed right now, now the numbers have probably doubled or tripled for that matter. So just wondering, they are having a hard time getting the information out to people properly. Anyways probably dragging on there, but if there is any sort of connection here, I will connect you with the guy at WorkforWarriors and see if you guys can be of assistance.
Andrew: I'll send you guys an introductory email after this, so you can further talk about this. It might be good. So, Desmond, WorkforWarriors is a non-profit finding jobs for recently released veterans.
Desmond: Awesome, that is great! We will love to talk to them. One of my teammates, Dan Huang, who is on the team, he was a veteran, right Dan?
Dan: Yeah hey guys, how’s it going. I would be interested in forming an alliance with them and seeing how we can get some of our veterans hired, it's definitely a very important initiative for sure.
(Follow up on WorkforWarriors): Really though, because they are really lagging over there, and there is a lot of funding there, so I’m not quite sure why they're lagging. But I'll connect you guys with Troy over there and hopefully, he can pass the letter. There are great tax benefits if you do hire veterans as well. I think it is upwards of around $2,000 a year of tax write off. Well, it is significant, you hire a veteran and it's well worth your while from a tax perspective.
Andrew: Anyone has got any other questions?
Frank: Hey Desmond, this is Frank. I have just sent you an email, we can connect later on how you can work with my recruiting team and my HR to help us out with that.
Desmond: Awesome, thank you, Frank, I would love to chat with you further.
Dan: I'm just going to throw my email out there if you guys want to get in touch as well. It is firstname.lastname@example.org. So, if you guys can't get ahold of anybody, feel free to shoot an email over to me and I'll be happy to help you guys as well.
Andrew: Alright if there are no other questions, then I want to thank all of you for taking time out of your busy schedules today to attend this very important webinar and I know I learned a lot. We will continue our educational program through webinars. The next one is to be determined, but I’m sure there will be something very interesting coming in the near future. I will be informing you in the future of webinars that we have planned based on current events. I have recorded this webinar, and it will be posted on our website shortly after the presentation today. If you had questions, you might want to take a look through the presentations since we went through it pretty fast. And follow up with Workstream, I will get that out after the presentation. Again, thanks for taking the time to participate in this education offering from CDA. We look forward to offering you more in the future. Thanks, everyone!
To sum it up: In today’s webinar, we learned all about industries that have experienced a huge spike in demand - and how their hiring processes have evolved due to the challenging situation we’re in. From automated applicant screening to video interviews and online onboarding, contactless hiring is definitely the way to go.
Workstream’s end-to-end hiring platform has all the features you’ll need to implement contactless hiring - each one customizable to fit your hiring needs. We’d love to hear from you - schedule your demo today.
Desmond Lim is co-founder and CEO of Workstream, a text-based hiring platform for local businesses hiring hourly workers. He is a graduate of Harvard University and MIT Media Lab, former Product Manager at WeChat, and investor at Dorm Room Fund. He contributes to Entrepreneur.com, Workstream Blog, and Huffington Post. He splits his time between San Francisco and Utah, and represented the Singapore National Team in basketball.