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Dynamism for India Inc’s delivery gig workers



The delivery workforce has emerged as paramount in the battle against the pandemic. As the nation strides back to normalcy, the supply chain ecosystem has the chance to play a crucial role in ensuring consumer needs are met- essential or otherwise. Bottlenecks like migrant exodus, concerns around safety of the delivery workers and maintenance of hygiene protocols need to be carefully maneuvered to ensure that the entire ecosystem is safeguarded. As businesses pivot to newer norms and adapt to the evolving circumstances, India’s intertwined supply chains call for a precise and focused approach to navigate complexities around this indispensable sector.

Identify and address pain points of the delivery workforce

Even as we ease into Unlock 1.0 and the curbs are relaxed, delivery processes and protocols continue to remain cumbersome, and risky, leading to several companies dealing with absenteeism and no-shows. Moreover, last-mile delivery workers have witnessed a decline in the number of orders, despite vertical specialists expanding businesses to include delivery of groceries, vegetables and the likes. Thus, it is vital for e-commerce companies and food aggregators to engage regularly with their delivery executives and ensure the ones on ground are protected. As consumers increasingly rely on deliveries and demand gradually starts to revive for non-essentials, more workers must resume service and find it viable to do so.

While the delivery workers have been christened as heroes and have been lent capes, they must also be mandated to wear masks. Companies need to secure health and safety of their delivery workers by providing them with medical essentials, masks, sanitizers and conducting regular screenings and health tests. This needs to be supplemented by equipping them with the required facts, education, and awareness. On the customers’ front, cash-on-delivery and returns must be discouraged, and employees must be trained to maintain hygiene and physical distancing with them, at all times.

E-commerce companies and aggregators could guarantee minimum incomes, increase incentives and do away with fixed remuneration models. Additionally, Covid-19-specific health-insurance covers for the delivery workforce will provide a safeguard against health risks, easing their financial burden in case of possible infections.

Organize the fragmented delivery gig economy

Through the course of the lockdown, a much-needed professional stature has been lent to the blue-collared workforce in logistics. Companies will have to fire on all cylinders to not just retain people, but also attract new workers, keeping in mind that home delivery is shouldering most of the purchase completion today. To that end, in the last-mile chain, several companies are expanding massively, and in the right direction.

Offering minimum social security to gig economy workers and digital consumer platform partners is the need of the hour. Benefits and aid from various government schemes will help ease the burden on companies and the gig workers in their supply chain, thereby streamlining operations. The new rules will also draw more young workers towards the delivery gig economy as markets open and demand primarily shifts online. Attractive incentives and income generating opportunities, underpinned by increased awareness and dignity of labour, will guide the transition of this sector into the mainstream. With flexibility at its core, several gig workers, ranging from college students and urban youth to others looking for additional income, can be brought into the fold of the delivery ecosystem, even if it is temporarily.

Gearing up for the post-covid era

For the foreseeable future, order volumes on digital platforms will increase by at least 10% by December, and cost inflation is a real possibility as deliveries become costlier. But in the longer term, it could well lead to growth prospects for the overall ecosystem, augmented by consistent interventions and measures taken by the relevant entities. Guardrails that command the situation will have to be constantly monitored, evaluated and tweaked as the situation progresses through the rest of the year. Eventually, efficiency and productivity of the delivery workforce will improve, with an increased reliance on advanced technology, using it to advantage for simplified warehousing, delivery route planning, payments, and more. This will go hand-in-hand with the rapidly evolving consumer preferences.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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Big jump in unemployment benefit claims from gig workers




Buried in the details of the Labor Department’s weekly unemployment claims Thursday morning was a significant jump in the number of gig workers filing for jobless benefits, up more than 48% to nearly 424,000.

Gig workers can apply for temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which is specifically for “self-employed, independent contractors, and others who are unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19, who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits or extended UI benefits,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

One person grateful for the extra cash is Joy Chowdhury. He’s an Uber driver in New York City, and when the pandemic shut down most businesses in the city, he was in a bind.

“I was struggling to pay my rent,” he said.

That changed when Congress passed the first COVID-19 relief package.

“It did help me” once he could get unemployment benefits, Chowdhury said. “I’m going to appreciate that opportunity as a gig worker.”

This latest spike in pandemic unemployment claims is likely linked to the brief lapse in the program before the last aid package was approved, new shutdowns, and to the after-holiday slowdown, according to Dmitri Koustas an economist at the University of Chicago. 

Since about a third of the labor force does some work in the gig economy, Koustas said.

“If more people are relying on gig work, a lot of the risk is on the workers themselves.”

That’s because “we’ve attached a whole bunch of rights and privileges and opportunities to employment,” according to Erin Hatton, a sociologist at the University at Buffalo.

Privileges like retirement plans, parental leave, health insurance and unemployment insurance are tied to traditional full-time jobs.

And Heidi Shierholz, a labor economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said that was problematic before, but with the pandemic, “it’s really shown us that there are gaps in our regular unemployment system that you can drive a truck through. We do have the ability to close them, like the existence of this program shows us that we can do it.”

Josh Godfrey in Houston knows this well. His works for DoorDash, and his earnings dropped from $600 to $150 a week during the pandemic.

Without the temporary gig unemployment benefits, Godfrey doesn’t know what he would have done. And now he’s making plans.

“The pandemic kind of pushed me to kind of reevaluate what I’m doing in life and make steps towards getting a more stable job that I won’t lose due to market volatility.”

So he’s going back to school.

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Q&A: Expanding talent management strategies to embrace the gig workforce




Digital information concept AI-powered, person-centric platforms can help connect the dots between people, work and life to drive smarter decisions, navigate choice and create impactful experiences. (Image: Shutterstock)

The gig economy has been a steadily growing force in talent management for a number of years. But the disruption to the economy and the workforce caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has had many employers rethinking their business and talent management strategies in the past few months, and the switch to a work-from-home model also opened the eyes of many businesses to the possibilities beyond the traditional work arrangement.

Related: Uber CEO proposes new category of employment for gig workers


Colin Brennan Colin Brennan, president, Global Solutions & Services, Alight Solutions

Colin Brennan, president of global solutions & services at Alight Solutions, recently shared some thoughts on the increasing role of the gig economy in traditional business models, and what employers can do to attract and leverage talent.

Why is gig work a critical capability for employers to accommodate, and how has the pandemic played a role in shaping this?

The pandemic displaced many highly skilled workers who turned to “gigs” while waiting for the economy and job market to improve. When the pandemic subsides, we’ll see a dramatic redistribution of talent across industries, and these workers will join employers that will likely still be establishing the right resources and technology infrastructure to support a workforce that’s returning to the workplace, remaining remote, or a combination of both.

But gig work is hardly a new phenomenon, as the economy has been reorganizing itself around freelancers and independent contractors for many years. What the pandemic did was force employers to reimagine their businesses and workplaces so they’re more adaptable and resilient in the face of disruption. In situations like these, gig workers give employers the flexibility to scale their workforce up and down based on the demand for goods and services and the skillsets that are needed to deliver them. Jobs that can be performed on an on-demand basis will be a huge part of employers’ talent management strategies moving forward.

How can employers leverage cloud-based HR systems to unify organizations’ people-related data and processes, especially when it comes to effectively managing gig workers?

Employers should be focused on being proactive, fast and lean, especially when it comes to operations. In order to meet the needs of a contemporary, agile workforce, they should evolve their approaches to pay and talent while implementing the right systems. Traditionally, HR systems are not made to effectively manage gig workers — especially when it comes to rapid onboarding and offboarding. As gig workers play an increasingly important role in their operations, employers need nimble processes that run in a paperless fashion during the recruitment and application stages; glean workers’ past employment experiences; leverage mobile as a channel to bring people into the organization and keep them engaged; and help make data-driven decisions around skillsets.

As a result of the pandemic, HR leaders hesitant towards automation may finally make the switch due to the positive correlation with cost and time savings. Cloud-based HR systems can unify employers’ people-related data and processes. By providing a broader view of the workforce, employers can strategically allocate resources, hire the right people at the right times, start programs that nurture talent and, ultimately, elevate the employee experience.

What’s the advantage of offering gig workers diverse options for pay, and what kind of options exist?

In this digital age where information, goods and services are accessible from mobile devices and transactions are seamless, workers expect the same level of convenience when it comes to compensation. That’s why it’s critical for employers using the gig model to ensure quick and stress-free methods of payment for those workers, on their channel of choice.

With more people digitizing their wallets using mobile pay and banking apps, employers should find payroll solutions that can fit seamlessly into that experience. Fortunately, many employers are adopting new processes and technologies — and they’re already “paying” off. They can calculate compensation as time-related data is collected, allowing for more frequent payments that go directly to workers’ digital wallets, much like Apple Pay or Alipay. Alight’s DailyPay on-demand payroll service, for example, allows workers to transfer accrued but unpaid wages to any bank account or pay card in advance of their next paycheck.

Specific to gig workers, they generally expect to be paid for the work they do, as it’s completed, rather than on a typical pay period cycle. This growing trend only adds to the need for employers to have faster and more efficient methods of conducting payroll. That’s where AI and machine learning come in — those technologies can take all the important inputs (e.g., salary, commissions, taxes, travel, expenses, bonuses, etc.) as well as years of historical payroll data, to more accurately assess whether a worker’s paycheck is correct or not.

In addition to pay, are there other benefits employers should consider offering when it comes to attracting the gig workforce and creating a great gig experience?

Employers that can provide engaging experiences that will cultivate gig workers and their skills will be in an advantageous position. While the actions taken and administered will be different, providing additional HR administrative services such as benefits will allow employers to attract and retain the best possible extended workforce.

In today’s experience economy, workers expect to have valuable data and information at their fingertips that can be applied seamlessly across their digitally-driven lives. We believe improving health outcomes and maximizing benefits dollars starts with empowering people to take charge of their total wellbeing with on-demand support from their employers.

AI-powered, person-centric platforms can help connect the dots between people, work and life to drive smarter decisions, navigate choice and create impactful experiences. Consider the possibilities for the workforce if employers use AI to optimize workforce management, pay people faster, provide them with personalized and customized retirement and financial solutions, or even anticipate their healthcare needs, like using biometric data to nudge them to seek care before health issues arise.


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How does DoorDash work? Everything to know about the food delivery app powered by gig workers




  • DoorDash is an on-demand food delivery service that lets you order food and drinks from restaurants in your area.
  • When you order from DoorDash, your food is delivered by a freelance worker who doesn’t belong to any single restaurant.
  • Since restaurants don’t have to hire delivery drivers, DoorDash makes it easier for them to expand their delivery business.

DoorDash is an on-demand food delivery service that partners with local restaurants to deliver food to homes and businesses. However, due to the way that DoorDash orders are delivered, the app makes it easier for restaurants to get into the delivery business.

How DoorDash works

DoorDash operates in hundreds of cities, offering hyperlocal food delivery across the US. The company works with restaurants, letter them set menu prices, but controlling delivery and service fees themselves.

How does DoorDash work? Everything to know about the food delivery app powered by gig workers
DoorDash hosts a variety of different restaurants.Dave Johnson/Business Insider

The biggest difference between DoorDash and other apps is that orders placed through DoorDash don’t make restaurants use their own delivery drivers. Instead, DoorDash has its own fleet of freelance delivery workers – they’re called Dashers – who are paid through tips, a base salary from DoorDash, and by completing “challenges.”
This makes it easier for restaurants to start a delivery business, since they don’t have to hire their own delivery workers.

In the past, DoorDash would take some of their drivers’ tips – they claim this is no longer the case. The company’s been involved in other lawsuits regarding the alleged mistreatment of their workers.

Restaurants have to pay DoorDash to use their drivers and receive orders through the app. Depending on the specific relationship that a restaurant establishes with DoorDash, the restaurant may pay DoorDash a monthly fee, a flat fee per order, or a commission based on how much money they make.


These fees are used to pay Dashers, perform background checks on these Dashers, process credit card transactions, pay for advertising and marketing, and more.

DoorDash gives restaurants a choice about how they offer their delivery services. Storefront, for example, is a service that DoorDash offers that lets customers order from the restaurant’s website, not just the app. DoorDash Drive is built for big orders, like catering platters, and lets restaurant handpick Dashers to help them make those large deliveries. And DoorDash also allows restaurants to rely on the app exclusively for all deliveries.
For restaurant owners who want it, DoorDash also offers data analytics to help restaurants better understand their business and work more efficiently, as well as standalone tools like a net profit calculator for delivery sales. The DoorDash Merchant Portal lets restaurants track sales, adjust the menu, and track metrics like total sales, average order size, and most popular menu items.

How does DoorDash work? Everything to know about the food delivery app powered by gig workers
DoorDash offers a suite of services to help merchants run their business more efficiently.Dave Johnson/Business Insider

For customers, DoorDash has obvious value: it enables fast ordering and delivery for restaurants across the local area. Using the DoorDash website or mobile app, you can search for local restaurants, browse the menu freely, and track the order as the driver picks it up and brings it to you.

Not every restaurant offers their entire menu on DoorDash, however – the restaurant gets to choose their online menu. And since they don’t manage their own delivery drivers, any issues you have with delivery will likely need to be taken up with DoorDash, not the restaurant.

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