Staff Heroes Blog - Month: March 2018

A better, cheaper, simpler way to find staff?

DIY recruitment, or trust an agency? Traditionally, those have been your only options for finding staff. But now there’s a third way. A true story: there’s a Shoreditch hotel that used Staff Heroes for the first time a few months ago and their tale is a familiar one.

Recruitment was a near-permanent problem. They were resistant to paying agency fees when a) they knew they could recruit for less and b) using a traditional agency meant a continual to-and-fro of calls and emails, and an inevitable lag between needing someone fast and having them actually walk in the door.

So they bit the bullet and decided to handle their own recruitment and (initially, at least) they did pretty well. Fairly quickly they had five new workers in place and they estimated the total cost of recruitment for each was no more than £500. Result.

At least, it would have been if, within a couple of months, they hadn’t all left, leaving the hotel right back at square one again. Recruitment can be a pain for any business – and one of the reasons it’s so painful is the analogue way it continues to be done. Step forward, then, the gig economy and (forgive us for blowing our own trumpet for a moment) Staff Heroes, with a new, automated way to take the effort out of temp recruitment.




When we started out, it occurred to us that app-based platforms that were already being used for everything from takeaway ordering to hotel booking could offer real benefits for businesses wanting to take control of their recruitment:

  • You get the broadest possible pool of talent to recruit from
  • You can refine your search so the system automatically finds the skills and experience you
  • value most
  • The people you’re presented with are all pre-vetted
  • They’re all reviewed too, so you can use the experience of others to inform your choice
  • It’s all done via the app, so you don’t have to be in the office to find your next team member


And, like a regular agency, the payroll, insurances, ID checks etc are all covered too.


The third way

You could call it the ‘Uberfication’ of the service sector but we like to think the difference is a little more profound than that. It’s removing at a stroke the friction that’s part and parcel of working with a traditional agency. It’s automating the entire process end-to-end, because to our minds it never really made sense to make the payment process seamless when everything that came before it wasn’t.


And it’s cutting costs in a variety of ways:

  • There’s the £ cost reduction of using an app-based service compared with many traditional agencies
  • Finding the right people takes less of your time
  • Maintaining a regular trickle of staff to account for turnover is seamless and simple
  • Because you can recruit faster, there’s less requirement to pay overtime or bonuses to workers required to cover the staffing shortfall


It’s a new way of recruiting that takes all that’s good about DIY and agency recruitment and strips away the disadvantages.


So next time you’re faced with the choice of agency or DIY staff recruitment, remember those are no longer your only choices.

What is the Gig Economy Anyway?

What is the gig economy? How does it work? And why is it worth becoming part of it? Forgive us. Like starting a boxset midway through season two, it can be difficult to get up to speed when everyone’s got a head start on you. So if you’ve heard a lot about the gig economy but don’t really know the details, here’s our introductory guide. From the top, then…#


What is the gig economy?


It’s a way of working that means you don’t have a permanent job; instead you’re effectively a freelancer (which is why the term ‘gig economy’ is pretty much interchangeable with ‘freelance
economy’). So the gig economy is just about the short term? Not necessarily. Certainly, it can relate to one-off ‘gigs’ or assignments, but it can also describe longer-term arrangements where you work repeatedly for one person or organisation, but do so as a freelancer rather than an employee. So just because you jump onboard the gig economy, it doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily need to search for a new job every week.


How does it work?


Working in the gig economy allows you to build your working hours in a way that suits you. As a student, you may only have time to squeeze in a couple of shifts a week and using a platform like
Staff Heroes enables you to build skills, experience (and money) in a way that suits you. You may want to build a breadth of experience in your chosen industry and accept assignments from a pool of employers. Or you might have childcare duties or caring responsibilities and need to fit our shifts around your other commitments.

For all these situations and more, gig work can give you the flexibility you need. Traditionally, finding new work would have been done through temping agencies. Now, apps can help you access jobs faster and receive notifications when something new may be of interest to you. There’s usually far less CV faff, you get paid faster, and both parties (employer and freelancer) have the chance to rate each other, making it easier for you to get more work in the future.


What sort of sectors offer gig work?


More than you might think. Right now, we’ve got opportunities for bar and restaurant staff, retailers, hotel staff, events teams, promotional roles, business admin and more.


What are the benefits of gig work?

  • Control: You remain in charge of your own destiny, working where you want when you want. If you’re the sort of person who dreads becoming trapped in a job you hate, gig working ensures you never will.
  • Flexibility: Few permanent jobs offer you exactly the hours you want. Few give you the opportunity to drop everything and go travelling for six months. And although employers will often try to be as flexible as possible, if you have commitments that keep changing, it can be difficult to hold down a regular job. Gig work gives you that flexibility. A living wage or a little extra: Gig workers can and do make a living wage out of freelancing. Equally, lots of people who already have permanent jobs choose to a do a little gig work to earn extra.
  • Simplicity: Looking for work used to be a job in itself. But with simple systems like Staff Heroes’ platform, you can effectively access work on tap.
  • Career change and experience building: If you’re stuck in a job you don’t want, making the move into a career you do want can be risky. After all, few of us could afford to simply stop what we’re doing and go searching for something else. Gig work enables you to try new roles in new sectors and fit your freelancing around your existing job. So you can build skills and experience without the risk.


Eyes open


Gig work isn’t for everyone. By its very nature, it can be inconsistent. And like freelancers everywhere, you don’t have the same rights as permanent employees. It’s a question of weighing up the pros and cons. If you need stability and permanency, gig work (in the long term at least) isn’t for you – although it can be a brilliant way of getting your foot in the door. But for a growing number of people, permanent employment doesn’t suit them, the life they lead or the aspirations they have. If that’s you, gig work is work that’s built around you.

What Effect is the Introduction of GDPR Set to Have on Staffing?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll know about the imminent arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). When it comes into force on 25 May this year, it will effectively press reset on the rights individuals hold over their data, and the obligations on companies who collect, use or store that information.

We’ll avoid recapping the entire history of the GDPR and its journey to becoming law – if you’d like to know more about the background and the specifics of GDPR from the horse’s mouth, you’ll find it here, at the Information Commissioner’s Office.

There’s virtually no industry that won’t be affected by GDPR, but some sectors will find its impact stretches further and deeper than others. Given that it deals very specifically with people and their personal information, the staffing and recruitment sector – and in-house recruitment departments – are about to find that the GDPR affects almost every aspect of their work. Here’s how:


Recruiter responsibilities


The GDPR sets out a number of responsibilities relating to the mechanics of holding, controlling and processing data, and the steps to take in the event of a data breach. It also confers rights on individuals whose data you hold or process. Not all appear immediately and widely applicable to recruitment (rights to data portability, objection and restriction are perhaps less likely to affect staffing companies than other sectors), but many of the provisions will have a direct and dramatic effect:


The right to be informed


Where you collect and process candidate data, you need to provide “fair” information about the way you handle it. This should be done via a privacy notice which needs to be more comprehensive, more accessible and easier to understand than its equivalent version in the Data Protection Act. The privacy notice must be easily accessible, explain what data you keep, how long you’re keeping it for and what you’re doing with it. It must provide information about any third-party usage and remind candidates of their rights. You can find a complete list of requirements for your privacy notice here, and note there are slight variations depending on whether you are gaining information directly from a candidate (eg via your own online data capture form) or whether you use information sourced from third parties.


Right of access


Recruiters will need to make all the data they hold on a candidate (or anyone else) available on request, for free and within one month. Importantly, this doesn’t simply affect, for example, an applicant’s online CV or profile. Whilst the candidate must have the right to access and edit their personal information, they also have the right to know how you use other data you hold about them – which may include communications from them, log-in histories and the way you use their details for marketing purposes.


Right to rectification


When a candidate asks you to update or amend the information you hold about them you must do so within one month. For recruiters, the simplest way to avoid creating a vast amount of admin work is to invite candidates to amend their own records, although if your system isn’t set up for individual and secure candidate access, you may have significant hurdles to overcome here.


Right to erasure


Popularly known as the right to be forgotten, this right enables a candidate to ask for deletion of all data you hold about them in certain circumstances. You can find the full list of criteria here but perhaps the most significant one is that the individual can simply withdraw consent to hold and use their data. In practice, that makes this right virtually limitless (the candidate doesn’t need to show that they have been damaged by the way you have handled their data in order to request its deletion), although there are circumstances – listed in the above link – where you may be able to legitimately refuse to comply.


Automated decision making


If your recruitment system uses some form of automated decision making or profiling software then there’s an additional set of requirements which vary depending on whether your process is wholly or partly automated. Amongst the steps staffing companies and departments will need to take are the requirement to collect only the information required, having a legal basis for carrying out the activity, and providing clear, direct links to privacy statements and methods of enacting rights to change and delete information. Again, you can find the full requirements here.


Opportunity or burden?


At time of writing we’re less than two months from GDPR go-live so most recruiters will already be well on their way to having their houses in order. It’s certainly something we’ve been prepping for the past year. How recruiters have responded has largely been dependent on their view of the GDPR. Either it’s a bureaucratic faff and a logistical nightmare, in which case they’ve perhaps been more likely to drag their feet on implementation, with the fear of (significant) penalties outweighing the benefits of compliance.


Or, like us, they’ve seen it for what it really is: an opportunity. The GDPR is a golden opportunity to build trust. To show how responsible your organisation is. To show its commitment to doing things the right way. And to show how it acts fairly and transparently.


When so much criticism is levelled at the cavalier way businesses from every sector sometimes deal with data, the GDPR represents a line in the sand. It’s a chance for the recruitment industry to show that we take responsibilities that stretch far beyond simply matching great candidates with great clients, seriously.

Hero of the Month

“I worked one shift for Jamie Oliver – which he attended! This was amazing to be a part of, but there was another private party on a yacht at St Katherine’s Dock, a stone’s throw from the Tower of London. This was equally fascinating.”


We don’t know what our most recent Hero of the Month’s New Year’s resolution was, but it seems to be working for him.  Jonathan had a stormer of a month in January, picking up 5-star ratings as if they were going out of fashion.

A regular Waiter and Banqueting Staff member, Jonathan honed his skills while at the University of Warwick. Here he studied for a History degree while working part-time in the University’s conference centre as a member of the banqueting team.

This Londoner’s experience, skills and attitude have made him a fantastic member of the Staff Heroes workforce and a valuable asset to both businesses and Heroes he’s been on shifts with. Everyone at Staff Heroes HQ would like to thank him for his hard-work and the endless positive feedback we receive about him. Keep it up Jon!

Jonathan has now completed his studies, and after spending time in Israel teaching English as a foreign language and working in hospitality, he has returned home to London.

We recently had a quick catch-up with our Hero of the Month, and after presenting him with his award (a crisp £25 Amazon voucher), we put a few questions to him.

So Jonathan, when did you join Staff Heroes?

“Not that long ago, the first shift I booked onto was in November last year.”

And what have been your favourite shifts to work?

“I really enjoy doing different shifts. Some of my favourite places to work at are Hilton London Bankside and Doubletree by Hilton. I get along very well with the people and the management – it really is a pleasure. But obviously, the one-off, interesting shifts are cool too.”

Well, what is the most interesting experience you’ve had through Staff Heroes?

“It’s a split to be honest. I worked one shift for Jamie Oliver – which he attended! This was amazing to be a part of, but there was another private party on a yacht at St Katherine’s Dock, a stone’s throw from the Tower of London. This was equally fascinating.”

How do you like to spend your downtime?

I like playing football with friends, watching rugby, and socialising with friends. I actually have a Saracens RFC season ticket. Oh and I love to read – anything by Haruki Marukami!

So what does the future have in store for Jonathan?

“There are a few interesting things I have lined-up, but nothing’s set in stone for now, so I couldn’t say for sure.”

And finally our super fast quickfire round! Ready?!?

Football or Rugby?


Sun or Snow?


Early Bird or Night Owl?

“Night Owl for sure”

Work Hard or Play Hard?

“Work Hard”

Cats or Dogs


Facebook or Instagram?


Coffee or Tea?


Well that’s it from us, Jonathan. Good luck with everything and spend the Amazon voucher well. Surely there is something by Marukami that you haven’t read yet!?