WorkLB for City Programs

Multiple programs need responsive, localized, trained, and supervised workers. WorkLB’s platform gives city agencies new abilities to set standards, devolve day-to-day operations, gather precision data, and cut overheads.

 

A program using the platform may be run by the city, or by community groups. Workers may be full time or have other work as well.

Which programs can exploit the platform?

In any program or department there will be, broadly, two categories of labor:

  • Regular hours and location: These individuals report to the same building for the same hours of work every day, for example a receptionist in a department that is only open during office hours Monday to Friday.

  • Variable hours or locations: This part of the workforce is out in the community, engaged in planned projects or responding to unpredictable day-to-day needs of families or businesses. An example might be a community translator on hand for medical centers, the police department, and schools.  

 

WorkLB supports workforces with varying hours or locations, or both. It is ideal for any program, department, or project seeking to keep work at the community level with full local transparency and accountability.

 

The workers involved might have regular hours, full or part time, or – if the appropriate department permits - they could be using WorkLB to work at personalized hours that fit their individual personal circumstances.

This table shows some example workforces that will gain new opportunities and new scheduling efficiencies from the platform.  

Any local initiative that has a significant labor requirement can have their version of the platform. It will carry their branding, follow their rules, adopt their terminology, and enforce their processes. All data generated belongs to the host department.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About WorkLB’s platform

The platform, now funded by the City for any local agency to use, is under local control. It can be seen in action with some demonstration videos here. A comparison with other labor platforms is here.

The key points are:

  • Deep development: Pacific Gateway, the Long Beach workforce board, is the first board in America to launch a platform to support all forms of hourly labor. The platform (“CalFLEXI”) originated in British government programs to bring people with complex lives - who often can’t work regular hours - into the mainstream labor market.

  • Detailed: The system stores a range of verified data-points about each worker: what skills they have, attributes that can track outcomes (are they currently a student for instance), their personal rules about work tasks (are they comfortable standing for long periods for example) and the types of work they are permitted to do.

  • Instant matching: With dozens of authenticated details on each person, the platform can match any requirement for workers to whose training, aptitude, and personal priorities match the need. Each worker can have as many of these different types of work in their portfolio as they wish.

  • Instant booking: The system knows each worker’s hour-by-hour availability; today, tomorrow or weeks ahead. It can instantly identify available, trained, approved, willing, workers for any type of work in any location around the city. Workers have controls, protections, stability, and progression.

  • Long Beach leads the way: Our program was originally funded by national and state philanthropies with further funds from unions. It won the US Conference of Mayors’ prize for best job or economic development initiative in America, attracting nationwide interest and press coverage. The platform is multi-language and has a suite of tools for disabled users.

 

 

How does WorkLB serve a City program?

We can illustrate with a fictitious example:

  • Imagine a pool of perhaps 2,500 Community Health Workers (“CHW’s”). They are hired and supervised by a range of community organizations around the City, some big some small.

  • A core of this workforce are 9-to-5 or have regular part-time hours. Others in the pool seek work to fit around their fluctuating medical issues. Or they have parenting, family caregiving, or studying commitments that change day-today. They want to work only at times they can be free.

  • Our imaginary pool has, maybe, 12 possible core training modules plus additional requirements from some of the community organizations. The pool speaks multiple languages and has a wide range of personal ambitions, likes and dislikes. They live around the City and generally wish to work close to home. 

  • Assume there are 75,000 to 100,000 service users who need CHW’s support, each with their own locality, preferences, skills required of workers, patterns of visits needed, levels of predictability, and ability to support themselves.

 

Without WorkLB, engaging, training, scheduling, payrolling, tracking and supervising this workforce will be a huge overhead. Some community organizations will use phone calls to tell workers what to do, others might adopt crude “broadcast text messages” type systems. Overwhelmed by the logistics, some will probably just issue regular rotas that minimise responsiveness to community needs. 

If a problem occurs, such as allegations of unprofessional behavior by a worker, the ability to respond, contain, and investigate will be constrained by inefficient processes. Workers with complex lives who can’t work predictable hours are likely to be disadvantaged in their scheduling, training, and  opportunities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is how that program might be administered using WorkLB’s platform:

  • Set up: Each participating community organization is set up on the platform. They register their clients and workers (or allow the individuals to do it themselves). Each organization’s staff then approve client and worker accounts, confirming they have checked any certification claimed. Workers input their availability for work; today, tomorrow, weeks ahead or on a regular weekly pattern.

  • Matching: The platform knows who can do what, when each worker is available, their travel area, which service users like which workers, which service users have specific needs (“CHW’s must be happy with a large dog in the apartment” for example). And so on. 

  • Making bookings: Community organization staff can instantly arrange visits, recurring regularly or at short notice. Or they can give a service user their own account and allow them (or a family member, friend or volunteer) to make self-service arrangements within a stipulated allocation. (As one example a family might be allocated 25 hours of support worker time a month.)

  • Auditing: The platform generates a timesheet for each visit which – once confirmed by worker and service user – generates payroll and reporting data. Alternatively, it can (with permission) use EVV: Electronic Visit Verification. This asks the worker to clock in and out of assignments using their phone to create a legal record that they were at a given location at specified times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits of the platform

A department adopting our platform as part of their program will enhance: 

  • Community Control: The system allows each community organization to operate autonomously but with the appropriate City department able to enforce rules, any core processes, and checks. Participating organizations can partner with each other (“I will allow our workers to be booked by your staff and service users”) with full control. This deepens everyone’s resilience and opportunities.

  • Accountability: Every last cent of spending through the platform can be tracked back to a booking; How long did it last? Who made it? Who authorized the worker and service user? How do we know it happened? And so on. Any problems can be instantly contained. For instance, if a worker is believed to be unprofessional, that person can be instantly suspended pending investigation. The system will reassign his bookings. It can also show who authorized the worker and freeze all other workers approved by that person until they are re-vetted. 

  • Worker prospects: Pandemic spending will eventually wind down. The platform allows each worker to start building personalized pathways into new skills, additional employment, and jobs. We are working with agencies, including US Department of Labor, on how workers on sophisticated platforms like ours can be best bought into workforce board support, even if they are unable to work full time.

  • Planning: The platform’s uniquely granular data shows hour-by-hour utilization of workers, availability of specific skills in any location over the next ten weeks (A sample enquiry might be: “How many Spanish speaking workers trained in business support are currently available to work in Bixby Knolls over weekends in August?”) Skills gaps can be spotted – and remedied – weeks ahead.

  • Close relationships: With a large pool of workers that is precisely allocated, workers and service users can be matched in depth. That fosters connections between, for example, grandmothers supporting other grandmothers. The system allows a very specific work type to be set up for just one business or family, even if there is only one worker in the entire pool who can deliver the required mix of certification, preferences and language.

 

 

Next steps?

The launch team can do the implementation planning for City departments. We ask for a call with an operational manager and will turn the knowledge gained into a planning memo.

      Preparing a plan

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