What can we learn from long-term users of flexible labor?

Key takeaways

  • On average, the longest-tenured Partners on the Instawork platform pay higher hourly rates
  • They also achieve slightly higher fill rates than other Partners hiring for the same roles in the same markets
  • These Partners make more use of rosters and long-term assignments, ensuring consistency in their hourly workforce

What's the right way to use flexible labor via platforms like Instawork? Our latest white paper suggests an overarching strategy, but to get into the nuts and bolts we thought it would be useful to study the behavior of our most tenured Partners. With experience comes wisdom, so the Partners who have used the Instawork platform the longest may hint at the best practices for everyone.

For this analysis, we're looking at Partners who have posted shifts on the Instawork platform in 2021, 2022, and 2023. We'll compare their behavior to the averages for all shifts posted for the same roles in the same markets. And they're definitely different from the averages.

You get what you pay for

Our longest-tenured Partners started out paying hourly rates to our Pros that were slightly higher but still fairly similar to the averages for the same roles in the same markets. But as time went on, and more Partners joined us, these early-adopting Partners began to separate themselves from the pack. Here is how the trends look when the raw data are smoothed:

Average hourly rates came down slightly after the holidays in both 2022 and 2023. Since then, they have grown along with inflation in consumer prices. Yet the gap between what our longest-tenured Partners pay and the average has also grown, and now it's close to $0.50 an hour.

So why have our longest-tenured Partners been paying progressively more for flexible labor? Maybe it's because they figured out that this was the best way to fill shifts with high-quality Pros. Typically we have found that our Partners' reviews of shifts have been better when they have paid higher-than-average rates to our Pros. Here are the trends in fill rate for the same groups over the same period:

The difference is small, though our longest-serving Partners have consistently achieved higher fill rates than the average. Now, there could be another channel of causality – that is, these Partners may have stuck around precisely because they were achieving high fill rates with high-quality Pros. Yet if that were the case, why would they pay above average hourly rates? It seems more likely that the higher pay rates are related to quality and fill rates.

Keep them coming back for more

Another distinctive behavior among our longest-tenured Partners is the use of tools that go beyond one-time shift bookings. On our platform, businesses can add workers they like to rosters and then dispatch shifts exclusively to these rosters. They can also book long-term assignments – blocks of shifts that typically last for a month or more.

Our longest-tenured Partners have tended to have a significantly higher share of roster-based shifts than the averages for the same roles and markets:

There are some seasonal variations here, since periods of peak demand may require businesses to bring in more workers on a one-time basis. But right now, the difference in the trends is almost four percentage points on a base of 25%. The trend for long-term assignments, which are a more recent addition to our platform, is similar:

Greater use of rosters and long-term assignments means that the same Pros are coming back to work at the same businesses again and again. This kind of consistency builds an experienced workforce and helps to raise productivity. It also creates a ready-made pool of workers who are candidates for permanent hires. So when it comes to getting the most from a flexible labor platform, learn from the people who know!

Realtime metrics

These metrics, derived from data aggregated across the Instawork platform, compare the two weeks starting 8/31/2023 to the previous two weeks. To control for the overall growth of the Instawork marketplace, only shifts involving businesses that booked shifts in both periods are included:

  • $0.19 rise in hourly pay
  • 0.6% point drop in share of short-notice shifts
  • 0.6 hours rise in hours per existing worker

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