Uber India's innovative recruitment strategy
At any given point in time, there are capable people out there who are looking for a long term or a short term job (to support them financially while they figure out a long term calling). If you are a looking-to-scale employer like Uber, you would find a way to reach out to just those pools.
Uber is doing it again in India with UberFAUJI, the India rendition of its UberMILITARY in the US, and UberDOST, it’s India-first referral app. And it looks wonderful because along the way, it seems to be helping people out — the jobseekers (UberFAUJI) and the recruiters (UberDOST).
Not every ex-serviceman exactly has a reentry plan upon going back to civilian life. It in fact is a very difficult transition that should not be aggravated by the want of work or money, as pensions currently provided are low and unsustainable for veterans and their families. Moreover, Army service ends for many at the age of 35, which is very early compared to most professional retirements. Enter UberFAUJI which makes this difficult transition financially viable, in addition to providing some key benefits of self-employment.
"They make up some of the country's most talented leaders. They have trained hard, weathered adversities and risked their lives to protect us. We thus feel indebted to give them distinct advantages over other partners," an Uber spokesperson told the Economic Times. "From ex-servicemen looking for flexible part-time work while they look for another job, to the ones looking for a full-time opportunity, we have room for all," he added. Here are some targeted advantages that makes sense:
Self starting economic opportunity: Upon enrollment, the servicemen can either drive themselves or hire others to drive for them. Those without a commercial car are also offered special schemes of easy loans for the car, which allow them to own the vehicle within 3 years.
Flexibility plus: Not every veteran is looking for full-time or long term work as a driver or a manager of drivers. The flexibility to be online and at-service or offline and off-duty remains at the joinee’s disposal. The control over working hours allows even those who are planning and scouting for long-term opportunities stay soluble. They can earn an income while looking for a job. They can also manage their time to be with families and loved ones, after years of being away from them during service.
Down time: As one American veteran put it in relation to UberMILITARY, “Not everyone is ready to put on a suit and get back out there”. Often times retiring servicemen may not know what they want to do and need time to figure that out. UberFAUJI is able to provide an employment opportunity with social easing as veterans get informal chances to come in contact with a lot of people in the form of riders.
Like UberMILITARY, for which Uber worked closely with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes program to connect with and streamline the on-boarding process for the military community, UberFAUJI has also partnered up with the Army Welfare Placement Organization (AWPO) to connect with maximum number of ex-servicemen. Under the agreement, AWPO refers potential ex-servicemen who wish to become driver-partners on to the Uber platform and encourages them to consider becoming Uber driver-partners.
AWPO, which comes under the Ministry of Defence, has a pool of about 100,000 ex-servicemen that it assists in securing private sector jobs. This is of course providing Uber with a large pool of reliable and verified drivers and is also boosting its image as a talent-recognizing, employment provider. The company can surely use that to offset some of its notoriety for getting embroiled in various contentions and lawsuits across the globe.
As a proof of success, it is said that 10,000 veterans have joined Uber through UberFAUJI in the six months since its launch.
Faced with a shortage of drivers for its scaling ambitions, Uber started a program about 11 months ago to monetarily reward those who referred good drivers. It took the shape of an app which can be used to make referrals. There are many successful stories of informal recruiters or ‘Uber Dosts’ like Ramadas and Nandini who have taken the initiative to help themselves and the company. Often these Dosts have innovative ideas as to how and where they can find able drivers and make successful pitches to them to enroll with Uber. A Dost partner is eligible for a one-time referral reward of Rupees 5,000 for each driver who successfully joins Uber and completes a minimum number of rides.
"We are in a hyper growth environment and wanted to find strategic partners who can help us scale our supply," Nikhil Goel, product manager, international growth, Uber told the Economic Times, "At the same time, several tour and travel companies are suffering because everything's moving online. They have a network of professional commercial drivers, and with this new platform, they can refer them to us.”
The Dost program is becoming Uber’s preferred mode of recruiting as it expands to more Indian cities. UberDOST has also spread to Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines, with more than 5K Uber Dosts in total.