Some Good News: Workforce Edition

Jordan Ingersoll
April 17, 2020

(PC: Some Good News With John Krasinski Ep. 1)

Let’s face it-- the world has seen better days. That’s why John Krasinski, American actor, filmmaker, and star of “The Office”, created a viral series on YouTube called Some Good News, in which he shares positive global news highlights ranging from the heroic acts of healthcare workers, to celebrating the 15th Anniversary of “The Office”. The show has received tens of millions of views and immeasurable praise, reflecting the strong appetite for, well, some good news! pymetrics has compiled positive snippets from recent press, particularly around the people and tools involved in talent redeployment and the enablement of employee mobility. Continue reading about our favorite highlights below: 

Uber Launches “Work Hub” to Connect Drivers to Opportunities

The app that moves people is asking people not to move. Consequently, ride requests have dropped as much as 70%, and thousands have not been able to drive passengers as usual and are seeking new employment opportunities. Earlier this month, Uber launched a tool called “Work Hub” that connects their US drivers with job vacancies in different departments within Uber, as well as at companies like Dominos, FedEx, Pepsi, Hertz, and more. If you are a driver registered with Uber, you can choose to sign up through the driver app for Uber Eats for food delivery, which is still in high demand, or with Uber Freight for carrying and delivering cargo. The Work Hub will be updated with new opportunities and job openings in real time, and while it is only available to drivers in the US, for those in the UK, Uber is partnering with online retailer Ocado to inform drivers of upcoming food delivery opportunities.

Kansas City’s National WWII Museum is Repurposing Employees to Digitize Archives

Now closed to the public in light of social distancing measures, the National WWII Museum in Missouri has shifted 25% of its workforce to help digitize hundreds of letters, diaries, and journal entries. Transcribing the letters has always been on the museum's to-do list, but a museum director said that because of time constraints and staff capacity, they haven't been able to complete the process-- after all, the museum has around 300,000 objects. Digitizing letters likes these makes them more accessible to the public, and easier to translate into different languages. Fortunately, now that their staff is less focused on interacting with visitors, they have the time to get a significant portion done that they wouldn’t have otherwise, and most importantly, retain their employees while doing so. 

Your next order could be delivered by… a dog?! 

While most restaurants are turning to delivery or curbside pickup, they still acknowledge that they are putting their drivers at risk by having them engage with customers, even if they don’t make direct contact. A Maryland Winery has enlisted the help of their trusted mascot and friend, Soda the 75-pound Boxer (see below), to help solve this problem. He wears a harness with two pockets for the bottles, and energetically scurries out of the shop to customers in their cars who have pre-ordered wine for pick-up. Although fears persist that even petting a dog could be enough to transmit the virus, experts say interacting with household pets doesn’t pose much of a risk at all. This may be impractical for many, but is a great example of how thinking outside the box -- with the support of our furry friends -- can help keep businesses afloat and customers happy. 

PC: Stonehouse Urban Winery Facebook page

A Different Kind of Digital Readiness in High Demand

Ever heard of COBOL? You most likely haven’t if you started using computers in the last 30 years, because this system was first developed back in the 1950’s! It is primarily used in business, finance, and by the government, especially on older mainframe computers. Programming in COBOL is now purely to maintain existing applications and it has otherwise gone out of style…until COVID hit. Many US States’ programs still run on the aging COBOL systems, and with millions of people filing for unemployment all at once, the systems are completely overwhelmed. Most states only have a handful of in-house or contracted COBOL programmers, but they now must enlist significant help to process incoming claims and to get people the resources they need -- and this isn’t even the first time this has happened. Hordes of COBOL coders were pulled out of retirement and put to work during Y2K to ensure that the country’s systems wouldn’t rupture as their internal clocks switched over to the new millennium. Companies are increasingly focused on being digitally ready for the future, but we clearly cannot altogether neglect the digital readiness of the past. 

In the midst of such distress and uncertainty, we are thankful to John Krasinski for reminding us to acknowledge the silver linings. We hope you are staying safe during this time, and are inspired to continue gathering & sharing uplifting stories with your employees, friends, and loved ones. If you have a story of your company or one you follow doing great things during this health crisis, let us know and we’ll feature it in our next post!