Trust, the ultimate on-demand economy convenience.

Words, mark kirkbride, hubbul

We all like to feel trusted. It’s in our human, social and peer group DNA. And trust works in all sorts of ways, but most importantly,  it enables people to do business with each other.  And doing business with trust creates wealth.

In the ever growing on-demand economy, the main currency is trust. We buy with it. And with trust, buying becomes so much easier. Combine trust with efficiency - or instant gratification - and you have convenience.

In an economy powered by trusted convenience we feel comfortable using nifty little apps to borrow cars, share work-spaces, lend out our spare rooms, borrow DIY stuff, give up our drives for parking and even learn new skills and languages. From online payments, holiday bookings, restaurant reviews, and professional recommendations, we already share, swap, barter, beg, borrow and trade on trust everyday.

With the likes of AirBnB, Handy, ZipCar and TaskRabbit, to Ebay, Trip Advisor, Amazon and Yerdle, trust is sat smack-bang at the centre of the world’s most successful on-demand marketplaces. And the list is growing fast. 

What does trust do for the on-demand workforce?

By bringing together freelancers and employers, we connect, ‘I need’ with ‘I have’, supported by trust. The value shifts from a digital connection to a physical relationship where time, money and expertise exchange hands.

Freelancers, contractors and interims are all micro entrepreneurs, free to run their own business exactly how they want. Reputation is their most valuable asset, and it’s from that reputation they can secure better clients and earn more money. Their reputation has a financial value which builds with every project.   

Trust in the on-demand workforce allows us to rediscover human connection through personal relationships in a digital environment. For example, online dating led the way for the digitalisation of physical connection. One single thumb swipe to the right can lead you to all sorts of physical escapades, relationships and even marriage. So is it that hard to imagine hiring being as simple as a flick to the right?

Trust Pilot, has some handy stats which show the power of trust when we buy products and services. 77% of UK consumers using the internet will look to online reviews before deciding on a purchase. And 62% of those asked say they’re more likely to do business with a company after reading a positive review.

The stats don’t lie. We trust the herds. Just look at Trip Advisor, the Marmite of the trust economy. Love it or loathe it, TripAdvisor influences whether you buy into something or not.  People can’t help but use it to check out a new find. The only trouble is, we’re only discovering what everyone else has already found and already rated.

So how does a newbie take on the trust leaders? Well, they have to embrace the trust economy and actively seek and encourage trust scores, both good and bad. With the bad they improve, which shows they care. And with each good review they climb that trust ladder, build customer loyalty and get more business.

It only takes a few trust scores to get noticed, and there are herds of people who trust others views, ready to part with their time and cash, all based on a trust score or review.

So what’s next for trust in the on-demand economy?

The road ahead is an interesting one, with tonnes to be excited about. But inevitably, a few causes for concern as well. 

Trust scores will be taken from multiple sources, giving a more complete picture to how much an overall community trusts you. And if the future is peer-to-peer trust, we’ll need even more ways to measure it to help build safer, more verified, relevant online reputations.

Sound good right? Not really. Think of it like this: just because you flog your wears on eBay or Amazon as a top rated seller, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good host on AirBnB, can be trusted to fix a boiler or even teach someone a new language.

Trust predictions for the on-demand workforce

The on-demand workforce will be self governing, proactively building reputations based on good and bad reviews. New trust metrics will emerge, based on simple quality controls from the most trusted sources.

The drab CV will die a well deserved and overdue death, as digital profiles with combined trust scores will take its place. These will have superior influence on whether to buy, with reputation acting as a key metric and the level of expertise as the other.

People will be pre-verified and authenticated. A tried, tested and trusted on-demand workforce will grow in size and importance. They will be available whenever, wherever and come ready to rock, with all the compliance done in the cloud.

Trust will be mutual, and on-demand workers will trust score their projects and employers. The employment brand will leave the realms of HR and marketing and enter into open digital age where the community defines brand value. 

The power of trust is huge. Digital word of mouth started merely as a mutter, but now is a full-fledged shouting match as people compete to build their reputation to win more business.

Trust is at the very core of digital businesses today, and digital trust is an economy in it’s own right. As hiring sits on the verge of becoming the next industry to embrace the on-demand economy, trust is sure to be key to it all.

How important has trust and reputation been to you as a freelancer? Join the conversation...

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