M-WAKS, a new platform by Kenya’s Dreamwaks Ltd has launched to help individuals, SMEs and corporate companies to hire, rate and verify workers specifically in the gig economy.
M-WAKS aims to be a bridge that connects individuals or corporate employers or SMEs to blue-collar employees looking for employment in their area or from around the country.
With over 7,000+ users and growing daily, M-WAKS has so far facilitated over 400 placements and is pushing towards helping end the hassle that users go through to access blue-collar workers to work with though there is some competition from firms like Lynk and Ajiry.
M-WAKS is unique in that it allows employers to Hire, Rate and Verify a worker all under one platform. It also offers an online shopping experience for its clients and aims to create trust in the blue-collar industry.
The platform works simply. A user signs up using either their email address or social media profiles such as Facebook and Google or a phone number. After signing up on the web app, a user adds details to their profile to confirm it. The details include full names, email address, phone number then proceed to verify, hire or rate an employee.
To verify a worker before hiring them, a user will need to make payment then have access to their details. M-WAKS payment system runs on Safaricom M-PESA API, so once a user clicks on Proceed, they will receive a prompt from Safaricom to make an M-PESA payment of $2.3.
Verification allows employers to ensure that the worker they just hired has no record of wrongdoing at other employment places. To verify an employee you will only need to have their ID number.
M-WAKS promises plenty of verified blue-collar workers. To hire, the platform has a list of employes who have been rated already. An employer selects an employee he or she is interested in and then pays a one-off convenience fee of $5 that is valid for 7 days. After paying $5, one is able to shortlist and interview four employees.
The web app caters to the users of both smartphones and feature phones and therefore suitable for the African market where smartphone penetration is still not that high.
According to the team, there are a number of challenges in running the service in Kenya such as skepticism, literacy levels, lack of smartphones and side selling.
“Considering the kind of information that we require to create an employee profile, some of the employees tend to think that we have ulterior motives which is not the case. Thus it needs a bit more convincing before one can sign up,” the team said.
On literacy, the literacy levels in the blue-collar industry are a bit lower compared to the White Collar Industry and that means that it has to get staff to help in the registration process and even that has its challenges due to how they understand the concept.
Side selling usually occurs after clients have already interacted with the platform and they need the services again, they are more likely to get in touch directly with the service provider without going back through the application.
“Recently we started recruiting employees outside Nairobi because the only way we can offer service beyond Nairobi is by having a ready workforce outside Nairobi, the firm said. “We are also working on features that will allow Employers to post jobs for Employees seeking these positions and our M-WAKS App for Employers is just going through the final touches and is set to be launched in the next couple of weeks.”