Verizon and Accenture help tee up People + Work Connect employer-to-employer platform

With massive layoffs and furloughs around the globe due to the COVID-19 crisis, four companies have banded together to create a new platform to help people find new jobs at a faster rate.

After several weeks brainstorming during phone calls, the program, which is called People + Work Connect, was launched last week by Accenture, Lincoln Financial Group, ServiceNow, and Verizon. Participating companies include ADM, Baxter, Blue Apron, Cargill, CVS, Frito-Lay, Lincoln Financial Group, Pepsi, Marriott, Mondelēz International, Nordstrom, ServiceNow, Wal-Mart and Zenefits. Additionally, more than 250 companies are expected to join this week, and the platform will soon add public sector jobs.

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Verizon's Christy Pambianchi, executive vice president and chief human resources officer, said she had been in conference calls several weeks ago with Lisa M. Buckingham, executive vice president and chief people, place and brand officer for Lincoln Financial Group, Pat Wadors, chief talent officer at ServiceNow, and Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s chief leadership and human resources officer, in regards to sharing best business practices for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

"Depending on the geographic location, their product mix, etcetera, various companies are hit differently," Pambianchi said of the impact of the coronavirus. "I said to a number of HR leaders that I've known for a long time that I think there's really a call to action here for us to do something different beyond just best practices sharing because we're looking at unemployment levels that rival the Depression, and an impact to the labor force that we haven't seen since World War II as well as raging unemployment rates. These things could really cripple the economy.

"So we talked about 'Couldn't we do more than just share best practices?' Could we create some way of knowing these industries are going to have to layoffs en masse while these other industries are hiring? How to we get the HR teams connected faster so that we can hopefully reduce the amount of time that people are dislocated?"

The business-to-business program, which is powered by Accenture's analytics-driven platform and is free to the companies that participate, was designed to allow the participants to share information in specific areas where they have laid-off employees so another company can hire them right away.

As an example, Pambianchi said if an HR executive in Chicago was looking to hire more employees it would be connected with five companies in the area that recently laid-off or furloughed employees.

"Those companies can follow whatever their normal hiring processes are," she said. "We don't get in the way of or do anything that disrupts the fact that there needs to be a free labor market, but we're accelerating knowledge between employers in what I would say is an incredibly unprecedented time where I think everyday matters for employees and citizens of the countries around the world. We're pretty excited about it. It's a pretty innovative idea. There's never been a platform like this.

"We can really accelerate companies finding out who's looking to hire employees, who's looking to add, and who is looking to reduce. HR teams can really make a difference here."

In addition to being global, People + Work Connect was designed to serve various industry verticals to find and hire employees with similar skill sets from one vertical to another. With the platform, companies get the employees that are the best fit for them while the new employees don't have to go through lengthy unemployment cycles.

The analytics-driven platform pools non-confidential and aggregated workforce information by categories such as location and experience. HR users of the platform can go online to use a tool that allows them to upload geographic areas of the world where there are jobs open. HR teams can search by experience, job titles, or company name. On the other side, companies that are doing layoffs or furloughs can input their information into the platform, including whether the job reductions are temporary or permanent and when people will become available.

In order to scale the program quickly, People + Work received input from Business Roundtable, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies in the ILR School at Cornell University, Center for Executive Succession at the Darla Moore School of Business, Gallup and the CHRO Roundtable, HR Policy Association, Institute for Corporate Productivity, National Academy of Human Resources, Society for Human Resource Management and World50.

"I think we needed to break some paradigms and think about how do people cooperate here?" Pambianchi said. "There are companies hiring and a lot of them joined our platform, so that's very exciting. They have their own hiring protocols and processes, which are required and compliant with the law, but this is a faster way for people to know about the pluses and minuses in the labor economy. We can help take the friction out."

Additional information about the People + Work Connect platform is available via a website.