FMI-The Food Industry Association has partnered with online hiring and talent search service Eightfold.ai to create a national marketplace to employee workers displaced by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Called the Eightfold Talent Exchange, the platform will serve as a bridge between organizations that need to quickly hire and companies with staff who have been furloughed or laid off, FMI and Eightfold.ai said Monday. The exchange will connect human resources and business leaders to collaborate across corporate and industry boundaries to fulfill the tremendous swings in labor needs.
“The food industry plays a vital role in maintaining the nation’s critical infrastructure during this national emergency, and we are witness to the unprecedented demand challenges — from products to labor,” FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said in a statement. “Our communities rely on vital frontline businesses in food, manufacturing and delivery services, and this new Talent Exchange will help many unemployed and furloughed workers in their time of need.”
Using artificial intelligence-based algorithms, the Eightfold Talent Exchange matches candidates with job openings based on each person’s skills and experience.
Employers can invite workers to participate in the program, add lists of impacted employees and send them a link to register for the exchange. Through one dashboard, employers can see their entire impacted workforce and filter by role, department or location to view details on hiring companies’ talent needs and how their impacted employees are getting placed in new roles. Meanwhile, impacted employees can create or update profiles and answer questions about job preferences, and that information will be readily available to hiring companies.
“We are in a situation where businesses need to quickly fill roles to keep operations moving at this critical time. Talent Exchange, with its matching technology, is exactly what we need to hire quickly based on talent and potential,” according to Ashutosh Garg, CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based Eightfold.ai. “If you’re hiring, it’s an incredible way to help the community. And if your company is going through tough times, you can place your workers into roles at other companies that need their help. Doing so will fill critical shortages and create goodwill with your workers, in hopes that they will rejoin you when business conditions improve.”
Eightfold.ai and FMI noted that hiring companies will be able to see candidate matches generated by the exchange so they can contact these prospects and/or immediately offer them jobs. Eightfold.ai said it also can automate and personalize these contacts to speed the process. Hiring companies, too, can add onboarding instructions to enable new hires to start as soon as possible.
“The geographic collaboration is critical to match people who need jobs to the open roles in the same or adjacent community,” added Kamal Ahluwalia, president of Eightfold.ai, whose Talent Intelligence Platform powers the exchange. “Talent Exchange is built to meet the needs of all stakeholders and accelerate this phenomenal collaboration unfolding in front of our eyes.”
With the coronavirus outbreak forcing thousands of businesses to shut down for an uncertain time period, demand for jobs continues to escalate as millions of Americans suddenly find themselves out of work. Unemployment claims jumped by another 6.6 million last week, lifting the two-week total to nearly 10 million, according to the U.S. Department of Labor figures cited by FMI.
The grocery industry — deemed an “essential, critical business” by the federal government — has stepped up to help fill the jobs gap as it scrambles to supply consumers stockpiling food and daily essentials and take stronger safety measures in stores and warehouses to mitigate the spread of the virus. To meet these demands, companies such as The Kroger Co., C&S Wholesale Grocers, Albertsons Cos., Ahold Delhaize USA, Walmart, United Natural Foods, SpartanNash, Publix Super Markets, Aldi, Save A Lot, Instacart and others are looking to fill tens of thousands of new jobs, focusing on displaced workers in hard-hit sectors such as foodservice, restaurants and hospitality.
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