Thor Wood crafted the business plan for SnapShyft ten business days after a hangover. In that period, he realized that he could fill a need that the food and hospitality industries has been having for a while, which is of consistent quality staffing. With SnapShyft, he helps the businesses in these sectors maintain a full roster of personnel, on-demand, and which has been fully screened by experienced industry professionals.
With SnapShyft, Thor Wood has developed a “labor marketplace,” taking full advantage of the new market developments brought on by the gig economy. This marketplace “connects understaffed hospitality and food and beverage operations with qualified industry professionals on demand.” The app helps these businesses fill shifts quickly. By combining his skills with co-founder Stephanie Corliss, he pushes forward with his goal of setting a new standard for “how this industry manages staffing gaps.”
In September 2016, Thor Wood and Stephanie Corliss joined The Indy Startup Challenge, a “10-week startup bootcamp that guides potential founders through the process of building and validating a business model,” from a strong concept. Out of this bootcamp, the pair decided to found SnapShyft.
Throughout his tenure at SnapShyft, Thor Wood has seen its rapid climb to the top spot in the market. The company has been “rated #1 most reliable staffing solution in the market.” This success has led the company to rack up nominations and prizes from multiple outlets. SnapShyft has been named part of the Top 15 Startups of the Year in 2019, and has received the Emerging Tech Culture Award in the same year.
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Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Thor Wood: I think what makes us stand out is the genesis of SnapShyft — which began when I had a terrible experience at a brewery and was told it was due to on-going staffing issues. I was triggered, as I began recalling the scenario from my time in the service industry, what it was like to be on a short-staffed team constantly, and why I ultimately ran from it as fast as I could — remembering the resentment and burnout I felt. This became an ongoing discussion between my Co-Founder and I — We realized nothing had changed with how these businesses manage labor in at least two decades or more and as we started looking at why businesses were continually leaning on the old way of staffing, particularly in the hospitality, food service, and food manufacturing space we realized we had a huge market opportunity and more importantly millions of underpaid, underserved, and underbanked individuals that are too often overlooked — these workers became our reasoning to build an equitable gig-platform.
Our time in the industry led to making sure SnapShyft was a “worker-driven platform”, akin to a certain popular dating app where women must make the first move. On SnapShyft it is the workers that select the jobs they want based on a number of factors such as a business’ rating in the app, job compensation, location, length of shift, and ultimately the reputation of the business… In other words we don’t allow businesses to pick and choose between available workers. Through research we have found that such “selection” leads to persistent discrimination and bias; specifically gender and ethnicity which is something we don’t tolerate. Going further, the system discourages discrimination or bias, with built-in costs should a business reject a worker based solely on age, gender, or race for example, the worker is guaranteed compensation despite not working, and the business is potentially removed from the platform.
My Co-Founder, Stephanie, is also my significant other and we have 5 children between us (2, 4, 6, 11, 18). So it’s 100% a startup lifestyle with personal and professional lives fully intertwined. Add to that being based in the Midwest has forced us to make every single dollar count as fundraising is a bit different than on the coasts, but we can also do more with less here so it’s a bit of a trade-off. My opinion having grown up in Indiana, is that the get-it-done work ethic is pervasive and meshes well with my Co-Founder who was born & bred in the Bay Area.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Thor Wood: I believe it is very much ok to be vulnerable. This enables leaders to remain teachable/coachable and, to that end, embrace having a coach, leaning on your mentors, your board, etc. And continuously practice manipulating & influencing your own behavior & mindset; adjusting your focal points from time to time; And of course be sure to calendar time to really disconnect, recharge, refocus.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Thor Wood: My Co-Founder, Stephanie Corliss, is also my life partner. She has willingly helped me since the early days performing diligence on the concept, and researching commercial viability; and emphatically provided her full support to pursue launching a technology startup while relocating to a new city to do so. I formally asked her to be my Co-Founder after earning our spot in the startup bootcamp — So we are a “founding couple” so to speak and Stephanie balances my personality and is strong in areas that I am less so. Working together, especially during COVID, means our homestead (5 kids) is saturated in the startup with us — for better or worse (mostly better imo). We have been inspired by the successes and what has worked well for “founding couples” at Houzz, Slideshare, Eventbrite, Cisco, VMWare, and Flickr among others.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?
Thor Wood: Well a CEO’s goal should be to replace yourself task by task, and do so by hiring the right leaders at the right time in a company’s life cycle that can work well together — ideally injecting plenty of cognitive diversity into the mix. Because time is a commodity, in order to do more or make the most of your allotted time each day a leader must find myriad ways to do less (through delegation), so all available energy is put into building the company. The flip side to this being a leader that can’t focus on the important areas and high leverage activities that will deliver the most impact or upside to the company.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?
Thor Wood: A couple reasons I’ve seen firsthand that have impacted a leader’s ability to delegate revolve around a base fear that by delegating away items that are on their plate they somehow reduce their value in that given role. Also not having the ability to quantify the value of their time and match that against what a task requires. Combined this leads to a stifling or chilling effect on achieving goals and the manager becomes a bottleneck whether they realize it or not.
And the challenges needing to be solved should dictate what capabilities, experiences and backgrounds the team must possess to deliver desired results. For us, as a tech startup, each of our team members has worn multiple hats each and every day, and we know over time we can continue to identify the core strengths matched with the core passions of each individual, which will guide responsibilities given.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?
Thor Wood: In my opinion most people don’t truly value their time, or have a way to quantify what their time is worth. So those management capacity waste half of their time on tasks that should be delegated. Not necessarily to an employee but to machines and tools. For example our numbers show that managers in the hospitality, food service, and food manufacturing sector are wasting up to 20 hrs a week on managing labor/staff issues. But to completely eliminate this time wastage would be a shock to their systems at first (change is painful at first), but the upside is tremendous — think what could be accomplished with an extra 1,000 hours each year put towards high-leverage activities.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Thor Wood: I believe the most broad sweeping impact will come from the elimination of the credit bureaus — being replaced by the use of blockchain technology. There are so many untapped areas of application that when tied to the greater whole of the financial systems and the ways we exchange money on a transactional basis will paint a far better and more fair representation of a person’s credit worthiness and ability to pay. Taking this a step further you can see this intertwine beautifully with the future of work, the future of education, job training, and up-skilling. Of course there is always somebody that is greatly benefiting from the status quo and they do not want things to change. But this would be a truly fundamental change with massive positive upside for millions.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Thor Wood: You can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.
And of course SnapShyft can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
The post This is Thor Wood, Founder and CEO of SnapShyft appeared first on Tekrati.