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How Hatch is helping to redeploy stood-down workers

4-minute read

Hatch founder Adam Jacobs tells how the COVID-19 crisis presented an opportunity to pivot his business and help redeploy workers who have been made redundant.

Key take-outs
  • Hatch is a digital work placement platform originally designed to connect young people with paid work placements
  • Founders Adam Jacobs and Chaz Heitner created a spin-off platform, Hatch Exchange, in just a week to help workers stood down due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Since launching, 130 employers have joined the exchange and around 10,000 workers have registered their interest in a redeployment opportunity. Jacobs says, on the whole, feedback from participating employers has been excellent

With thousands of workers made redundant due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Adam Jacobs, founder of digital work placement platform Hatch, saw an opportunity to repurpose his business and connect people with redeployment opportunities. 

Hatch’s seven-day transformation

Created in 2017, Hatch was initially designed to connect young people with paid work placements. Jacobs, who also co-founded online fashion retailer The Iconic, says the company’s original mission was to help students and graduates find genuinely meaningful work.


“The problem we're really trying to solve for the young people in the next generation is ‘how do you figure out what type of work is right for you?’ This is a question that everybody can relate to,” he tells Westpac Wire. “Our belief at Hatch is that the best way to find the path to meaningful work – and what I mean by that is work that's a really great fit for your strengths, your passions and your style – is actually to get out and try out a bunch of different things.”


In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, Jacobs and co-founder Chaz Heitner had the idea to repurpose the Hatch platform to help stood-down workers find new, temporary work opportunities that match their direct or underlying skill set. Within just a week, the pair launched a new digital labour exchange, Hatch Exchange.


“Quite early on during the COVID crisis, we spoke with a number of our partners at large employers, and what we heard from them was that there was going to be a wave of labour dislocation coming,” says Jacobs. 


“So within seven days, we took our existing technology, and we repurposed it to be able to match and redeploy stood-down workers into new jobs that were a good fit for their underlying transferable abilities.”

Connecting stood-down workers to new job opportunities

Hatch Exchange enables temporary work placements between businesses standing down workers and businesses scaling up. This means employees of participating organisations who have been stood down due to the COVID-19 pandemic have the opportunity to find work at other organisations where there’s need for more support.


“It’s a B2B exchange,” explains Jacobs. “Employers sign up on both sides of the market – either they've got a workforce being stood down who they would like to assist in finding redeployment opportunities for this temporary period, or you've got other employers who are needing to scale up new resources quite quickly.”


After an organisation signs up, Hatch manages all employment administration tasks, including background checks, payroll, and onboarding, and it facilitates a smooth return for employees when their old employers open up again. 


Since launching in April, 130 employers have joined the exchange and around 10,000 workers have registered their interest in a redeployment opportunity. Jacobs says, on the whole, feedback from participating employers has been excellent.


“Within that talent pool between the 130 organisations and the thousands of staff, you've got some of the top talent in Australia who are super well trained, very motivated and very adaptive,” he says. “The stories we're hearing from the organisations they’re being placed in is just overwhelmingly positive in terms of their performance.”

What’s next for Hatch?

Looking forward, Jacobs says he and the Hatch team are thinking about how they can continue to support a broad range of workers while staying true to their original mission.


“By no means have we dropped our student model,” he explains. “Whenever we talk in our team about how we've made a pivot, I get a little spine tingle because a pivot usually means that you've left behind your previous business model.


“[But] the question for us now is thinking about this initiative we're doing through the labour exchange. How might we be able to continue to support the economic rebuild period over the coming years, and perhaps integrate that initiative back into our core business?”


For those who have been stood down or impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, Jacobs stresses the importance of relying on available support measures. 


“Even though this is a tough moment, there's going to be a whole lot of support structures out there around you to help. I would encourage people to take advantage of them and to find those opportunities.”

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Things you should know

This article is a general overview and should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before acting.