Legion’s founder aims to close the gap between what employers and workers need

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Whereas taking an extended street journey throughout the U.S. years in the past, Sanish Mondkar realized that there have been stark, problematic disconnects between employers and the workers they make use of.

To critics of late-stage capitalism, which may sound like an apparent statement. However Mondkar, who has a grasp’s in laptop science from Cornell, says that seeing the problems up shut made all of the distinction.

“Touring from city to city, I couldn’t assist however discover the perpetual ‘for rent’ indicators plastering the home windows of numerous labor-intensive companies resembling retailers and eating places,” he mentioned. “Concurrently, I noticed workers often altering jobs, but struggling to make a residing wage. This disparity between employers’ wants and staff’ realities struck a chord with me.”

Impressed by this expertise, in addition to stints at Ariba as EVP and chief product officer at SAP, Mondkar got down to construct a startup that helps firms handle their workforces — significantly contract and gig workforces. His enterprise, Legion, in the present day introduced it raised $50 million in funding led by Riverwood Capital with participation from Norwest, Stripes, Webb Funding Community and XYZ.

“My goal was to rebuild the enterprise class of workforce administration to be able to maximize labor effectivity for the companies and ship worth to the employees concurrently,” Mondkar mentioned. “I needed to distinguish the corporate itself with a concentrate on clever automation of WFM and the worker worth proposition.”

Legion is designed to help prospects — employers like Cinemark, Greenback Normal, 5 Beneath and Panda Specific — in managing their hourly workers by automating sure selections, like how a lot labor to deploy the place and when to schedule staff. Bearing in mind demand forecasting, labor optimization and the preferences of workers, Legion’s platform generates work schedules.

Staff whose firms are on Legion can use its cellular app to request how they wish to work and set their most well-liked hours. Legion’s algorithm then tries to match the preferences of staff with the wants of the enterprise.

“We use algorithms educated on a mix of buyer knowledge and third-party knowledge, which Legion aggregates from its companions,” Mondkar mentioned. “This integration permits for forecasts for planning and useful resource allocation.”

Along with the bottom scheduling options, Legion — very on development — is leaning into generative AI with a device known as Copilot (to not be confused with Microsoft Copilot). Copilot solutions questions on work knowledgeable by a corporation’s worker handbook, labor requirements and coaching content material. Within the coming months, Copilot will achieve the flexibility to summarize work schedules and fulfill requests so as to add or delete shifts or change staffer assignments.

“With a view to entice and retain workers, firms using hourly labor should emulate gig-like flexibility,” Mondkar mentioned. “Legion supplies this with the clever automation of scheduling. Managers can match workers to projected demand, closing the hole between the wants of workers and the wants of the enterprise.”

That’s all nicely and advantageous, however two regarding issues stand out to me about Legion: its privateness coverage and earned wage entry (EWA) program.

Legion says it shops buyer knowledge for seven years by default — a very long time by any measure. Extra concerningly, the information contains personally identifiable info like staff’ first and final names, e mail and residential addresses, ages, photographs and work preferences. Large yikes.

Legion says the information is important to “facilitate scheduling in compliance with labor laws,” and that customers can request that their knowledge be deleted at any time. However I query the benefit of the deletion course of — and simply how clear Legion is about its knowledge retention insurance policies to prospects.

My different gripe with Legion is InstantPay, Legion’s EWA program, which lets workers entry a portion of their earned wages forward of their scheduled paydays. Legion fees staff $2.99 for fast earned wage transfers, whereas next-day transfers are free — which may not sound like very a lot, however it may well add up for a low-income employee. Legion pitches this as a profit for hourly staff that offers them “larger flexibility” and “management” over their funds, in addition to a enterprise retention device. However EWA applications are underneath scrutiny from policymakers, client rights advocates and employers. Legion’s cellular app.

Some client teams argue that EWA applications needs to be categorized as loans underneath the U.S. Fact in Lending Act, which supplies protections resembling requiring lenders to offer advance discover earlier than rising sure fees. These teams say EWA applications can power customers into overdraft whereas successfully levying curiosity by means of charges.

 

As well as, it’s not clear whether or not EWA applications are a internet win for employers. Walmart just lately tried to fight attrition by giving hourly workers entry to wages early. As an alternative, it discovered that workers utilizing EWA tended to give up sooner.

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