07 Nov 2018 | 02.31 pm
Superstar Solution For Temp Staffing
Get The Shifts targets hospitality sector
07 Nov 2018 | 02.31 pm
An entrepreneurship course can help to fine-tune a business idea. For Hannah Wrixon, participating in Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers course pivoted her in a completely different business direction, away from childcare and into hospitality staffing.
Hannah (pictured) is the founder of Get the Shifts, which provides temporary staff on demand to the hospitality sector, especially for bars, hotels and big events.
Since launching in 2016, the Shannon business says it has filled 1,200 temp placements, working with clients such as the Aviva Stadium, Aiken Promotions and The Right Catering Company. Get The Shifts also recently tied down a contract with a UK events company, which is bringing festive-themed events to Belfast later this year.
Hannah comes from an entrepreneurial family, her father having managed pubs and restaurants in London. After finishing school, she moved from Ireland to Australia, where she managed several bars and studied HR.
Hannah moved back to Ireland in 2003 as a single mother, marking the start of her serious entrepreneurial efforts in childcare. “I couldn’t find any childcare that was of the same standard I was used to in Australia,” she recalls. “Everyone said the same thing to me: if I wanted it, I’d have to do it myself.”
Aire Childcare Centre was established in Sixmilebridge in Clare and in 2009 the founder started a second venture, Last Minute Minders, which operated a database of childminders that could be hired for temporary crèche positions as needed.
However, strict Garda vetting requirements around childcare workers and a tough business environment conspired against this idea. Garda rules were relaxed and Hannah kept plugging away with Last Minute Minders, but by 2016 the company had accumulated losses of €109,000.
The entrepreneur then participated in Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers development course in 2015. While on the course, Hannah decided to use the IT setup of Last Minute Minders to pivot into temporary staffing for the hospitality sector.
The switch proved to be a good one. Hannah secured a National Enterprise Award for best startup in 2018 and a ‘best new business’ prize in the Business All-Stars competition. She is hoping to fill a further 700 casual roles in hospitality through Get The Shifts over the next 12 months.
Businesses use Get The Shifts to browse through lists of trained, pre-screened staff members, then offer them a work shift through a smartphone app invitation. Individual workers can accept the shift they want up to three hours before it begins and check in and out through GPS.
“To work for Get The Shifts, staff are interviewed and reference-checked, before going through training in areas such as food safety, health and safety, and customer service,” says Hannah. “The recruitment procedure is so rigorous that we call them ‘superstars’ if they get through.”
Get The Shifts uses Waterford e-learning company Dulann to train her staff members. “We always pay them the Wednesday or Thursday of the week after they have worked, which is very unusual,” she explains.
Five staff run Get The Shifts, while 500 ‘superstar’ temp staff are on the books. Hannah says that she will start looking for financial backers in early 2019, having outgrown the supports offered through the Local Enterprise Office. She adds that she enjoys the hard graft.
“Being a startup is 24/7 and not for everyone, but I love it. And hospitality has always been a passion of mine, so it’s been really nice to come back into it.”