How to Start

Everything depends on the Coordinator. eTaskBoard is an empowerment tool, but the Coordinator sets up and operates the work community that uses it.

Below are the 7 steps we suggest Coordinators follow to establish their eTaskBoard work community. We also suggest using the Ask the Expert form for questions along the way.

To begin, we have three words for aspiring Coordinators:

Because eTaskBoard is applicable to so many work communities, the tendency will be to expand the scope of an eTaskBoard deployment. This is OK, but only after the Coordinator establishes a specialized work community.

1.) Specialized Work Skillsets

To select a specialized work community, Coordinators should begin with their own work experience. Accountants should consider an eTaskBoard work community for accountants. Zoologists should consider one for tasks involving zoology.

The work community does not need to reflect the Coordinator's day job. It can be a hobby like drawing cartoons, for which the Coordinator's employer does not have a full-time position, and for which the Coordinator doesn't feel like quitting her day job. Instead, she establishes an eTaskBoard where the world's businesses can contract the drawing of cartoons to support ad campaigns, instructional manuals, video game avatars, etc.

2.) Specialized Work Regions

The next step in selecting a specialty is to look at the workforce supply and demand of the Coordinator's regional community. Take the example of an upscale desert retirement community favored by retiring executives. Many of them would like to keep their finger in business on a part-time or occasional basis, but the golf course doesn't present many such opportunities. The oversupply of high grade business consulting provides an opportunity for an eTaskBoard specializing in tasking such business consultants.

One example of an imbalance in demand occurs when a prime contractor wins a major federal defence project. Their regional labor force is often stretched to meet the instant demand for designers, software developers, etc. An eTaskBoard already in place to supply that demand can respond quickly and effectively.

The dot-com craze of a few years ago presented an acute shortage of software developers. The cycle is now repeating as America's H1-B visa allotment for software programmers in 2007 met its quota in the first two days applications from employers were accepted. A software-specialized eTaskBoard could be marketed to all the employers who didn't make that cut.

An example of both a supply and demand imbalance is the regional fluctuations in the real estate market. A slowdown in one region presents a supply of trained and available loan processors while another region with a real estate boom scampers to find and train loan processors.

3.) Specialized to Employers

A large employer may set up its own specialized eTaskBoard implementation as a leverage point into the virtual workforce.

The company's HR department provides the in-house Coordinator whose responsibility it is to educate the company about the virtual workforce and how to get work done through it. The Coordinator posts the work openings to eTaskBoard, qualifies applicants, and acts as a resource to help all parties make the most of this. The career section of the company's website expands the options from regular jobs to include eTaskBoard, with explanations about how the various career paths can fit into the corporate culture.

Depending on the size and labor needs of the company, their eTaskBoard implementation need not be permanent. It can be a rapid-response system ready to be turned on when a large contract is acquired or when labor shortages become acute. It can also be a permanent implementation providing structure to an outsourcing initiative to reduce costs.

4.) Specialized Social Needs

One of the personally rewarding aspects of eTaskBoard is its ability, in fact its imperative, to address employment-related social needs, and that forms another viable specialty for a work community.

Drug rehab placement counselors, for example, have an uphill battle getting employers to hire recovering drug addicts in spite of the viable skillsets and pre-drug experiences of the recovering drug addicts. Such counselors could become the Coordinators of an eTaskBoard that presents employers a low-risk way to ease recovering drug addicts back into the work force.

Other examples with widely different workers but a problem definition well matched to eTaskBoard include;

  • A disability counselor at a VA hospital looking for meaningful part-time work to improve the quality of life for veterans who can no longer commute to regular jobs.

  • Unwed mothers struggling with daycare could be the work-from-home eTaskBoard specializing in data entry.

  • Consider the work opportunities in our nation's prisons. High on menial labor (the stereotypical license plate production line), this is poor career preparation for the outside. A few years as an eTaskBoard worker would position such an inmate far better to rejoin society.

Note that a reduced labor rate is not the biggest draw of such a socially responsible eTaskBoard. It's the supply of dedicated workers with a work ethic reflecting their gratitude for the opportunity to work, which most employers will agree is in short supply.

Such underutilized workers are usually associated with funding opportunities from public agencies and private foundations dedicated to solving the related problems. Coordinators should apply for such seed funding.

Coordinators following these specialization steps may narrow their focus by work skillsets, regions, and social needs. A resulting example may be aneTaskBoardspecializing in fisheries research and reporting, for the Bering Sea region of Alaska, to provide work for chronically unemployed Aleut Native Americans. Finding such narrowly specialized work assignments would be a daunting challenge in the pre-internet world. But we don't live in a pre-internet world.

Such a work community may number only 100 qualified workers willing and able to accept the specialized tasks, but fisheries research and reporting is a multi-million-dollar business supporting the multi-billion-dollar fishing business. What is different is that the internet presents the first opportunity to directly connect those 100 qualified workers with those businesses. The Coordinator and eTaskBoard could bridge the great distances and cultural divides to form a digital cooperative. Curiously, it would have parallels to the fisherman cooperatives of 100 years ago that sold fish.

5.) Define the Virtual Work Force

Once the specialty area is defined, the Coordinator should research and define in writing the workers who are likely to apply to do tasks through eTaskBoard. This should include the type of tasks they would perform, the skillsets and resources needed to do the tasks, and any support or training the workers would need to use the eTaskBoard. This is where the Coordinator's years of experience in the work field becomes invaluable.

This is when the Coordinator may discover that not all tasks are possible across eTaskBoard. A welder, for example, may not find welding tasks across the internet. Before giving up, the Coordinator with welding industry experience realizes that welders are not in as short supply as weld test analysts, the people who pore over weld test procedures, X-ray data, ISO quality standards, and field data to certify critical welds to customer requirements. The Coordinator may need to work with online training resources to upgrade welders into weld test analysts, and to point them at government funding sources to assist them through the upgrade.

Likewise, a Coordinator with a music background may realize that guitar playing tasks are unlikely across eTaskBoard, but that the industry has a shortage of music editors who can master raw studio tracks into commercial-grade CDs. And that can be done as tasks across eTaskBoard. The Coordinator may need to arrange with regional occupation centers the use of mixing hardware outside the budget of entry-level eTaskBoard workers.

The last step in defining the virtual work force is to produce a list of categories and sub-categories that would define the skillsets of a worker in a searchable way. For software developers, that would include the number of years of experience they have in various software languages (C++, Java, PHP, etc.), industry application areas (distribution, ecommerce, finance, etc), and within those possibly some sub-categories (clothing distribution, ecommerce subscriptions, international finance, etc.).

eTaskBoard provides an easy way to set up those categories and sub-categories, for workers to match their skillsets, and for employers to designate those as requirements to complete certain tasks. Coordinators have to establish the lists specific to their specialized eTaskBoard.

After eTaskBoard is set up for the Coordinator's specialized work community, the Coordinator will have to present it to prospective target workers, to educate them about it, and to encourage them to sign up. This is a marketing mission where the directive to specialize pays off. The ad budget to inform the world's unemployed about the Coordinator's eTaskBoard would be many millions of dollars. The campaign to present eTaskBoard to the earlier business retirees at the upscale desert retirement community would be a Powerpoint presentation at their next gala event, with follow up in their newsletter. Every other above example lends itself to a comparatively small marketing campaign in terms of money and time, much of it simply exposing a small community to a new idea.

The Coordinator's ability to showcase years of shared experience with the target workers lends to credibility and an ability to present the value of eTaskBoard in terms the listeners understand.

For value statements to present workers about eTaskBoard, Coordinators should take a peek at the right-hand column of the Employ or Task? table.

6.) Target Employers

Once the virtual work force is defined, they become the Coordinator's family of workers. Together with the automation of eTaskBoard, they form the capabilities to be marketed to employers. As the marketing of eTaskBoard's value statement to workers benefits from the first steps of specialization, so too the marketing to employers.

Whereas the marketing to workers had to present eTaskBoard as a new idea to avoid being classified with the many past approaches that have failed so many of them, employers are risk-averse people who often don't want to try new ideas. They have to see a low-risk solution to their need for talented workers. The pitch has to focus on their need for experienced business consultants or fisheries research and reporting, and that the Coordinator can provide those. Information about the innovative way eTaskBoard delivers that is secondary. This also caters to the phenomenally low attention span of many overworked managers.

In approaching employers, Coordinators should research the many ancillary leverage points they often have because of the workers they represent. A defense contractor likely has requirements to subcontract to chronically unemployed, the disabled, Native Americans, etc., and the Coordinator may obtain marketing exposure through the federal agency promoting compliance to such requirements. Coordinators should also check if employers can receive tax incentives related to contracting their workers.

For value statements to present employers about eTaskBoard, Coordinators should take a peek at the left-hand column of the Employ or Task? table.

7.) Apply to eTaskBoard

Even before Coordinators address all 5 above suggestions, they should apply to eTaskBoard. We will assign an advisor, often with experience in the target work community, to help each prospective Coordinator. If we deem the Coordinator's plans show promise, we will work toward its success.

This can include collaborative planning, consulting, and development of a website to support the Coordinator's promotional efforts to workers and employers.

We will also negotiate a pricing plan for use of the eTaskBoard software. This can be a flat monthly rate, a rate based on a fraction of the revenue generated by the Coordinator's eTaskBoard implementation, or other variants. Our approach regarding pricing is to find an eTaskBoard implementation with potential, and then to price the software in a way that insures its success.

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