Sidekicker: The app that gets you help - temporarily

Need to hire a temp worker fast? There's an app for that - and the company behind it is aiming to disrupt the entire temp industry.

Imagine this: you have a soiree coming up for big-spending clients on the weekend, and half your wait staff has just come down with the flu. You need people to work the event, but you also don’t want to recruit through a temp agency because you’re not sure the temp staff would have the experience – a big concern considering the people who will be attending the event are among your biggest-spending clients.

You need qualified staff. You need Sidekicker.

The Melbourne-based company may only boast a staff of two in New Zealand, but general manager Ellie Amos says that’s all that’s needed thanks to the app that allows companies to post temporary openings – and for workers to see what openings have been posted – in a manner similar to Uber. “We’re really trying to change the temp industry,” she explains. “It’s really archaic.”

Based out of QB Studios in Auckland’s happening Ponsonby neighbourhood, the company’s Aotearoa headquarters was originally located in Auckland’s Icehouse business growth hub. Since coming to New Zealand in February 2015, about 350 businesses in Auckland alone have used Sidekicker, ranging from small consumer brands to large organisations like Lewis Road Creamery, Sofitel Hotels, and NZME. As Amos explains, growth for Sidekicker has been about 400 percent each year since the company was first founded in 2013.

Sidekicker's Ellie Amos, left, and Daryl Cheah.

Workers who get temp roles through Sidekicker are known as “sidekicks.” Primarily students and other young people looking to supplement their income (though some of the company’s roughly 700 New Zealand-based sidekicks also include business managers and other leaders looking to keep their skills sharp and understand what happens “on the ground level”), Amos says only about 15 percent of people who express interest are accepted as sidekicks – meaning the quality is higher than what might be found at other temp agencies. Focusing primarily on white-collar jobs, the fact sidekicks can see what jobs are going on their phones is one of the biggest reasons why about 96 percent of open jobs get the needed number of applicants within three hours. “Workers are always on their phones,” explains Amos. “That’s our generation. We’re just using technology to streamline the entire process.”

A finalist in the Emerging New Zealand Innovator category at the New Zealand Innovation Awards and winner of the Best Industry Supplier for an Event at the New Zealand Polo Open, others have recognized the innovativeness of Sidekicker. Amos says that while there are plans for potential expansion into other parts of Aotearoa in the future, the company doesn’t simply want to expand for expansion’s sake. “You really have to nail the market that you’re in.”