Company Culture

District startup Handoff has a new take on the talent market: job sharing

CEO LaToria Pierce said the company's software is designed to make workplaces friendly toward job sharing, and the talent currently being left behind.

LaToria Pierce, CEO of Handoff.

(Courtesy photo)

As a child, Handoff founder and CEO LaToria Pierce grew up watching her mother, who had her as a teenager, navigate the challenges of raising her children and growing her career. Though she was able to achieve a lot, she had to deal with various social biases and sacrifice mental peace (not to mention being home as much as she would have liked) to be a provider for her family.

Fast-forward to today, and many mothers and parents still have the same problem. Many employers now seek talent after the huge workplace changes that the pandemic inspired. But for many potential workers, the DC-based Pierce said, the 40-hour work week is a barrier that leaves whole groups of people, like single or young parents, unable to fill those positions.

“You have this amazing demographic of talent. Why aren’t they filling these jobs?” Pierce told Technical.ly.

Her company, Handoff, is hoping to change that by making job-sharing easier for employers. The startup, founded earlier this year, created a software platform that helps two people share one full-time job. It’s designed so that there’s little to no friction with assigning tasks, scheduling and communication between workers. It also has a talent portal to help employers find job-seekers interested in the job-sharing world.

With job-sharing, Pierce said she hopes to leverage the technology to close skills and labor gaps. Growing (and hopefully retaining) job-sharing employees helps tap into talent markets like parents or caregivers looking after someone at home — all of whom don’t automatically have the capacity to hold a full-time job.

“They want to do meaningful work. They just, because of their home responsibilities, need flexibility,” Pierce said.

The Handoff platform also features a talent pool for the aforementioned prospective employees. Employers can let Handoff know what position they’re hiring for and the platform will connect them to the talent.

The company has been supported by the Ideas42 Venture Studio, which provided funding for Pierce and her initial team. Handoff has only three full-time employees so far, but Pierce plans to grow the team as she acquires more funding (and yes, they will be job-sharing positions). She’s currently looking to raise $1 million to see the company through its first 18 months of life, and will likely be opening that process before the end of the year.

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As the company grows, Handoff plans to add new capabilities to the software. For instance, it aims to integrate other tools like Slack, Notion and Google Workspace that companies and employees already use.

With mass exits of women from the workforce between 2020 and the Great Resignation, the push to find new ways of attracting and retaining talent is more prominent than ever, Pierce thinks. Job-sharing might be the way to do it.

“The moment now tells us loud and clear that unconventional, innovative options and alternatives to hiring are so necessary,” Pierce said.

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