In the old days, it was paper routes and second jobs. Today, many side hustlers aspire to be the next internet star or consulting guru. But most are simply looking to make an extra buck or two.
Don't believe me?
Look around your company and you're sure to find more than one individual hustling on the side. And that's from the front lines all the way to the executive suite.
In a brilliant move, Walmart just tapped into the "make money on the side" desire of its employees.
The Walmart Associate Delivery Program
In a Walmart blog post Thursday, Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. e-commerce, announced the testing of an associate delivery concept.
The model is pretty simple: Associates are able to opt in to deliver groceries on their way home from work.
Associates can choose how many packages to deliver, along with the size and weight, and also which days they want to deliver.
(Some sources report that Walmart will limit the number of associate deliveries to 10 a day. The remaining deliveries will be handled by carriers like UPS and FedEx.)
Walmart then uses technology to match deliveries and associates. The technology will never take an associate too far out of their way home.
Here's why the move is brilliant.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted
Walmart was once considered the unbeatable juggernaut, gobbling up anything in its path. Today, Amazon has grown to two times the size of Walmart, and threatens to devour it.
(The irony and karma is not lost on me here.)
Amazon has built a delivery network of over 40 cargo jets, truck fleets, drivers, and, in the not-too-distant future, drones. Many have speculated that this network will be the downfall of Walmart.
But, in one single action, Walmart tapped into the latent needs of more than a million employees, and now has a home delivery force to rival that of Amazon. For little to no extra cost (certainly less than Amazon spent).
The Lesson of Latent Employee Needs
Walmart knows that many of its employees are no doubt working side hustles. We all have employees and co-workers who are doing the exact same thing.
Why not keep it in the family? Why not build greater employee loyalty and improve the customer experience (because your employees are more loyal)?
Why not make the side hustle an on-the-way-home hustle? Why not be both the employer and the side hustle?
And that is the brilliant lesson we can learn from Walmart: There are latent needs in every employee. Tap into them, and you'll find yourself with an increase in bandwidth, productivity, and skillsets.
(Epilogue: I know Walmart is not innocent in its business practices and pay structures. But, taken as a whole, tapping into the latent needs of its employees is a brilliant strategy worth copying.)