In the wake of increasing unemployment claims across the nation, many states are feeling overwhelmed and cannot handle the flood of requests that they receive. The US Department of Labor has decided to reach out to the private sector to find better strategies for handling the crisis, and the solution that they have found comes from a very odd place. And now, those who find themselves out of work will have to travel a very different path to get the assistance they need.
This week, US Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia announced that the federal government has partnered with Asmodee USA, the board gaming conglomerate, in an effort to restructure the way that the federal and state governments handle unemployment claims.
“We’re in an ‘all hands on deck’ situation right now,” said Eugene Scalia, the US Secretary of Labor. “We have a record number of unemployment claims right now, and many states are struggling to get everything filed in time. We need a better strategy, and we believe that Asmodee brings that to the table.”
The move was inspired by Asmodee’s recent adjustment to its return policy. In February, the company announced that they would no longer be taking on direct requests from individuals about missing or damaged components in their board games. Instead, customers are asked to return the game to the location of the original purchase.
“We thought that we could easily take those principles of ‘passing the buck’ and apply them to unemployment services. If a citizen has an issue with unemployment, that is something that they should take up with their employer, not with us.”
Effective April 10th, all unemployment requests made by US citizens will be redirected back to their former place of employment to receive services. Concurrently, businesses will be required to have some of their personnel go through an online training course that gives them the skills necessary to file unemployment and set up the disbursement of financial support.
Stéphane Carville, CEO of Asmodee, has praised the move and sees their model as the future of customer service throughout the world. “Right now, many companies waste time and resources by actually responding to the requests of customers. But think of how much can be saved by simply telling the customer that it’s not your problem? By pushing the problems onto other entities, we believe that companies can cut down their customer service costs by as much as fifty percent.”
While the government has shown some excitement about this adjustment, many businesses are concerned. In this time of financial pressure, they don’t feel that they have the resources to deal with these issues.
“I’m already dealing with accounting and taxes and all this other stuff for my employees,” said Derek Holland, a contractor from Memphis, TN. “Why in the world should I have to do stuff for the people that don’t even work for me anymore?”
“I just don’t get it,” says Leslie Fisher, a human resources coordinator at a development company in northeast Ohio. “If we’re going to deal with all of this, why even have the Department of Labor?”
But the government and Asmodee feel that people will be happy once they get used to the adjustment.
“Besides,” says Scalia. “We control so many of the unemployment benefits out there. Where else are people going to go?”