“Blockchain’s implications for the finance industry are well-known, but the potential to use the technology in the world of work is huge and it will soon transform HR and recruitment,” says Tom Osborne, Regional Director of Hays in Malaysia.
Hays spoke to several HR experts about how they expect blockchain to impact HR and recruitment, in preparation for its latest Hays Journal:
1. Verification: Blockchain can be used to verify individuals’ identities, qualifications, credentials and experiences during the recruitment process. According to research by CompTIA, 51 per cent of early adopters of blockchain currently use it to verify digital identities.
2. Referencing: Blockchain could make the traditional process of referencing redundant. “Once someone has done a degree, they will just put their certificate in blockchain and it never needs to be verified again,” says Jacky Carter, Group Digital Engagement Director at Hays.
3. Identify potential candidates: Blockchain will also allow those in HR and recruitment to more accurately identify potential candidates, as well as the particular roles they are best suited for. “At the moment it’s quite complex to match up talent with where it needs to be in an organisation, and even more so to do it in a verified way,” says Raj Mody, Partner in PwC’s HR consulting business. “Time might not be a luxury you have because speed of delivery might be the only thing that gives you a competitive advantage. If that’s the case, then being able to use blockchain to really understand the power of your workforce could come into its own.”
4. Underpin work contracts: The technology can be used to underpin work contracts, using so-called ‘smart contracts’. “Why would you have bits of paper and manual delivery of contracts, where it requires a human being to decide if that contract has been fulfilled or not?” asks Mody. “You could make contracts programmatic so there are certain actions based on whether certain conditions have been fulfilled, so you might pay your employees’ bonuses based on the operation of smart contracts.” This could prove to be the most revolutionary area, believes Gareth Brown, Senior Manager in Deloitte’s human capital consulting business. “The ability to switch on and off a contract with any individual employer, and to be able to define upfront the terms you’re working with, might be quite appealing to people but also to employers, because they’re not having to bring them into payroll systems and go through protracted procurement processes,” he adds.
5. Employee lifecycle: The potential for disruption extends to the recording of all employee information. “Before you even get a job offer, you have to go through a series of interviews and some form of qualification and validation process,” says Mody. “You then get on-boarded and there may be additional tasks you need to complete, whether it’s training records or compliance questionnaires, and that information would be collated.” “That whole process and data requires many different parties to interact, and this all carries on until eventually you exit, when there might be a handover and the whole process has to renew. Blockchain could radically simplify the experience that HR functions have today.”
6. Payroll: Blockchain could also be used in payroll. “That’s probably a bit further down the line but there are examples already, built on the premise that the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market is stable enough to run payroll on it,” says Brown. “In the longer term, if those markets stabilise, I would imagine we would see more blockchain-enabled payroll technology.” But, any move in this direction would need to be highly secure and tested before organisations are prepared to use it for this purpose, believes Carter. “In Hays’ case, we would have to be 100% satisfied in the stability and security of any system before we implemented it – we’re dealing with people’s livelihoods and identities,” she says. “At the moment, it’s a case of closely watching it as the technology evolves, understanding what technology is being delivered, how trust is being built and looking at how that could potentially impact our world.”