For as long as I’ve been around the recruiting and HR space, people have talked about the workforce of the future. Every new wave of technology was supposed to bring us closer to this, and in many cases, they have. The workforce of the future, we were told, would be more global, have far fewer pain points and allow more candidates to transfer seamlessly between organizations, educational institutions and within their own career paths.
Skills would be the basis for when and where a candidate worked, while sourcing and training would be less company and location-focused and simpler for both employers and workers.
In truth, we are seeing parts of this vision coming true with the rise of the contingent workforce and the gig economy, built on the marketplaces designed to capitalize on the “side hustle.” Employers have a range of choices to fulfill their demands, besides the typical FTE route. But this has made it difficult to find solutions that work for both internal employees and outsourced workers. Questions about equity between what is offered to both workforces are being rightfully raised.
According to an IDC report, global spending on blockchain solutions will reach $2.1 billion in 2018 compared to the $945 million spent in 2017. Since the fall of 2017, the buzz around blockchain for recruiting and HR has been slowly building. Initially, I was only interested because I knew someone with a ton of bitcoin. However, it became clear that this was going to essentially transform HR. Having been around for several “transformational” technologies now, I was… suspect. I mean, I run a B2B marketing agency. My middle NAME is “transformational technology.” So I decided to do some digging.
At around the same time as we were learning how blockchain technology could transform the financial industry, we were seeing the rise of the contingent workforce and the gig economy (both of which were also supposed to transform the economy and in both cases, have already started to). Big Data and AI, formerly technology transformation darlings, were being subjected to new scrutiny as we all learned what the hell they were.
So here’s how blockchain will ACTUALLY impact your hiring needs.
More (and better) vetted candidates. Blockchain will allow secure, private and pre-validated credentials to be stored by the candidates themselves, reducing the time it takes to run background checks and fraudulent educational claims like those of former CEOs of both Yahoo and RadioShack (both executives lied about having college degrees.) If recruiters and hiring managers can instantly see candidate skills they can better match skills and easily eliminate those who aren’t qualified.
Executive search and headhunting may take a hit. Since blockchain makes information seamless, transparent and hard to fudge, and candidates control their own information in a way they haven’t been able to in the past, TPRs may have difficulty selling their services as arbiters or guardians of information. Blockchain makes the rolodex and database approach essentially useless. Because employers can instantly view skills, certifications, credentials and work history, the initial vetting many executive recruiters and headhunters do today, may become less valuable.
Easier compliance. Anyone working in HR knows how important it is to stay compliant with employee records. Of course, the contingent workforce and globalization have made this vastly more complicated, since many HR departments are managing multiple types of workers in multiple locations, many of which may have different rules and regulations. Today’s digital storage systems for the wealth of personal employee data HR handles regularly, are vulnerable to cyber attacks that can lead to fraud or identity theft. Blockchain’s cyber security application can mitigate these risks and make compliance much easier for businesses, particularly small businesses, who may not have hyper-secure practices.
Onboarding and HR admin tasks, done. While there are some great paperless and online onboarding platforms, many companies still have to wade through duplicate paperwork, background screenings, reference checks and inputting information. A key advantage of the blockchain technology is the data it holds cannot be changed or deleted and the system requires everyone connected to each block to agree to allow information to be added. This means incorrect information or duplicate records will be a thing of the past, dramatically reducing the administrative and back-office nature of onboarding and payroll, two giant sections of the HR purview.
Learning and development could get MUCH better. We already know that today’s workforce wants to plan their careers, so lifelong organizational employees are (mostly) a thing of the past. That’s made it difficult for employers to figure out how to educate their employees. The old adage “What if we spend all this time and money training them and then they leave?” (followed by the equally tedious rejoinder: What if you don’t spend all this time and money training them and they stay?) is finally answered with blockchain. Internal training programs and skills verification could follow the candidate, whether they’re an FTE or a contingent worker.
Yay! We might ACTUALLY reduce hiring bias for ‘realsies.’ In our current system, candidates have very little control over who sees their information, picture, profile, resume, etc. With the candidate in control of their own blockchain, not only is it possible to protect certain parts of a candidates profile, but it may be a proactive step taken by the employer to prevent bias and hire solely based on skills. Race, age, gender could all be removed from the search, allowing even unconscious biases to be prevented.
An easier way to diversify your workforce, especially if you work in healthcare, finance or technology. Sourcing and recruiting continue to move at the same pace they have for awhile. However, when it’s exponentially faster to check if a candidate is qualified, figure out if they’re properly credentialed or they have the right to work in your country or state; contingent workers, contract hiring and gig workers become a much easier and seamless part of your overall workforce. The impact of blockchain on the world of finance allows workers anywhere to be paid in their own currency, bringing the global economy one step closer to smaller businesses.