Blockchain has become somewhat of a buzzword over the last few years, but the technology famous for powering bitcoin has more utility than many of us give it credit for. In fact, blockchain has shown enormous potential in areas like real estate, capital markets, health care and financial services.
Starting today, and continuing into the decade to come, blockchain will add human resources to the long list of industries it is sure to disrupt. Even in a rapidly changing work landscape, prompted by the global skills shortage that’s only been accelerated in a COVID-19 world, the fundamental things you need to know about a person — who they are, what their professional background is — haven’t changed. Roles and the demand for new skills have been affected, as has the increased ability to see an individual’s potential when matching them to a job. For those displaced workers who are eager to get back to work, employers can accept and instantly verify credentials, which include their employment and identity, a process that historically takes as long as two weeks to complete.
So what, exactly, can HR managers expect to see as blockchain technology realizes its full potential? Here are several ways blockchain will add value to organizations over the next decade.
Improving Job Matching
The job description and the resume are both formats that are designed to match talent to need in an era when careers were more linear, and jobs didn’t flex with change nearly as much as they do now. The nature of work today includes more jumps between companies, roles or even skillsets than what the labor market saw in the past. Not to mention that employees today are constantly learning new skills and competencies — and not every single one translates specifically to a certificate or degree. The new resume should be able to reflect these credentials.
Blockchain provides an opportunity to better understand the skills, work experience and other value a candidate brings to the table. It also helps us to see jobs in terms of their fundamental components, which can help match with better clarity, speed and accuracy than what is available today.
When we can better understand how someone does their work, their attitudes and interests, and how they work with others, we can move past how long someone operated in a certain role and understand how their unique perspectives and background can match critical needs of a company to support growth. That includes external hiring, but even more critical in our current environment, what talent is already available within the company.
A Better Baseline for Recruiting and Talent Acquisition
The problem of “resume fibbing” has crept up over the last few years — and it only seems to be getting worse. A 2017 survey found that a whopping 85% of employers have caught people lying on their resumes, up from 66% five years prior. These stats are disappointing but not necessarily surprising. After all, with fierce competition from all-star candidates who boast Ivy League diplomas and experience at Fortune 500 companies, many job applicants feel the pressure to stand out.
With blockchain, however, hiring managers looking to fill open roles with the most qualified people will be able to trust the integrity of the information candidates provide — and avoid misleading or completely false resumes that currently plague the industry. Blockchain can also help level the playing field by highlighting additional accomplishments and presenting information in a clear, objective way rather than weighting certain credentials, like a college affiliation, too strongly.
And as a result, resumes become more than a list of an employees’ accomplishments. With the support of blockchain, candidates could provide employers with additional insight into what it might be like to work with them from the very start of the hiring process.
Giving Applicants More Control Over Their Information
When someone applies to a job, it can often feel like their information is going into a black hole. But with new data privacy regulations like GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California, people are becoming increasingly aware of how their data is being used and who has access to it. With blockchain, applicants have more control over their information and can request that their data be deleted. Instead of contacting all of the jobs they have ever applied to, they can make changes to their blockchain network and control who sees their data.
Blockchain also enables applicants to set a time limit for how long a company can see their data. So, for instance, when someone applies to a job using their blockchain credentials, they can elect to only allow that company to access their information during the recruitment process. This functionality also benefits employers because they won’t need to manage expectations around compliance amid new data privacy regulations. Blockchain will do that work for them.
Powering the Gig Economy
The future of work will be defined by a number of changes to how business is done and how people interact with technology. One topic in particular seems to be on everyone’s minds: the gig economy. Thanks to the scaling and adoption of apps like Uber, TaskRabbit and Upwork, contract work and side-hustles are now full-time jobs. Most of this work happens on-demand. That means companies need a solution that allows gig employees to begin working instantly, since our current application processes are not built to move swiftly.
With blockchain, someone who works multiple gigs will be able to add a portfolio of projects and skills to their blockchain record, helping them get hired quickly for the jobs they do best.
As we continue to talk about the future of work, technological advances that bring artificial intelligence and machine learning into the workplace or home office tend to comprise the majority of the conversation. But it’s time we add blockchain to that list of innovations. By 2030, 30% of commercial activities will be supported by blockchain.
There’s a lot of work to be done to bring the real-world applications of this technology to life, but one thing is clear: Blockchain has the potential to become a game-changing tool for HR departments and employees alike.
About the Author
Ike Bennion is a product marketing strategist for Cornerstone OnDemand, which includes market analysis and strategy development for learning products.