Of all the emerging technologies, the blockchain is probably the least exciting as a new technology, but it has the potential to have the most impact and be the most disruptive on our society.
When you think of blockchain, you might think of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. I was tipped into Bitcoin 5 years ago and ignored it; another missed opportunity I guess. I’m always of the belief there will be more Bitcoin like opportunities and so perhaps the original boat has sailed, but there will be others and there is no doubt that the Bitcoin concept is digital gold. Bitcoin is just one of many different cryptocurrencies that uses blockchain as its core technology. The blockchain technology can be easily translated to the recruitment technology space.
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How does a Blockchain add value to businesses?
The blockchain is a decentralised database shared amongst a network of computers, all of which must approve an exchange before the information can be recorded. The advantage of blockchain is that it stores as a permanent ledger of all previous transactions in a string of ‘blocks’, meaning we know who owns what and who can send what to whom. By allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology has essentially created the backbone of a new type of internet.
Individuals and organisations can use the blockchain to:
- Exchange digital assets without friction
- Execute smart contracts
- Store digital records.
What are the real life uses of a blockchain and how does it relate to my Recruitment business?
No doubt, intrusive types of technology will be accepted in the workplace but their speed of acceptance will be driven by the trust of the employees that work within the organisation. The old cliché of “Big Brother”, Artificial Intelligence and Big data are all working behind the scenes anyway even without employee engagement.
Given its practical features of storing digital records, executing smart contracts and as an efficient exchange, Blockchain has many real-life uses. This ranges from fixing broken business models e.g. Intellectual property, recapturing our identities, so the ‘virtual you’ is actually owned by you. The latter is something that has affected me and I’m sure it has affected someone close to you i.e. Credit card fraud.
So how is Blockchain going transform our society and more importantly our beloved recruitment industry?
The recruitment industry is an invaluable and personable service being consistently impacted by new and emerging technology. We have seen more advanced platforms that provide us accessibility to one another, and more apps to connect and engage users in recent times. Whether we like it or not, the recruitment tech world has shifted a lot over the past few years.
Blockchain promises to remove the middle man and create the unbreakable contract, what will or possibly be the impact on people management, organisations and work?
I’m sure that someone somewhere is developing blockchain technology that creates a prototype resume authentication database for job hunters. There are a number of credentialing and authentication services available to us now but this will be an obvious area where Blockchain will affect our industry.
Imagine having all of your employment related details associated with your electronic signature in one block: insurance, payroll, expenses, employment history, references, psychometrics etc. The employment contracting process would then effectively become redundant. You could work almost immediately with a quicker payment process. The role of the recruiter may become redundant.
One to watch I think is www.chronobank.io based in Australia.
They are developing a Blockchain based financial payment system for freelancers and Gigsters to pay them in their very own ‘Labour token” – an interesting concept. This is a dramatic shift in the way people will find work and get rewarded for it. It removes the middle man, decentralises and removes the need for financial institutions altogether.
Blockchain could fundamentally change how we manage people and engage with them. People will drive the way they wish to be rewarded and then perhaps the currency world will change forever!
Whilst some of these predictions above may or may not come true my opinion is that the most obvious area where Blockchain may begin to make an impact could be in the reference check process. This is often a painful area for recruiters due to impeding referees and the time-consuming nature of the task. Blockchain could potentially provide a safe centralised reference library where the scope of the reference could be linked to your personality profile and matched to the cultural fit for an organisation.
I am looking forward to seeing how this develops in our field, and hope to see some new kids on the block (don’t pardon the pun) pitching blockchain solutions at future conferences of Recruitment and HR Tech.
I'd be interested to hear your views on this subject and how you feel the blockchain will help, affect or even perhaps hinder the recruitment industry.
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