Onboarding the right talent is critical to business sustainability and success. But in the race to recover and grow, are organizations overlooking technological and capability advancement in this assumed to be routine function? Are leaders aware of how a simple onboarding tool can not just make work more simpler for the HR function but also, cut down on costs and save time lost in back and forth coordination with new employers of ex-employees?
How can onboarding tech simplify processes for HR professionals? Piyush Peshwani, Co-founder & CEO, OnGrid explores how we can make this process more effortless for the HR function, in his session on ‘Future of trust establishment and verifications while onboarding the workforce’ at People Matters TechHR India 2021.
Prior to co-founding OnGrid, Piyush was a part of the team that built and rolled out the Aadhaar platform with close to 1.29 billion people enrolled and millions of authentication and KYC transactions happening on a daily basis.
In his session at People Matters TechHR India 2021, Piyush shed a light on how organizations can transform their background verification (BGV) process to a digital platform, and what the future of onboarding looks like.
Here are highlights from the session.
How OnGrid is transforming BGV with technology and trust
OnGrid is a consent-based digital platform that has run more than 12 million background checks over the last five, six years, with more than 30 areas of checks including identity criminal record, previous employment, highest education, address verification, global database checks, credit checks, CV checks, etc. The HR tech startup has taken a platform first API first kind of approach.
“What we bring to the table is a platform approach to establishing trust and ensuring accountability.”
Catering to the evolving workplace construct, OnGrid’s digital platform aims to replace the traditional background verification process with a seamless digital interface, eliminating the to and fro coordination between new employers and the various touchpoints for background verification, while making it privacy compliant with employee consent.
You can run the checks that you want from over 30 plus checks and identify what checks are being performed by your peers. The platform enables new employee registration with their emaiI-ID, followed by document(s) upload and providing access consent. Background check then gets triggered immediately - with automated reminders and real time visibility.
If there is any insufficient information, collecting that digitally, sending a system reminder to the candidate, etc happens digitally in an automated manner, with the new employer only having to focus on their dashboard where they can view the status and progress of the process.
Given the steady penetration of background checks across sectors and employee cadre – blue/ white/ grey collar professionals - through a digital repository of documents, OnGrid is empowering employees and employers alike to eliminate the time and effort invested in a process that can be made instant.
Addressing the risk of sensitive personal information being accessible on digital platforms, Piyush highlighted the strong focus on privacy. “Privacy means that data that is getting collected for the purpose of background verification is only used for that purpose. Absolutely no other purpose. It cannot be used for running ads, it is meant for a defined purpose, adhering to the GDPR principle of purpose limitation.”
The future of onboarding
Under the present circumstances, Piyush highlighted two key themes that any employer today is focused upon when it comes to background verification in the emerging hybrid workplace:
- Identity verification
- Vaccine verification
Commenting on the future of ID verification, Piyush said, “Your HRMS or HCM system when the user is entering or uploading an ID document is integrated with an API, and that API will do instant KYP or know your people. It is a very strong form of ID establishment at 1/10th the cost.”
Beyond ID verification, as employers contemplate the return-to-work strategy, a key deciding factor is on whether or not to mandate vaccination and how to confirm vaccination status. If you want to verify and capture this information in your system, Piyush suggested that a simple API integrated into an application or a system can be used by HR and employees. “It can be a pop up, where they enter the mobile number as registered on Cowin, or they can just upload the certificate. And you can get information like the beneficiary ID, which vaccine was taken, when was this vaccine taken, and the vaccine certificate.”
While the above are two key themes in BGV today, whether or not employers want to gather this information is their call. “What I'm trying to do is to tell you that there are more than 30 such API's or building blocks available for you to do some of these things instantly.”
Revamping employment checks with elockers
One of the challenges that we want to solve at OnGrid is to create that infrastructure for instant employment verification, stated Piyush. A traditional background verification takes on an average about one to three weeks to complete. In an endeavor to narrow down the timeline to instant verification and ensuring data privacy and consent of employees on access to employment history and other sensitive information, Piyush highlighted the emerging concept of elockers.
“We want to introduce an electronic locker or elocker in which the previous employer is writing, the new employer is reading, and this transaction is happening with the real time consent of the employee. The future is highly privacy compliant. Employees will also know that my employment record was issued by so and so person, and this is what my employment record looks like.”
Particularly to the blue-collar workforce, Piyush emphasized how beneficial elockers would be to say a security guard, who has worked for five years in three different security agencies, but does not have any service certificate or experience letter to show for it.
“The future is that at any point of time, whenever he moves from feature phone to smartphone, he will be able to see his employment records and use these employment credentials to achieve upward mobility in society. Maybe get a loan, maybe get a new job.”
“We believe that this is going to happen. The way it's meant to happen can happen in different avatars, but this we believe is a transformation. The way some of this information gets verified is going to become instant, digital, with complete electronic consent of the employee, empowering the employee in the process,” stated Piyush.
He added, “We have not gone from let's say two weeks to instant. But we would have gone from two weeks to two days. I think that's progress. And eventually it's going to become real time. I have absolutely no doubt about it.
What’s in it for employers?
While instant verifications are beneficial for new employers and ex-employees benefit from tamper proof employment records guarded by privacy settings, there are key benefits to adopting elockers for ex-employers as well. Some of these benefits being:
- You are reducing your own work. Ex-employee verification is a fiduciary duty, but it takes your time and bandwidth. You can outsource this effort.
- You ensure regulatory compliance. A lot of HR professionals sometimes forget that ex employee verification must be conducted with consent. There can be other regulatory compliance issues such as handling and storage of data on your behalf. These are taken care of by service providers.
- You gain interesting information visibility. “Your people are leaving and are joining some other organization which is verifying your people. That organization's name gets captured in the process. And you can gain maybe an insight like 30% of my people are joining my top competitor. This is a huge benefit,” shared Piyush.
“A lot of innovation is happening in the background verification space, platforms are getting adopted, methodologies are getting evolved. These methodologies help in reducing the turnaround time, as well as increasing the accuracy and the efficacy. And because of process automation, the cost is going down.”
As talent leaders contemplate strategic investment in HR tech to enhance efficiency and experience for their teams, it is essential to review the breadth of HR functions that can benefit from the intervention of technology. Onboarding technology is certainly evolving to meet the workforce needs of today. Whether organizations are swift enough to capitalize on these developments remains to be seen.