Blockchain is one of the most transformational technologies of our times. And the maximum impact it can have on business and HR is minimizing the trust gaps. Rajesh Dhuddu, Global Practice Leader, Blockchain Tech Mahindra who will be speaking on the convergence of blockchain + IoT + AI at People Matters TechHR 2019 will speak on how this technology can be revolutionizing for the business of not only tomorrow but today as well.
For instance, Tech Mahindra is deploying blockchain to manage appointment letters to secure and validate them in a seamless manner. Similarly, another area it is exploring is in credentialing of emerging skills like Blockchain & others and archiving that information in an immutable database to validate it, so that no one can manipulate it. This will allow the company to cut the clutter and make a hiring decision based on data that is archived in an immutable fashion.
In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Rajesh shares his thoughts on how employees and organizations can benefit from Blockchain and the opportunity it presents for the talent leaders of today.
How do you see India leveraging blockchain technology for digital transformation?
Whenever we talk about blockchain, we need to differentiate between public blockchain and private blockchain. Most of the public blockchain projects are focused on cryptos, which over a period of time will help us a lot in decentralization and disintermediation services. Those will bring newer business models to enterprises as well as newer services, based on digital transformation, to individuals like us. But, we are still a little far away from that particular proposition. However, coming to enterprise blockchain, it has caught the attention of a lot of people. People say that this is the year of enterprise blockchain spring!
Why it is gaining traction because it will help organizations to accomplish a few things. There are lots of unfulfilled customer needs in an entity which enterprises are not able to fulfill because of some of the legacy systems or the way they collaborate with their business partners and other ecosystem players. Those are the challenges which enterprise blockchain is going to address. For instance, take the case of the largest implementation of blockchain in India, where the government has mandated all telcos to use blockchain to manage spam calls and texts. With the government mandating them to share information, blockchain allows them to do it without the fear of mis-utilization of information. And for the first time, users can combat spam calls, which is an entirely new customer experience made possible by this technology. In a similar vein, the government is also using blockchain to bring in a lot of transparency in Government to Citizen (G2C) services like Public Distribution Systems, Benefits administration, Assets ownership.
What opportunity does Blockchain present for talent leaders today?
There are a lot of trust gaps within the HR processes also. For instance, let’s take the function of background verification. Organizations go back and check with companies where the individual has worked previously. Generally, the tendency of people to give transparent information is limited when you are interacting person to person. But when all of this is automated in a transparent manner, then you don't shy away from giving right feedback & information.
“Every two or three years in India, people change jobs, and every time a person changes his job, background verification has to be done again. Why can’t companies come together and create a bureau on blockchain so that no one can manipulate the information?”
So the ability to mispresent and manipulate the information will be very limited and will save the companies humongous amount of cost. Because you are tapping into information that is already available, just like a credit bureau. So can we create a bureau of that nature for background verification?
Secondly, from the perspective of talent skillsets also, such as AI, RPA, ML and the likes, when these skills are in demand, individuals have a tendency to bargain for higher salaries with multiple companies by flaunting offer letters from other companies. 20% of these might be using a fake offer letter and organizations can’t verify those as these letters lack security measures which can point out if it’s an authentic letter or a duplicate one. That’s another area people can solve by validating appointment letters with blockchain technology so that other companies are aware that such a letter has been issued.
Thirdly, the ability to misrepresent accomplishments on the resume or resume fraud is also quite high. Today organizations don’t have the ability to validate all of that. This is another area which blockchain can help solve.
What are the implications of Blockchain for the future of work?
When it comes to the future of work, an individual won’t have to work for one organization in a day. You could work for two hours for one company and three hours for another company on the same day as you will be bringing a niche skillset, which a company might require only for a few hours.
“Today there is no mechanism to employ people on what we call fractional basis; you are forced to hire the person on a full-time basis. And blockchain is going to change that.”
Blockchain will also bring about the governance for automation. RPA in talent management or recruitment is able to accomplish automation of only 65%-75% of the process. 25% of the process is still managed manually as organizations don’t have the necessary tech to do that. So blockchain with its smart contracts has an ability to complete that 25% and make it a 100% automated process.
How will employees benefit if organizations adopt Blockchain? Are there tangible benefits to employees as well?
Yes, blockchain as a skill set is creating many employment opportunities for employees. Because of this hot skill, people get accelerated career progression. The most important benefit that comes to employees is how to address the trust gap. Blockchain is able to bring that element of transparency around the various HR processes. If not transparency, it at least gives visibility to what's happening. Be it a simple thing as the credentials of a new hire, in the future, employees can rest assured about the validation of the same as blockchain would be able to address that. This transparency is right now only on face value currently. For a generation constantly seeking validation to make a particular decision, this technology will be able to address their needs for transparency and information.
What challenges do you foresee in the adoption of Blockchain by the HR community?
To begin with, everyone has this notion that I don't need this technology as everything is running okay in my organization. People are not able to acknowledge the gaps in their processes. And most of them look at it from a tech perspective. Looking at it purely from a tech perspective is a recipe for failure. What I tell my customers is that don't say yes immediately to blockchain and also don't say no to it either. Evaluate what is it and see if there are some tough business problems that can be solved. If they can't be solved, then you don't need this particular technology. But when you are bringing in this technology, identify the business problem you would like to address and use that as a means. The tech has to be always related to a business outcome. There is a scope of improvement, be it hiring or talent management or retention. Identify those gaps and give the tech an open chance.
“Ultimately the real test for Blockchain or any emerging tech will be its ability to foster decisions on human (humane) basis whenever there is a conflict in an enterprise between all other resources and human resources. Blockchain has the ability to usher us in the world where transparency gains and truth prevails.”
Don’t miss out the opportunity to engage in a tête-à-tête with James Taylor at TechHR 2019 on 1st and 2nd August 2019 at The Leela Ambience, Gurugram. Register now.