In the earlier days, people were using birds to send mail. Pigeons were mostly used because of their excellent sense of direction. Then came your friendly neighbourhood postman carrying letters and telegrams, till emails disrupted that.
Emails, for all the efficiency they brought, came with a small problem. The fact that there were so many of them, they often went unnoticed and unresponded and that wasn’t very welcoming.
Lack of email response, or a delay, is also one of the key challenges with verification of employment records, as it happens in India and around the globe. More often than not, the verification is time-critical for a new employer, but generally not a priority for old employers! HR team of the old employers cannot be held accountable for promptly responding to verification requests as it doesn’t sit high on the urgency/importance matrix for them.
This is set to change rapidly, as organizations are rapidly adopting “Lockers” to issue employment records for their ex-employees. These lockers are secure digital repositories that can be used by new employers (or any organization interested in verifying previous employment history) to instantly verify employment records. The issuance of records and the verification of records can happen using a web portal, or a mobile app that integrates with the APIs provided by the locker provider. Furthermore, these lockers are privacy-friendly, as they can provide candidate-facing interfaces, and ensure consent of the employee before her/his employment record is verified.
Let us delve deeper into some of the challenges faced by the new employers while conducting verification, and the benefits that adoption of these lockers bring.
The employment verification process is broken in India
Previous employment verification (one of the most critical checks opted by organizations) can take up to 3 weeks and needs several reminders going to the previous employer. This can even hinder the candidature of an employee joining a new organization. Furthermore, organizations follow a non-uniform methodology of responding to ex-employee verification requests, spending a cumulative of 10-20 minutes for reviewing and completing one request, which translates to anywhere between INR 300-500. It is a fiduciary duty that doesn’t add productive value but demands HR attention every time a request is raised.
But by adopting a locker approach, digital employment records can be verified instantly anytime, anywhere. Organizations can write or issue employment credentials of its ex-employees, that can be verified instantly and digitally by new employers or service providers. Employment records can be written at the time of deboarding of an employee or contractor. A very basic employment record will comprise of:
- Writing organization name
- Employee name
- Employee/Staff ID
- Date of joining
- Last working date
- Last designation
- Last city/location
In addition, 3-5 reference tags can also be written for every ex-employee.
When the employee joins a new organization or takes a service (where the service provider wants to verify employment record), the credentials can be verified by “reading” the record on the locker portal. Digitally issued employment records eliminates time and effort required by the HR manager in responding to ex-employment verification emails. HR teams adopting lockers for their ex-employees can use these lockers for free, and also get other benefits like receiving attrition insights, ensuring standard machine-generated responses to new employers or requestors.
Employment records are unorganized and inaccessible
Many organizations issue experience letters and relieving documents in physical form that become difficult to track. Some organizations also issue a digital copy (PDF) in email, but for grey-collar and blue-collar workers (new economy workers), tracking those mails and safely storing the PDF documents becomes a challenge. Imagine a security guard being asked to produce an employment document from 5 years back!
There is no easy way to establish the authenticity of these documents, leading to false claims by certain individuals about previous employment.
But with a Locker, ex-employees can access the records anywhere, anytime. It can allow organizations to issue employment records as well as documents (relieving letter, salary slips, experience letter, tax forms, etc.), thus enabling candidates to view their employment record(s) and document(s) seamlessly without the hassle of scavenging through old files and emails to access the documents when needed.
Ex-employees can log in to the Locker interface (web-link or mobile app) using their mobile number or email ID or any other identity token to access their ex-employment records. Since these records are issued or officially “written” by ex-employers, any scope for fraud by a person claiming to have been employed with the organization earlier is eliminated.
Digital employment records, that ex-employees can access anywhere, anytime
Challenge # 3
Employment record shared without consent is a violation of privacy
During the verification process, ex-employers release information about their employees even when they are not sure if the ex-employee has provided wilful consent to the requestor. An individual, after leaving her/his organization may not even know who all was given access to her/his employment record. This is a serious breach of an individual’s information privacy.
But with a Locker: Ex-employee has complete visibility and control on who accesses her/his employment record
Ex-employees can choose to share their ex-employment records with a new employer or service provider with their consent, and also lock access to their ex-employment records. Even after sharing their employment record, they can choose to revoke consent
Even if an ex-employee does not access the individual interface (web-link or mobile app) for Locker, the Locker team can ensure consent adherence before releasing the ex-employee record on behalf of the ex-employer.
Privacy enablement through an electronic consent framework
In summary, Lockers will determine the way information, particularly employment records, will get consumed in the 21st century, in a highly secure and privacy-compliant manner.