Blockchains and HR data

A new technology that explores new possibilities for HR.

Blockchains have been the focus of a lot of attention recently because they are revolutionizing a number of markets and ecosystems. HR will surely be affected and HR departments must anticipate this.

Blockchains are used to store and send data over the Internet in blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. They ensure reliable, transparent exchanges, because they are decentralized. No one controls the data because peer-to-peer transactions are ensured by all the blocks that are managed and validated by these peers. It is currently practically impossible to hack a blockchain, since hackers need to attack all the algorithms that have validated, in blocks, the data flows. Blockchains are therefore very useful for activities requiring protection or authentication of data and are often used to authenticate the transfer of property from one person to another. Validation is cryptographically verifiable.

Ensuring transparent and secure transactions for HR

Blockchains allow almost instantaneous peer-to-peer transactions, with no intermediaries, and thus have high potential for HR. They can be of great use in HR because they can provide transparent services that focus on what employees want, while ensuring the confidentiality of personal data.

Tracking contractual relations

Blockchains allow reliable, certified exchanges of data. They can securely store and send data and can thus be used to handle contractual relations between a company and an applicant. They can be used to create an employee record by retrieving administrative documents prior to hiring, for example. The employer therefore is guaranteed that the data provided is correct and reliable because it has been sent by public organizations or by companies that need to provide documents such as proof of residence, for example. Blockchains can also be used to monitor health insurance reimbursements.

Validating and certifying skills

Blockchains can be used to check the accuracy of information on CVs, such as university degrees for example. Employers can also confirm that an employer has performed certain tasks (and the dates they were performed) within a company. Blockchains are an opportunity to certify technical skills or training courses taken by employees during their time with a company.

With the development of collaborative learning tools and ratings from peers, blockchain technology can also help to recognize progress made by employees in their career paths. The data thus collected and certified can then be published on social media to increase employability.

The advantages and limits of this technology

Blockchains allow the arrival of a decentralized Web, in which all the problems relating to the unauthorized use of data by third parties (by the GAFA or hackers, for example) are resolved. Each data block, as well as access to certain data, will be fully managed by the user.

The new technology is gaining ground. One example is that it is used in certain African countries by people without bank accounts to complete transactions (in bitcoins) on mobile phones, without the use of banks.

It also meets requirements in terms of processing of personal data and complies with regulations, such as the GDPR. This new technology will have a profound impact on how transactions are performed and some tasks will no longer exist as a result, in particular HR admin tasks. On the other hand, new talent will be necessary and numerous ‘controllers’ required within the blockchains.

We are only at the beginning. For blockchain technology to work, it must be adopted by many people, who will provide the data and actions required for it to function properly. New ecosystems will be created and we already need to start thinking about how we can take part.