Blockchain is about to revolutionize our way of doing business, but probably not in the way that you think. While it is most closely associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology is primed to disrupt a whole lot more than currency.
Blockchain’s decentralized network of computers verifies and automates the flow of information. That makes it a trustworthy system that stores data while cutting out the middleman. This is the reason that banks are working to stay abreast of blockchain—and also why it could completely disrupt the way HR professionals work.
If we fully utilize blockchain’s capabilities, the technology will create more accurate and effective approaches to just about everything in HR. From big-picture areas like hiring and taxes to smaller scale tasks like payroll, there are so many important human resources applications that blockchain will change.
Blockchain will make resumes and LinkedIn obsolete
It might seem like an outlandish statement today, but blockchain technology is perfectly capable of making both old-school resumes and career networking websites like LinkedIn obsolete. Instead of an applicant writing up a description of where they’ve worked and what they’ve done, blockchain transactions will simply store all of their employment history.
That will totally transform the way that companies recruit candidates. There will be no need for a lengthy verification process where HR offices call references to confirm employment history. They can simply pull up the public blockchain. It’s even possible that the blockchain can store performance indicators like whether the employee was promoted or the reason why they left the company.
Having this complete picture readily available will take a lot of the subjectivity out of the hiring game. We won’t adjust our resumes or alter how we present ourselves based on the specific job we’re applying to. Blockchain can document both our successes and failures, encouraging us to embrace those failures and what we’ve learned from them instead of just leaving them out. Most importantly, a more complete picture will help companies make better decisions and allow strong performers to rise to the top.
If LinkedIn does continue to exist, its main value add will be in the form of a nicer user interface that makes blockchain technology easier to navigate. The employment history and “content,” however, will all be pulled from the public blockchain.
Blockchain will automate taxes and make them more accurate
Right now, taxes for contract workers are complicated. From write-offs to estimated taxes, the annual tax burden is a headache for workers and employers alike. Take estimated tax rates for hourly employees in my home country of Australia. Here, they can be wildly inaccurate. For example, let’s say I usually make $20 per hour. If I make $100 per hour on a particular day, my earnings will be taxed as if I’m going to make that higher rate all year. That’ll put me in the highest tax bracket, even though that payment is an anomaly. Then, I have to wait all year to file taxes and let the government know that I paid too much before I can get back my refund.
I also have to meticulously track my expenses if I want to take deductions, saving receipts for years. The frustration and headaches this causes are exemplified in an episode of Seinfeld called “The Truth,” where Jerry makes a desperate phone call to a computer store, trying to get some sort of proof that he purchased a computer years ago.
This is where blockchain can improve people’s lives. It’s a fair and accountable system where nothing slips through the cracks. Blockchain can track my income and my purchases, and reset my tax rates accordingly and in real-time based on how much I’m earning. There’s no need to wait all year and there’s no need to go through the hassle of saving every single piece of paper.
Blockchain will streamline routine tasks
Everything from tracking payroll to issuing paychecks to managing contracts is more efficient with blockchain. The technology allows companies to send and receive funds instantly and securely anywhere in the world without using a bank as a go-between, and without the corresponding fees that apply.
It can also cut out many of the day-to-day tasks of managing contracts by implementing smart contracts which can automatically carry out predetermined terms. Both parties would be guaranteed that the other side would uphold those terms without having to spend as much time ensuring proper oversight.
Blockchain efficiencies outweigh concerns
Often, even when tech gurus talk about innovation, they usually end up with renovation. Instead of coming up with truly novel technology, they just slightly alter and refresh what already exists. Blockchain is different. It’s one of the few developments out there that is really and truly brand new, like nothing that we’ve ever seen before.
That’s why blockchain is primed to cause disruption. It’s cheaper and it’s more effective than standard time-intensive and people-intensive methods. It makes people’s lives easier. The technology is there, the incentive is there, and the ideas are there. Now it’s just up to innovators to make it a reality.