If you care about your employees, you should let them own their career credentials

Financial capital and human capital are the key factors in the growth of the global economy.

 

But while we see exciting developments improving the efficiency and speed to deploy financial capital, human capital is left behind, although now more than ever, with effects of COVID and the 4th industrial revolution crushing job markets across the globe, we need to accelerate our ability to develop and deploy human capital on a global scale.

 

But the reality is, that although huge investments are done in HR tech in the last decade, nothing seems to move the needle and create real change.

 

The root cause is the broken data transfer system underlying the labor markets.

 

Efficient development and deployment of human capital require a free flow of trusted data on people’s skills, education, and credentials. The data on people’s career credentials: employment history, education, experiences, skills, assessments, compensation, assignments, training, certifications, etc, is key to sustaining labor markets’ efficiencies and has enormous potential upside for individuals and businesses. As Artificial Intelligence solutions in HR develop, we expect to see even more incredible and new opportunities to leverage career data, further increasing its importance and value.

 

Employers are struggling with this because with all the amazing tech that we now have in HR, we still rely on self-reported records, resumes or LinkedIn profiles, that individuals share with employers.

 

Studies have shown that these self-reported records cannot be trusted. According to a recent HireRight employment screening benchmark report1, 84% of employers have identified lies or misrepresentations on applicants’ resumes; up dramatically from 2012, when 66% reported finding fabrications. According to a recent Checkster survey, 78% of applicants reporting to lie on their applications2.

 

The fact that applicants’ self-reported career facts cannot be trusted coupled with various compliance issues, drives employers in the age of constant, instantaneous connectivity, to use manual, weeks-long processes to validate people’s career data before they can make a decision.

 

Imagine global commerce where payments take 3-4 weeks to verify and reconcile. Well, this is the current situation in the labor market. It’s a useless exercise to even start calculating the cost of this friction to the global economy and the lost opportunity for individuals.

 

Velocity is designed to be the world’s network for verifiable and trusted career credentials, built for the digital age.

 

Signed credentials are issued by businesses, education providers and government agencies to individuals, attesting to their education and career achievements, and stored on the individual’s device with their sole ownership and control. Cryptographic proof of validity is stored on an immutable, high-performance blockchain.

 

These individuals can now choose whether and with whom to share selected credentials. any permitted recipient of a credential and check against the blockchain for its validity.

 

Reducing friction and the cost to transfer trusted career and education credentials will be the ‘great transformer’ of the global labor market, redefining human capital development and deployment. Velocity is designed to be the world’s network for verifiable and trusted career credentials, designed for the digital age.

 

 

HR ACCELERATES TO KEEP UP WITH MEGA-TRENDS FOR THE FUTURE OF WORK

 

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems in HR get smarter and more focused on solving specific problems, industry experts expect to see dramatic improvements in productivity, performance, and employee wellbeing.

 

According to IBM’s recent global survey of more than 6,000 executives, 66% of CEOs believe AI can drive significant value in HR3.

 

HR Tech incumbents are investing heavily in AI and Machine Learning functions. Industry analysts found that nearly half of HR Tech venture capital funding events in the last few years went to AI-focused startups4.

 

In the meantime, economic factors, social changes, and technological advances are driving multiple changes in and outside the workplace, posing even greater challenges for the HR profession.

 

The 4th Industrial Revolution trends are disrupting long-established business models: growing demand for customized products; shifts and skill mismatches in production value chains; digitization across every dimension of manufacturing; and a volatile socioeconomic climate marked by protectionism and populism.

 

Even in post-pandemic job markets, businesses are struggling to get the skills they need to execute their strategy. The global industry has moved much faster than the education and vocational training systems in terms of technologies used and economic development. People just do not have the skills needed in the job market. Even companies that are using more automation, AI and machine learning foresee a growing gap in the skills and experience workers need to utilize these advanced tools. A recent Korn Ferry study found that by 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people, roughly equivalent to the population of Germany. Left unchecked, in 2030 that talent shortage could result in about USD 8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues5.

 

More and more, employers are seeking workers with new skills from further afield to retain a competitive edge for their enterprises and expand their workforce productivity. Some workers are experiencing rapidly expanding opportunities in a variety of new and emerging job roles, while others are experiencing a rapidly declining outlook in a range of job roles traditionally considered “safe bets” and gateways to a lifetime career.

 

The right to work, to free choice of employment, is a basic human right. The modern labor market is fragmented, ultra-specialized, filled with all sorts of alternative work arrangements or gig-employment. It becomes an extremely confusing and Darwinist environment for individuals, as the growing sense of job insecurity cuts to the core of identity and social stability.

 

In this reality, finding, engaging and retaining the right talent and tracking the skills and expertise available across an organization’s total talent supply chain of incumbent, contingent and alumni workforce, proves to be even more challenging without access to the latest big data and AI technologies.

 

 

COVID-19 IS CAUSING ACTIVITY TO COLLAPSE AND UNEMPLOYMENT TO SOAR

 

As the effects of the pandemic and containment measures hit OECD economies, millions of people have been unable to go to work, resulting in an exceptionally stark drop in activity and unprecedented job losses. Up to 10 times fewer hours were worked in some countries, compared with the first few first months of the 2008 financial crisis. Unemployment is projected to reach nearly 10% in OECD countries by the end of 2020, up from 5.3% at year-end 2019, and to go as high as 12% should a second pandemic wave hit. A jobs recovery is not expected until after 20216.

 

Freelancers are predicted to become the U.S. workforce majority within a decade, with nearly 50% of millennial workers already freelancing. In fact, most jobs created in advanced economies do not offer permanent contracts but are self-employed or freelance work7.

 

This jobs crisis risks turning into a social crisis. In the sectors most affected, up to half of all workers have part-time or temporary contracts or are self-employed. Many lack job security and have limited access to unemployment benefits. Countries have provided extraordinary levels of support and should do all they can to maintain it for the most vulnerable while working to build more inclusive and resilient labor markets.

 

 

FREE FLOW AND WEALTH OF THE INDIVIDUAL’S CAREER DATA IS KEY TO PERSONALIZED GUIDANCE AND BETTER OPPORTUNITIES

 

The most relevant question to businesses, governments and individuals is how and under what conditions the global labor market can be supported in reaching a new equilibrium.

 

The emerging contours of the new world of work are rapidly becoming a lived reality for millions of workers around the world. The inherent opportunities for economic prosperity, societal progress and individual flourishing in this new world of work are enormous yet depend crucially on the ability of all concerned stakeholders to instigate reforms in education and training systems, labor market policies, business approaches to developing skills, employment arrangements and existing social contracts.

 

For this to happen, every person must have access to personalized career and development opportunities at the time it matters, and the free flow and wealth of the individual’s career data is key to personalized guidance and better opportunities.

 

If we would have a trusted and continuously updated and changing picture of the individual’s career records, we would get the equivalent of a movie rather than the scarce pictures we have now. Then we could begin to harness the latest technology to see the context of where things are heading and the changes over time. To mitigate the impact of the 4th industrial revolution and the pandemic, data must be used in much more meaningful ways than today, guiding people as they develop and manage their careers.

 

 

PERSONAL DATA IS BECOMING ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE THINGS IN SOCIETY

 

When it comes to data privacy, we often refer to rules set by centralized platforms that determine who has permission to access data and who gets informed when it happens. Yet, the real threat to online privacy lies in the fact that we give our information to multiple players freely, with each storing this information in their centralized databases, which have become easy targets for hackers. The answer to this doesn’t rely on giving users the ability to control how platforms use their information, but it requires a fundamentally new technological approach that handles information in a different way.

 

In the last several years, people’s concerns about social media have spread with the revelations of privacy violations by Cambridge Analytica, as an example. There are heightened worries l of data-sharing between platforms and top device makers without users’ consent. Based on Edelman’s Trust Barometer study, which surveyed over 33,000 respondents in 28 countries, there is a decline in users’ trust in social media and other tech providers with regard to privacy measures and data collection: 84% agree that the protection of privacy and personal information is one of the most important responsibilities for social media platforms, while only 40% (less than half) indicate that they actually trust social media platforms to behave responsibly with user data. And 40% responded that they have deleted at least one social media account in the past year because they didn’t trust the platform to treat their personal information properly8.

 

Personal data is becoming one of the most valuable things in society. Every day, internet users provide 2.5 quintillion bytes of data9 to companies for free. These centralized platforms determine who has permission to access data, use this totally free resource to make billions in profits, support business decisions, sell to marketing companies, and draw people onto their websites, while the users become economically disenfranchised.

 

Given the above, it is clear that we need a new data-sharing architecture that ensures user control of their data. The idea of self-sovereign personal data is not new. Now with the emergence of new technologies, all interested stakeholders are converging to make it happen.

 

 

PERSONAL DATA IN THE WORKPLACE

 

A disconcerting result from a survey conducted by Accenture and released at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland10 shows almost eight in every ten business leaders globally said using workforce data will help them grow their existing business, but more than two-thirds (70%) of those business leaders say they are “not very confident” that they are using new sources of workplace data in a “highly responsible” way.

 

Research showed that in response to ethical concerns, some businesses are leaving value on the table by holding back on collecting workforce data.

 

While employees have concerns, however, they are overwhelmingly in favor of the practice, if the data is collected responsibly and benefits them. Employees say that in return for their permission to collect data, employers will have to give them more control over how it is used. The most common benefits gained in return for data are improved productivity and performance; safety at work; and fairer pay, promotions and appraisals.

 

The research also found that people want to own their work-related data and take it with them when they leave the company. That doesn’t mean employers need to give up their own rights, just that they must extend those rights to workers.

 

The research has identified the factors of workforce data practices that influence employees’ level of trust in their employers. One of these key recommendations is to empower people with greater control of their own data. Organizations must grant more control to individuals so they can manage, and even, own their data.

 

 

IF YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR EMPLOYEES, YOU SHOULD LET THEM OWN THEIR CAREER CREDENTIALS

 

Self-Sovereign Career Identity, reducing friction and cost to transfer trusted career and education credentials between individuals and organizations will be the ‘great transformer’ of the global labor market, redefining human capital development and deployment.

 

A verifiable career credentials platform is by all definitions a multi-sided platform. On one side are the Holders, individuals who want to own and control their career credentials, privately store them, and share them at their discretion, to access better career and education opportunities. On the other side are the Issuers, who issue credentials to the individuals, asserting their career records, as well as the Verifiers, the organizations to whom the individuals will present the credentials.

 

The world of work will be mired in Babel forever until platforms talk to each other. That’s interoperability: in the context of self-sovereign career identity, interoperability is the ability of different actors in the labor market and education spaces to issue, revoke, share and verify credentials, and cooperatively use them in a coordinated manner, within and across different systems, tech environment, and verifiable data registries.

 

Velocity Network is the largest endeavor to unify the infrastructure underlying the global labor market. The network is implemented as a public service on top of a blockchain network running the distributed ledger that is shared, replicated and synchronized among the members of a decentralized network (nodes). A public utility enabling self-sovereign career identity on the Internet, allowing Individuals to collect, hold, and choose which verifiable career credentials – jobs, gigs, education, skills, performance, etc. – they share with interested parties. Every record in the network has a timestamp and unique cryptographic signature, thus making the ledger an auditable, immutable history of a user’s career. We call it the Internet of Careers®.

 

Building on top of the Velocity Network some of the biggest names in human resources and education technology, staffing, contingency workforce, and employment screening announced a critical industry milestone, demonstrating their seamless integration to the blockchain-based Network, to innovate with diverse use cases through verifiable career credentials that accelerate learning, education and career pathways for students and workers. This marks the culmination of months of collaboration following the public announcement of the Velocity Network Foundation launched in January of this year. Soon these vendors will be able to seamlessly enable their user organizations to issue credentials to their constituents and validate student, candidate and employee records, and enable greater opportunity for everyone, everywhere.

 

The network is governed by the Velocity Network Foundation, a nonprofit organization established by Velocity Career Labs, a developer of innovative blockchain technology. The Foundation exists to govern the use of the Velocity Network by all involved parties; continuously build the rulebook, a common framework that ensures operational consistency and legal clarity for every transaction; promote global adoption and support among stakeholders and constituents; guide the development of the decentralized protocols; and support research and development of applications and associated services, fostering a community of open-source developers.

 

If you care about your employees, you should let them own their career credentials. Join us as we move to change the world of work!

 

Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

 

References

1 Employment Screening Benchmark Report, HireRight, 2018

2 Ethical Hiring Alignment survey, Checkster, 2020

3Extending expertise: How cognitive computing is transforming HR and the employee experience, IBM Smarter Workforce Institute, 2017

4 Lighthouse Research and Advisory, 2018

5The Global Talent Crunch, Korn Ferry, 2018

6 OECD (2020), OECD Employment Outlook 2020: Worker Security and the COVID-19 Crisis, OECD Publishing, Paris. 

7 Freelancing in America, Upwork, October 2019 

8 The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, Edelman, 2018 

9 How Much Data Do We Create Every Day?, Forbes, 2018 

10 Putting Trust to Work, Accenture, 2019