We recently launched our thought leadership report “Human to Hybrid: The next workforce frontier”.

It’s based on the thesis that there is a new dynamic emerging that will see humans work in a fully digitised and technologically optimised environment, and increasingly alongside robots and AI over the next ten years. The conclusion is that we are getting more connected and that we will make more use of technologies around data to make better, smarter decisions.

This will doubtlessly affect the whole employee life cycle. The current procedure to hire and on-board a recruit is lengthy. From conducting the interviews and checking qualifications to validating work backgrounds and gathering references; it all takes time. It will be disrupted by the implementation of digital identity in the form that can be realised using blockchain technology - be it private, federated or public (blockchain is a record of transactions which are saved on multiple computers and which constantly grows as new transactions or "blocks" are added to it, forming a continuous and public chain of data).

The possible uses of blockchain are many. They include verifying and validating the skills and education of recruits, enabling a trusted record of upskilling and workplace performance, enhancing cybersecurity and fraud prevention, and managing secure and instant payments to employees. Many companies will use blockchain as the fabric of their processes.

Establishing a digital identity will have an impact on the entire hire-to-retire life cycle. The push for hyper- and super-convergence of many processes and services in the cloud will require that AI and blockchain be intertwined inextricably.

Start with the recruitment process, for example. Knowledge mining will enable companies to gather intelligence from unstructured documents and data. Voice analytics will enable companies to make sense of the semantic depth of the answers from a candidate and their rating in terms of their ability to be customer-facing.

Legitimate, public domain candidate data obtained from mining in the form of social and professional media presence will enable a broader check of the candidate’s interests. These three separate analytics can then be convoluted to enable companies to rapidly sift through candidates to build up a detailed psychometric picture, which can then be matched against available positions.

These then offer a reasonable guarantee of clearing all the hurdles to on-boarding. Many of the aspects of face-to-face interviews will be de-prejudiced and automated. This is because an AI-based system can learn from its mistakes and correct them much more quickly than humans can. With humans it is cultural; with AI it is based on the realities of the data.

It may sound fanciful, but we are already working on many pieces of this jigsaw. Companies like Unilever, for example, are experimenting with social media, online games and AI to further digitalise their recruitment process. Admittedly, we will still have a face-to-face interview with candidates, but in many cases it will be interviewers who will be under scrutiny for their biases.  When using video for interviews, analytics will be about both sides of the table.

The on-boarding process will be greatly enhanced by chatbots that evolve and learn from their interactions with recruits and employees. Cisco, for example, organises hackathons to build new HR products for on-boarding new employees and answering HR-related questions from employees. Chatbots will be able to answer almost all generic and mundane questions related to policies, benefits, pensions, insurance, healthcare, and everything else besides. This will leave HR free to do the human things: sorting out grievances, enhancing talent and nurturing people.

HR is going to go through a disruptive (hopefully constructive) transformation in which all employees have a digital passport based around mathematically-guaranteed identity and security (through the use of blockchain technology). That guarantee of mathematically water-tight identity will become crucial as many disparate systems come together and the implications of mis-identification becomes commercially, socially and legally unbearable.

The adoption of blockchain will enable HR departments to connect to all the devices and processes available in the hybrid workplace, resulting in an intelligent and data-driven system based on the necessary metrics for the achievement of the desired business processes.

Download the full report
Financial Management

Artificial intelligence

Human to hybrid

Many business leaders see the 'human to hybrid' transition as their most important strategic challenge in the next five years.


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