Internet and the world wide web have been evolving. When it started, people and businesses could provide information about themselves and exchange information. Over time, there have been many improvements and thus, we can interact with people and businesses, carry out business transactions and automate a whole lot of things in our lives. Web3 is taking shape where many of our current ways of doing things will potentially change; the changes are likely to be not only drastic but rapid.
What are the changes?
Web3 is a distributed ecosystem that has an online database running on blockchain technology. This is different from Web2 where the databases are private and data stored there are not available to anyone else outside the system. This is not to say that privacy will be gone and every bit of data will be public.
Rather this online database will connect all the data spread across the world, aggregate everything synchronously, store it in a highly secure manner, grant access to the user authorised for it at the user node and serve the results at a pace faster than the current norm. Web3 is built on an architecture that thrives on systemic governance rather than by any central agency or person. It is distributed and robust.
For example, a user can allow his or her query about a product to be visible either in full or in parts to a certain kind of user. The sellers of that product category can reach this potential buyer directly. This is very different from the current practices of targeted marketing where a user is swamped with unwanted messages, calls and advertisements.
Moreover, in the current format, a huge amount of data is stored by servers across the world and there is a huge amount of duplication there, generating a huge carbon footprint. Web3 creates a milder impact on mother earth and it is just a matter of a few quarters that we will see the innovation in practice.
How can the HR team use Web3?
Maintaining an employee database involves organising several documents and data in order on an ongoing basis; it is no mean feat. Carrying out background verification, payroll and tasks related to compliances are routine tasks for the HR team. Each of these tasks involves handling past data and sensitive information. Talent management practices have many nuances; it is one of the most important HR processes that need data about employees’ skills, achievements and assessment of potential. Recruitment is another big area in HR that needs crunching of data related to arriving at the right matches on skills, role, title, compensation and benefits.
Rarely do HR folks have a system that enables them to carry out all these processes seamlessly and effectively. Even if they do, the system does not let them do everything well. Web3 brings us the possibility of leveraging data related to the employee stored in multiple places without owning the data and storing them in the company’s database.
Background verification can be a breeze unlike the current practice of making multiple requests to people for validation of information. Similarly, the achievements of a person, accolades or otherwise received by a person on myriad platforms and systems will be accessible to the employer organisation. Thus, the decisions taken in recruitment and talent management will be surefooted. Payroll and compliance-related tasks can be not only quick and accurate but also automated. Given the developments in IoT (internet of things) and augmented reality, managing employee leaves and attendance can be automated; thus, administration of payroll and compliance processes till paying out salaries, reimbursing expenses and making statutory pay-outs to government bodies can be automated.
Stock options, rewards and recognition and other benefits such as performance-linked pay can all be administered with ease. Cryptocurrencies are in their infancy in India now; it is just a matter of time that some of these payouts will be in digital currencies. Similarly, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) will be used commonly to access data from secured environments.
How can we start?
We have to believe that Web3 is not a fad and it will take us over before we realise it. Since 2017, the number of merchants who receive payments through QR codes and UPI (unified payment interface) has multiplied manifold in India. Currently, it is estimated that 40-50% of them have adopted this and India is at the forefront of this transition. All changes have been taking place at a faster pace than ever before. Hence, it would not be utopian to assume that Web3 will become a reality soon.
Companies have started experimenting with metaverse and creating excitement among users. Thus, there is a demand for talent with expertise in blockchain technologies. Though we have many people including Elon Musk sceptical about the onset of Web3 any time soon, we think that Web3 is on the horizon and will soon impact all of us. It is good to be prepared and pioneer adaptation of the new technology that can automate tasks and bring us efficiency.