News by Forbes: Benjamin Pirus
An increasing number of mainstream giants have taken the plunge into the blockchain world over the past two years. Players such as Walmart and Facebook have shown interest in the technology to improve areas like supply chain and value transfer. Staffing giant Kelly Services has joined online hiring platform Moonlighting to bring blockchain to human capital.
Kelly has announced “a strategic partnership between Kelly Services and Moonlighting,” John Healy, vice president and managing director for the Office of the Future of Work, “an organization within Kelly [Services],” said to me in an interview.
“Kelly’s innovation fund and our Office of the Future of Work, together, are coming together with Jeff [Tennery] and Moonlighting to form this,” Healy said. “A big part of it is the aspect that Moonlighting has made a commitment to using blockchain as a foundation for what they’re doing with their platform as they move forward,” he added. “We think that [there are] some pretty significant market opportunities that are going to come as a result of that.” The Moonlighting platform is based on EOSIO’s public blockchain, with no crypto asset involved, Moonlighting CEO and founder Jeff Tennery clarified to me in an email.
In the hiring world, job seeking and freelancing can be difficult and redundant in the sense that such parties may need to upload their skills, profiles and information to many different platforms and websites in an attempt to gain job exposure. This can be time consuming. Blockchain may hold the keys to smoothing out the process, as well as adding elements of decentralization and security to the mix.
Trending Toward The Digital World
Healy noted people in the working world are now seeking “mobile technology,” “self-service” and “the platform economy,” as opposed to conventional hiring methods and job conditions seen in years past.
Moonlighting touts investment from EOSIO blockchain protocol provider Block.one and the FinLab AG-backed FinLab EOS VC Fund, according to a statement Moonlighting provided to me. “Moonlighting’s Blockchain Profile Management Solution will run on the EOSIO protocol and allow job seekers to create trusted work profiles and transport them to other freelance and gig marketplaces,” the statement said.
Speaking on Moonlighting’s collaboration with multiple parties, including media and Block.one, Healy noted that, “all the pieces came together to say that co-creation among a group of people, as opposed to individual efforts, creates probably better opportunity.”
Using Blockchain To Verify And Unchain User Profiles
Moonlighting already has more than 750,000 people using its platform, Tennery said to me in an interview. Using blockchain, Moonlighting looks to provide user profiles, or “digital resume[s]” of sorts, that are accurate with confirmed information, Tennery explained. “We’re verifying information about the freelancer that is going to be hashed and background checked,” Tennery said. Such information includes “work history and all of those things that are really important to build trust between the hirer and the freelancer,” he added.
The platform also utilizes blockchain technology for decentralization and the ability to make those user profiles mobile and transferrable to different platforms, Tennery explained. “One of the biggest problems with the gig economy right now is it’s so fragmented and people have to keep signing up over and over and over again into all sorts of different apps or websites,” he said. “Kelly and Moonlighting are really collaborating to fix that problem so that people could be more efficient in the way they share their data so they can get hired,” the Moonlighting CEO added. “Blockchain just fits that very nicely, and then the control is really in the hands of the user,” he added, noting recent publicized data leaks and the relevance of data control.
Fitting Blockchain Into The Staffing World
Healy noted many are wondering and investigating ways in which blockchain might fit into “the staffing industry.” “We believe that its going to really require some collaboration from different players within the space,” he said. “It’s not going to be one company who’s going to do this on their own, and that’s exciting,” he added. “The idea of data privacy and putting that control into the hands of the individual and to own and control their own data is something that we think is really important.”
Regarding Kelly’s initial involvement in the partnership, Healy mentioned a few aspects. “When we enter something through our innovation fund, a lot of it is about learning and testing models in areas that we don’t have a dominant strength in, in the market,” he said.
“We’re going to learn. We’ve got three of our business units today that are actively exploring how to leverage both the technology that Moonlighting has, as well as the business process that we’re delivering for our customers and for our workers to figure out where that best fit is,” he said. “We will be looking for opportunities to create efficiency for the worker, as much as anyone in this process, efficiency for our internal operations and efficiency for our customer.”
Mentioning the vast amount of users Kelly has, as well as the respectable numbers Moonlighting touts, Tennery also added, “There’s just a lot of area for cross-referencing, and working, and we’re still working through that piece of the puzzle.”