Q&A With HR Tech Influencer Rajiv Kumar


Rajiv Kumar
Chief Medical Officer and President
Virgin Pulse


What’s the single most dramatic shift you see happening in the HR tech space today?

There’s been so much innovation over the last five years. That innovation, however, has led to a labyrinth of poorly-integrated point solutions that are hard to access, get low engagement, and therefore, are largely ineffective. Today, employers are looking for consolidation–broad platforms that can serve as a central organizing force and engagement engine for their entire HR ecosystem.

Employers also are striving to improve security and data analytics; consolidation helps with that, too. It’s difficult to perform security vetting on numerous vendors, but much easier to vet just one. Taking all the data from multiple vendors and translating it into something meaningful can be an impossible task. Consolidated platforms provide aggregated and integrated data that’s more insightful and actionable.

In acquiring and implementing new technologies, what’s the one or two most common mistakes HR organizations make?

The biggest mistake we at Virgin Pulse see is the failure to follow known best practices. Every vendor that’s been around for a decade or more has voluminous data to show what works–and what doesn’t. We’re surprised how often a company hires a vendor but then isn’t open to adopting data-driven best practices recommended by that vendor. For example, we’ve seen clients who follow our best practices achieve up to 90% employee engagement in wellbeing. But when companies launch technology-driven solutions without adhering to evidence-based recommendations for implementation and program design they end up with average results, or worse.

Are there certain strategies that are more effective than others when it comes to getting your workforce to use new HR technologies being put in place?

When implementing new technology, every company can learn a great deal from organizational change management (OCM) practices. One of OCM’s tenets is to take a grassroots approach. In other words, don’t send a mandate from management that requires employees to adopt new technology. Afterall, no one likes to be told what to do. Instead, ensure that your employees understand why the new technology is relevant and how it can improve their lives. Leverage peer-to-peer influence, form teams, recruit champions across departments and throughout the organization, and create friendly competition among co-workers.