Q&A with Ravi Kikan, Director – Marketing, Online Sales & Growth at ZingHR

Ravi Kikan, Director – Marketing, Online Sales & Growth at ZingHR, holds a CXO role for businesses, and startups and helps in building GTM, scaling business growth and multitasking cross functional team with a common vision to fulfill their short-term and long-term goals. He has been advising and mentors startups and has also conducted lectures in several business schools. He is a proud author of several books including ‘How to Validate your startup business,’ ‘Bounce Back Now’ and ‘How to Raise Funds like a Rockstar.’

Inbound and outbound marketing has to be balanced while you plan your marketing strategy. Every business has different business needs and outcomes so accordingly both methods have to be balanced.


MEDIA 7: You are a proud author of three successfully published books and a mentor to budding entrepreneurs across different industries. What has your professional journey been like?
RAVI KIKAN:
I started in corporate working with both domestic and MNCs and was exposed to various sectors in media, PR, tech, financial services. I leapt from there to my new love of startups and ventured into my first media startup which failed despite being a great business idea with a proof of concept. From there on I started working with startups and in the last 10 years, I have worked, mentored, consulted or advised over 500+ startups and aspiring entrepreneurs. My failures and successes both were instrumental in giving me a direction on how startups and aspiring entrepreneurs should focus and look at basics from the ground level. I also happen to run one of the largest digital communities on LinkedIn with over 650,000+ global members - https://www.linkedin.com/groups/56766. This gave me an impetus to share, build and create content for professionals, startups and aspiring entrepreneurs across various facets in their journeys.


M7: Could you please briefly discuss how ZingHR combines Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to help their clients maximize their outcomes?
RK:
We have many large enterprises that are using our AI-powered chatbots for employees. The ZingHR chatbot is designed to act as a virtual HR. It can simulate and carry out a real-time conversation with employees and respond to all HR related queries instantly, hence enabling a smarter way to engage 24X7. Machine learning algorithms are the key factors to automate the entire talent acquisition process, right from onboarding to the critical decision-making process. Machine Learning powered HCM solutions enable organizations to derive intelligent insights that help navigate these challenges, reduce the cost of a bad hire, and maximize the ROI on the resource time and cost spent on recruiting. Our HR software solution leverages machine learning capabilities to help organizations make quick, unbiased, and smart hiring decisions based on the candidate profile.


Remote working, digitizations in processes, workflow automation are all going to be a part and parcel of everyday non-traditional workspace and entrepreneurs who go with this flow will definitely see great success.



M7: What is your approach to market research, both customer and competitor-focused? How do you tackle changing client expectations in a dynamic digital market?
RK:
I always believe that, before we start building a product or service, we should validate your business idea or proposition. If there is a product-market fit, you launch the product/services else, you build something that a customer wants and is willing to pay for it.
When it comes to customers, it is simple - help them to navigate and understand the best part of your product. ZingHR is a leading HRTech company and my onus is to ensure that growth-bound enterprises should adopt it for progressive outcome focussed results.
I generally do not look at competition from a fear POV. I look at them in understanding how they are providing value to the existing or prospective customers. Our global competition in the HRTech space is between some amazing companies and we are proud to compete with them. We are the only company that has a host of 30+ modules in the HRTech space which no one really has. Our objective remains as a mobile-first, customer-first organization.


M7: In your digital marketing approach, how does ZingHR balance inbound and outbound marketing?
RK:
Inbound and outbound marketing has to be balanced while you plan your marketing strategy. Every business has different business needs and outcomes so accordingly both methods have to be balanced. At ZingHR, what we do initially is to find out the sales pipeline, understand the target audience and then plan which method will be appropriate to target the potential clients which lead to closure. This has to be a mix of Inbound and Outbound from building thought leadership content targeting the buyer personas, balancing paid and organic media, event marketing, email nurturing, content marketing, social media, top-of-the-mind awareness and much more. When these tactics are aligned it can help to drive maximum ROI on your spending.


M7: What are the key marketing approaches you have implemented at ZingHR to generate leads recently? How effective have they been?
RK:
As mentioned earlier, we are balancing the right mix of inbound and outbound marketing approaches to generate leads. Inbound marketing is permission-based and draws your customers' attention while outbound marketing is push-based, however, it can drive outcomes in the business to get you leads. A combination of both methods makes sense. So far Inbound and Outbound have been effective for us.


I always believe that, before we start building a product or service, we should validate your business idea or proposition. If there is a product-market fit, you launch the product/services else, you build something that a customer wants and is willing to pay for it.



M7: What do you see as the most noticeable change right now happening in the workforce, encouraged by the rise of digital technologies?
RK:
A very noticeable change is the maintenance of the channel of communication through the crisis, all thanks to digital methodologies. There is a level of trust that has been generated. People are learning how to do work disparately and with far less oversight. They are learning via remote, virtual formats. They are using analytics and following automated seamless internal processes. The need to constantly upskill and relearn has led to a huge disruption in the workforce ecosystem. The need for being agile and lean is a priority.


M7: What is your advice to entrepreneurs today who are facing some of the biggest challenges on digital platforms in the post-COVID-19 era?
RK:
Definitely, the outbreak of the coronavirus has been a letdown for many organizations and esp. startups. But as we are seeing the balance being restored slowly and steadily, one piece of advice to entrepreneurs will be to be aggressive in terms of getting back there and adopting digital change. Brands that can adapt and evolve are the ones that will survive. Post pandemic, we will see a paradigm shift in the work landscape and entrepreneurs need to acclimatize to it. Remote working, digitizations in processes, workflow automation are all going to be a part and parcel of everyday non-traditional workspace and entrepreneurs who go with this flow will definitely see great success.

ABOUT ZINGHR

ZingHR has been the driving force that is helping organizations go beyond Automation, and deliver a solution that could directly impact Business Outcomes and Enhance Employee Experience. ZingHR aims for an Employee-Centric and mobile-first approach. An Enterprise HCM platform for the betterment of the workforce irrespective of geographical boundaries covering the entire spectrum from Onboarding to Exit and beyond. ZingHR currently focuses on giving its users an experience like never before with AI-enabled Technology and User-Friendly Systems supported with over 21+ languages. ZingHR delivers Human Capital Management, Workforce Management, Talent Acquisition, Payroll, Learning Management, Performance Management, Training, Time & Attendance, and Analytics applications, designed and delivered for the world’s largest organizations.

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The picture of retirement is evolving with more Americans turning 65 in 2024 than any year1 before. According to new research from Principal Financial Group®, expectations around how and when to retire by generation vary greatly – placing increased focus on employee engagement and personalized investment strategies to help improve financial security and retirement readiness. Phased retirement appeals to younger workers who want to retire earlier According to the Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM, among Americans in the workforce, gradually decreasing hours is the most desired way to retire (52%) and is most preferred by Generation X (67%) and millennials (56%). Baby boomers and Generation Z report similarities in how they want to retire, with nearly half preferring to move immediately from working full-time to not working at all. This echoes the most common approach taken by current retirees surveyed2, a group in which just over one quarter (28%) either transitioned careers or gradually phased down from their primary career. “Attitudes and expectations for retirement continue to evolve, and we expect the desire to approach retirement in phases will continue to grow with future generations,” said Chris Littlefield, president of Retirement and Income Solutions at Principal®. While there are some similarities in how generations want to retire, they have different expectations on timelines and the age at which they plan to retire. The youngest generation, Gen Z, expects to retire at 55 – approximately 10 years earlier than baby boomers (68) and Gen X (64), and four years sooner than millennials (59). Employees prioritize saving for retirement The survey revealed employees are focused on balancing basic needs with long-term savings outcomes against a backdrop of ongoing economic pressures that continue to top their list of concerns. Employees of all generations ranked saving for retirement as their top financial priority, followed by affording basic needs and paying off consumer debt3. "Saving for retirement is the No. 1 financial priority for employees surveyed, which validates that access to workplace benefits and financial wellness programs is helping Americans save for retirement and achieve better financial outcomes,” Littlefield said. “Going forward, increased personalization as well as tailored savings and investment strategies that take into account an individual’s financial goals, lifestyle, health care needs, dependent care obligations, retirement income expectations, and other unique factors will help achieve improved financial security in retirement.” Retention and recruitment of older employees critical for business success Employee interest in phased retirement has added value for employers. Most employers (77%) agree that the knowledge older employees have about their company is crucial to their business’s success. Employers concerned with “having valuable employees retire” are more likely to take actions to either retain them or hire employees who previously retired from other companies. Despite this, not all employers have experience with offering phased retirement. Only 11% of small and midsized businesses4 reported they offer phased retirement job opportunities on a regular basis compared to nearly one quarter of large businesses5. However, interest is there, as 61% of businesses that don’t offer a phased retirement still receive questions from employees about the options. See all results and insights from the latest Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM (PDF). According to the Alliance for Lifetime Income This wave included a survey of 137 individuals between the ages of 50 and 75 who consider themselves retired or have previously fully retired and gone back to work. In order to be included in the survey sample, employees must work full-time, and their employer has to offer either health insurance or retirement as an employee benefit. Businesses with 2-499 employees Businesses with 500-10,000 employees About the Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM The Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM surveys business owners, decision makers and business leaders aged 21 and over who work at companies with 2-10,000 employees and offer either health insurance or retirement as an employee benefit. The nation-wide survey, commissioned since 2012, examines the financial well-being of American workers and business employers. In 2020, the Well-Being Index was transformed from an annual survey to a regular pulse, offering three waves, revisiting questions and measuring sentiment regarding timely issues in the small and midsized business marketplace. In the first pulse of the Well-Being Index in 2022, the employee audience was added to the survey to compare and contrast key sentiment from employers. The survey was commissioned by Principal® and conducted online by Dynata from November 6-13, 2023, with a total of 500 business owners, decision makers and business leader participants and a total of 200 employee participants. This wave included a survey of 127 individuals who consider themselves retired or have previously fully retired and gone back to work. The research report focuses on providing a holistic perspective on key trends and timely issues in the small and medium business market. About Principal Financial Group® Principal Financial Group® is a global financial company with 19,500 employees1 passionate about improving the wealth and well-being of people and businesses. In business for more than 140 years, we’re helping more than 61 million customers1 plan, protect, invest, and retire, while working to support the communities where we do business, and build a diverse, inclusive workforce. Principal® is proud to be recognized as one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies® by Ethisphere2, a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, and a “Best Places to Work in Money Management3.”

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The partnership is aimed at breaking down barriers to virtual care by providing employees with access to expert physicians across a wide range of health care needs on the Alight Worklife platform. “The Alight Worklife platform serves as employees’ comprehensive connection point to their health, wealth, payroll and leaves benefits, which helps employers cut complexities, costs and engage individuals in the moments that matter most,” said Bipin Mistry, chief medical officer at Alight. “The partnership with CirrusMD helps take employee engagement one step further by making physician-led virtual care easily accessible to employees and bridges the gap between virtual clinical care delivery and employer-sponsored benefits navigation.” Helping employees arrive at the most appropriate care Employees on the Alight Worklife platform can engage directly with CirrusMD or be prompted to engage after completing Alight’s AI-powered Symptom Checker online experience to better understand their healthcare needs and guide them to care options, including virtual care provided by CirrusMD. With Single Sign-On (SSO) for fast connections to care within 60 seconds, Alight Worklife enhances the participant experience. CirrusMD’s Physician-first Care & Guidance approach to virtual primary care provides members with always-on, instant access to a doctor via chat-first modality. CirrusMD’s multidisciplinary clinical team conducts encounters on a proprietary clinical intelligence engine that provides real-time insights to physicians based on data from millions of patient-physician interactions. Once employees connect with physicians, CirrusMD offers a seamless, efficient and patient-centric virtual care experience by Connecting patients to physicians in less than a minute, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, Delivering advanced primary care that includes behavioral health, women’s health, acute care, chronic condition management and more, Physician-led seven-day experiences, interactions that allow time for in-depth diagnosis and treatment, reducing the high costs associated with multiple follow-ups, Text-based chat with options for video, voice and images when needed, Immediate referrals to employer benefits and in-network resources, And real-time Spanish language translation to help overcome potential language barriers. Optimizing the integration of healthcare benefits and clinical workflows The strategic partnership enables employers to select CirrusMD as part of their Alight Healthcare Navigation offering within the Alight Worklife platform. As well, CirrusMD providers benefit from access to Alight’s Symptom Checker results and can reference benefit programs available to the participant which can serve to facilitate patient follow-ups with both CirrusMD care teams and Alight Health Pros for a comprehensive healthcare journey support. This combined solution provides ongoing navigation to appropriate referrals and resources. For example, Alight's support for individuals with Behavioral Health conditions aligns seamlessly with CirrusMD, offering quick access to virtual Behavioral Health support when needed. Employees can be directed to other types of care options such as virtual physical therapy, through referrals made directly from CirrusMD or Alight. “At CirrusMD we are reimagining the point of care to provide the time and information needed to support a productive dialog between patient and physician, giving both the time and information they need for exceptional care experiences,” said Jamie Hall, president and CEO of CirrusMD. “This strategic agreement represents an important milestone in advancing virtual primary care, combining the strengths of Alight Solutions and CirrusMD to transform the healthcare experience for individuals and employers alike.” CirrusMD boasts an 83% issue resolution rate and an 93% overall patient satisfaction rate, and serves notable customers including health plans, large employers and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 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Mercans’ G2N Nova Solves Global Payroll Data Privacy Challenges

Mercans | January 24, 2024

Mercans continues to disrupt the global payroll industry and solidify its leadership position by rolling out exciting new features to its flagship, G2N Nova payroll engine. The recently launched features include game-changing technology and address some of the biggest challenges of global payroll, including international data privacy compliance and processing latency limitations. Mercans’ G2N Nova leverages groundbreaking stateless application architecture to enable completely anonymous payroll processing. This unprecedented technological approach enables processing gross-to-net payrolls without any sensitive Personal Identifiable Information (PII) ever being passed from clients to Mercans’ G2N Nova global payroll application. The stateless application architecture has never before been successfully deployed in the global payroll industry, and G2N Nova, is the only payroll engine that is able to generate 100% accurate gross-to-net calculations for 100+ countries. And that’s not all, it does so through a single, native platform in real-time without accessing or storing any identifiable information related to employees. This evidently innovative, payroll technology solution completely overcomes the complex data privacy compliance requirements, as confidential employee data never leaves the clients’ systems and is not needed by G2N Nova for gross-to-net payroll calculations. Thus, proving its technological prowess and independence. Additionally, this approach is a game-changer for the industry because data breaches and ransomware attacks have created concerns about data security and privacy in the payroll sector. These concerns have been significant hurdles for companies trusting external service or software providers for international payroll processing. G2N Nova’s stateless app architecture eliminates these concerns entirely. Clients’ PII never leaves their data centers and payroll-related information used by G2N Nova is completely anonymized. G2N Nova upgrade also includes a ground-breaking Continuous Calc feature that fundamentally changes how payrolls are processed. Until now, all payrolls had to go through a multi-step payroll processing cycle. G2N Nova breaks this legacy paradigm and introduces real-time net pay. The Continuous Calc feature maintains full gross-to-net values for each employee in real-time and automatically updates the net pay amounts of employees whenever there is an update to an employee’s record. This feature, thus, eliminates the need to wait for a payroll processing cycle to be completed to determine an employee’s net pay for a period. The gross-to-net values for all employees will be always available in real-time. In addition, the new version of G2N Nova lays a foundation for incorporating blockchain technology into payroll processes, allowing instantaneous and 100% tamper-proof verification of payroll calculations and payments using blockchain technology. Blockchain will create a permanent, unchangeable record of real-time record of all payroll transactions and amounts — so no one can alter or remove it. This revolutionary approach, thus, solidifies the foundation for third parties, including financial institutions, tax authorities, etc. The new ground-breaking version of G2N Nova offers global, gross-to-net payroll processing capabilities across 100+ countries, making it the world’s most advanced and powerful native payroll engine. G2N Nova is available as a SaaS or service delivery platform that can be used as a stand-alone global payroll platform or deeply integrated with all major HCM or Workforce Management software solutions. About Mercans Mercans is a global leader in payroll technology. Mercans’ revolutionary global payroll engine G2N Nova enables Enterprise businesses & HCM providers to perform gross to-net calculations across 100+ legislation.

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