Interview with Dr. Rajeev Kumar Arora, IEEE Computer Society – Vice Chair

Interview Dr. Rajeev Kumar Arora, IEEE Computer Society VP
Photo Courtesy: Rajeev Arora

By: Alex Mercer

At the critical meeting with the official IEEE, I had a special connection with Dr. Rajeev Kumar Arora, an experienced senior software engineer who is eager to share his story regarding the jobs he performed in his career. This important talk focused on Rajeev’s important work and developments in the dynamic field of Computer Science and application. 

Rajeev Kumar Arora, a seasoned expert with over twenty years of experience in both on-premises and cloud-based HR solutions, currently serves as a programmer at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. With comprehensive expertise in various HR enterprise applications, Rajeev has played a pivotal role in the digital transformation of HCM for several organizations. He defines, optimizes, and executes numerous HCM processes, including Recruitment, Onboarding, Core HR, Talent Management, Absence Management, Benefits, and Payroll, among others. Rajeev specializes in streamlining and standardizing business processes across the entire hire-to-retire cycle, focusing on automation and simplification.

Our talk in the form of questions and answers are noted below: 

What do achievements mean to you?

Dr. Arora: Accomplishments embody the concrete results of persistence, creativity, and collaboration. They serve as milestones affirming our progress, inspiring us to continue discovering, growing, and stretching our limits. Achievements extend beyond individual triumphs; they mirror the collaborative endeavors of the teams I engage with and our constructive influence on others. They mark significant points in my career path, underscoring the distance traveled and directing me toward forthcoming objectives. Above all, accomplishments signify advancement, each representing a stride in my mission to innovate the HR technology sphere.

What excites you most about the work that you do?

Dr. Arora: The most exciting prospect for me is leveraging technology to revolutionize the HR landscape. At the crossroads of digital innovation and human resources, I see tremendous potential to develop solutions that streamline business processes, empower individuals, and cultivate a richer organizational culture. The thrill of successfully implementing a strategy, the satisfaction of seeing a complex solution work flawlessly, and the joy of witnessing a positive impact on an employee’s work-life experience are moments that fuel my passion. Ultimately, the chance to shape the future of work and make a tangible, far-reaching impact is truly exhilarating.

Do you have a mantra or motto that you live by?

Dr. Arora: Yes. My mantra is “Empower through innovation, excel through collaboration.” In the dynamic healthcare IT and ERP architecture field, I believe that leveraging cutting-edge technology to create innovative solutions is key to improving patient care and operational efficiency. At the same time, success is not achieved in isolation; it requires a collaborative effort from diverse teams. By fostering a culture of collaboration, we can harness our collective expertise to overcome challenges, streamline processes, and deliver transformative results that benefit both the organization and the patients we serve. This mantra guides my approach to every project and interaction, ensuring we continuously push the boundaries of what’s possible while working together towards common goals.

This mantra guides me in HR transformation, data privacy and security innovations. It provides a better perspective on life and encourages me to continually learn, grow, and make a positive impact wherever possible.

What makes you yourself?

Dr. Arora: What makes me myself is a combination of my passion for technology and my commitment to making a positive impact through my work. My extensive experience in healthcare IT and ERP architecture has shaped my ability to solve complex problems and deliver innovative solutions that improve efficiency and security. Additionally, my dedication to continuous learning and personal growth fuels my drive to stay at the forefront of industry trends. My collaborative spirit and leadership skills enable me to build strong teams and foster an environment where everyone can thrive. Ultimately, my unique blend of technical expertise, passion for innovation, and commitment to making a difference define who I am, both professionally and personally.

What was your first job?

Dr. Arora: My professional journey began as a Software Engineer in ERP and then joined as a programmer in PeopleSoft, immersing myself in the intricacies of HCM application. This pivotal role laid the groundwork for my career trajectory, offering invaluable experiences and insights with the guidance and supervision of my leaders and mentors. Navigating through complex codes and systems not only honed my software engineering prowess but also deepened my understanding of Human Capital Management (HCM). Along the way, I encountered challenges that fostered resilience and adaptability, shaping me into a more versatile professional. Most notably, this role ignited my curiosity about the intersection of HR and technology, prompting me to envision innovative digital solutions for enhancing traditional HR practices. It acted as a catalyst that propelled me toward my ultimate passion: revolutionizing the HR tech landscape.

What is your work philosophy?

Dr. Arora: My approach to work revolves around three fundamental principles: Curiosity, innovation, and empowerment. I firmly believe in the power of continuous learning and pushing boundaries to develop transformative solutions. Collaboration plays a crucial role in this journey, as diverse perspectives enable us to tackle challenges more effectively. However, my ultimate focus is on empowering individuals and teams to unlock their full potential. It’s not just about leveraging technology to streamline processes but also about fostering a positive culture that encourages growth and excellence. This philosophy guides my actions, driving me to drive meaningful changes in the HR tech arena.

What are some of your recent successes?

Dr. Arora: At a prominent children’s hospital in the USA, Rajeev led the implementation of an ERP system, revolutionizing operations spanning HR, Finance, and Supply Chain. Our endeavors yielded significant efficiency enhancements and cost reductions. For instance, automating manual processes slashed payroll processing time from 2 days to 6-7 hours, saving roughly 1000 man-hours annually. Centralizing data storage cut $350k in database storage expenses, with an additional $250k saved yearly through the integration of the employee health module into the ERP system. I accomplished multiple items, e.g., I successfully implemented a couple of projects, out of which two major complex and critical projects were the Implementation of Total Reward and Implementation of Compensation for Merit Increase and the Annual performance evaluation project. Successful implementation of the Total Reward project is projected to save $1M for the organization in the next five years. Successful implementation of the Compensation project is projected to save $450K for the organization in the next three years. The successful implementation of an E-Performance project will help evaluate the performance of hospital employees across the year and will help save $320k in the next three years. I have also helped our business users implement best practices in HRIT.

What was your journey like to get where you are today?

Dr. Arora: My progression toward leadership in HR and Supply chain technology embodies a blend of continuous learning, adaptability, and fervor. Originating as a Software programmer specializing in PeopleSoft, I cultivated a profound comprehension of HR and supply chain applications and the transformative capacity of technology. Transitioning through diverse roles, my curiosity developed into a steadfast dedication to reshaping the HR and Supply chain domain. Over time, I have overseen digital metamorphoses within prominent enterprises, spearheaded the implementation of intricate technological solutions, and consistently championed innovation. Moreover, I have actively contributed to the broader HR and Supply chain community, gaining invaluable insights from diverse perspectives. It has been an arduous yet immensely gratifying journey marked by ongoing personal and professional development, alongside the fulfillment derived from effecting tangible change. My hunger for continuous learning and improvement helped me to become a better person and more knowledgeable than yesterday.

How do you stay motivated?

Dr. Arora: Remaining motivated is a dynamic journey encompassing various facets for me. The excitement of innovating technological solutions for business systems, coupled with witnessing their profound impact, serves as a driving force. I am inspired by the prospect of enriching the work-life dynamics for numerous individuals and teams worldwide. Engaging with diverse and talented teams and gaining insights from their perspectives fosters my commitment. Additionally, challenges encountered along the way present valuable opportunities for personal growth and development. Ultimately, the acknowledgment of our collective endeavors through tangible results and accolades serves as a poignant reminder of the meaningfulness of our contributions.

What are some goals you have yet to achieve?

Dr. Arora: My objective revolves around utilizing the capabilities of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to revolutionize HRIT and Supply Chain operations, particularly within the Healthcare and Finance sectors. I envision implementing novel strategies such as interactive job previews, virtual interviews and assessments, 360-degree virtual onboarding and performance evaluation, and immersive learning experiences, auto management of inventory and supply chain. These initiatives aim to redefine conventional approaches by providing prospective candidates with authentic job insights, facilitating diverse hiring processes, offering comprehensive virtual onboarding experiences, and enriching skills training through immersive learning platforms, automated supply chain processes, and tracking. By integrating AI into HR and supply chain practices, there is significant potential to elevate employee engagement and enhance overall experiences, and I am enthusiastic about pursuing this ambitious goal.

What is the best decision you’ve ever made?

Dr. Arora: The best decision I’ve made was to transition my career focus from general software engineering to specializing in HRIT and Finance & Supply chain systems. This shift, motivated by my interest in the intersection of technology and people management, has been transformative. It allowed me to recognize the potential of technology in enhancing HR processes and elevating employee experiences. Embracing this opportunity has enabled me to spearhead innovative projects, actively contribute to the HR community, and lead impactful digital transformations on a global level. This decision has not only enriched my professional journey but also affirmed its significance in shaping the trajectory of my career.

What is your definition of leadership?

Dr. Arora: The definition of leadership encompasses the ability to inspire, guide, and empower individuals or teams towards a common goal or vision. It involves setting a clear direction, making decisions, and taking responsibility for outcomes while effectively leveraging the strengths of each team member. A leader fosters an environment of trust, collaboration, and open communication, encouraging innovation and growth. Leadership also involves leading by example, demonstrating integrity, resilience, and empathy in both successes and challenges. Ultimately, a leader influences positive change, motivates others to achieve their full potential, and creates a supportive and inclusive culture conducive to success.

Who is your best mentor?

Dr. Arora: The manager who has had the greatest impact on my professional development was my initial supervisor when I began my career as a Software Programmer. His expertise in both people management and software development was truly remarkable. He instilled in me the importance of teamwork, effective communication, and the value of ongoing learning, significantly shaping my perspective on leadership. His problem-solving approach, which encouraged innovative ideas and respected the contributions of each team member, profoundly influenced my approach to work. Beyond being a manager, he served as a mentor and coach, nurturing my curiosity, facilitating my personal and professional growth, and sparking my enthusiasm for HRIT and Finance & Supply chain systems by using the latest technologies available at the time. His mentorship played a pivotal role in shaping my career trajectory, and his insights continue to serve as a source of inspiration for me.

What is one word that best describes you?

Dr. Arora: When asked to describe myself, I’d choose “Adaptable and flexible.” Throughout my career, I’ve encountered diverse challenges and environments, and my ability to adjust and thrive in these situations has been a consistent strength. Whether it’s learning new technologies, collaborating with different teams, or navigating unexpected changes, I approach each situation with flexibility and resilience. Adapting to new circumstances allows me to remain effective and resourceful, find innovative solutions and maintain productivity even in dynamic environments. This trait has not only helped me overcome obstacles but also enabled me to embrace opportunities for growth and development. As an adaptable individual, I believe I can contribute positively to any team or organization by bringing a versatile skill set and a willingness to embrace change.

What are some questions you want answered?

Dr. Arora: How advancements in technology can enhance the quality of human life compared to previous generations. Exploring the potential of cutting-edge technologies and creative innovations to improve human welfare, particularly in healthcare for enhanced well-being, finance for improved financial management, and social economics for more effective food distribution to ensure adequate sustenance for all individuals.

How do you learn?

Dr. Arora: I adopt a multifaceted approach to learning, combining formal education, hands-on experience, and continuous self-improvement. I regularly attend workshops, webinars, and industry conferences to stay updated with the latest trends in healthcare IT and ERP systems. Practical application is key for me; I learn by doing, which enhances my problem-solving skills.

I read industry publications, research papers, and books to stay informed about new developments. Networking with peers and industry experts provides diverse perspectives and valuable insights. Additionally, I utilize online learning platforms like Coursera and LinkedIn Learning to take courses on emerging technologies and soft skills.

Reflective practice is crucial; after completing projects, I assess what went well and identify areas for improvement. This self-assessment reinforces lessons learned and helps me continuously evolve in my profession.

Published by: Martin De Juan

(Ambassador)

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