People Management in SME’s: Interview Milind Padole, CEO & MD ARAPL

Tell us something about ARAPL?

We started ARAPL in 2005 as a proprietary concern then formally converted it into Pvt Ltd in 2010. Affordable Robotic & Automation Ltd. ARAPL is leading the automation world for more than a decade serving in Automotive, Non-automotive, General Industries, and also in Government sectors. Our revenues are close to 15 Mn USD. ARAPL has 250+ employees and the average age of employees in our company is 26 years. We are located in PAN India with a manufacturing base at Pune. We also have our channel partner’s offices in Brazil & Shanghai.

Compared to large organizations, SME’s still need to streamline their HR function. So, being an SME, what role does HR play in your organization?

HR plays a key role in developing, reinforcing, and changing the culture of an organization. Pay, performance management, training & development, recruitment & onboarding and reinforcing the values of businesses are all essential elements of business culture covered by HR.

What’s your biggest challenge in SME’s when it comes to people management? How do you counter it?

The biggest challenge in SMEs is to attract good talent and retain them. We also face the same problems. To retain our top management, we have recently declared ESOP programmed for the top 10% of employees. This will give our top management a handsome pay package every year which will be equivalent to their salaries if they perform as per their KRAs.

How do you prefer to communicate with your team to assign responsibilities to them?

We have fixed KRA’s for all levels. Their performance is monitored on these KRA’s. I review the progress with all Directors once a week.

What kind of leadership do you follow? What are some of the ways in which you manage your team?

As a team leader, I like to engage with my team and talk about the work we are doing and we have done, and how we can improve ARAPL. I do have created ARAPL but without the team, ARAPL would have not reached here, where it is today. I like to spend my time strategizing future growth and new product designing. As a listed company I like my team to work independently without much of my influence in daily working so that the whole process is transparent and managed by professionals.

Any suggestions for people venturing into entrepreneurship?

People should work in similar industry domains before they want to start a venture. There will be a lot of change in the whole ecosystem in the coming decade; one should start venturing into these new ecosystem technologies.

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