Under the universe of MSMEs there is a large subset of family-owned businesses that struggle to scale and transform over different generations.
In the latest interview for #SMECorner, People Matters interviewed Aakanksha Bhargava, CEO, PM Relocations Pvt. Ltd, a second-generation entrepreneur, who drove the Gurugram-based packers and movers’ organisation that her dad began in 1986. Being born into a family of movers, she came to fall in love with this industry and wanted to create a distinct recognition for the brand. She traversed numerous urban areas and nations to furnish PMR with incredible levels.
In the interview, Aakanksha talks about putting a team together, taking business to greater heights, addressing the unique challenges of MSMEs sector and the new role that HR teams in MSMEs have to take.
What are some big challenges you faced while putting up a team together for your business? How did you overcome these challenges?
I believe for a business to begin and progress, there are several aspects that stand extremely important. And one of them includes having the right team by your side. The term ‘right team’ might mean different things for different people.
We often perceive it to be a group of well-versed people, professionals in the field, who have a great set of skills and unparalleled talent.
I believe the right team is the one that not only understands and works for the ultimate vision but also stays consistent in working for it, irrespective of all the highs and the lows.
In an industry like Relocations, it's already a really difficult task to make people understand what we do and where our legacy and expertise lie and why almost anybody who desires to move needs us. In such a case, gathering people who understand and work for the vision as dedicatedly has been a really hard time.
Additionally, establishing a sense of belonging within them towards the company had been an important factor too. However, living for at least one year in each major metro city of the country, establishing a branch in each of them, and hand-picking my team in whom I could see the commitment and dedication towards the company have helped me overcome all the challenges.
When I joined the business, we were a team of mere 45 employees but today, we are a proud team of about 600 PMRians working tirelessly to make global mobility seamless and hassle-free.
As your company continues to grow, how are you building a strong talent pipeline?
At PMR, we have always concentrated on building our people and focusing not only on their professional but also personal growth.
Our Learning & Development programs aim to cater to this aspect of our work culture. We take a quality-driven and value-centric approach to ensure that none of our customers or clients ever face a gap in our services and have a seamless moving experience every time they decide to choose us. To meet this objective, it is highly important to train our people from time to time and keep them well-equipped with the changing trends within the industry. The regular training sessions (such as the Warehouse Training & Port Training) have successfully been making sure of that.
Also, we hold monthly reviews and quarterly reviews with each department and team within our offices to ensure that we are aligned towards reaching our ultimate target for this financial year.
These review meetings not only ensure total productivity in the company but also help address the problems and concerns of our people to reach a conclusion that ultimately assists us in bettering ourselves as an organisation. This gives us the space to come up with some brilliant ideas and plan on executing them. Our employee engagement activities that are set especially keeping in mind the mental well-being of our people contribute to the growth as well.
As an MSME how have you redefined your employee experience journey?
Being an MSME, we might not always have people who come from top-notch universities and schools. But coming from diversified backgrounds, they all have one thing in common, that is, working selflessly for what they consider their own. And creating this sense of belonging in our people by keeping them at the heart of whatever we do has served as a major part of our work culture.
Our HR initiatives and employee engagement activities, which majorly focus on increasing the happiness index at the workplace and encouraging team spirit amongst our people, aid in redefining their work experience. Unlike any other relocation firm, our monthly calendars are filled with fun and exciting happenings with each month bringing something new to cherish and enjoy together as a united team.
At PMR, we also encourage quiet quitting, which for us means that our people are involved in projects and courses that enhance their skills and help them pursue their interests.
The Recreation Room is dedicated exclusively to all such activities that enable the workforce to take some time off and engage in leisure to re-energize and refresh their minds.
What are your key expectations from your HR team for the next year? How are you preparing your HR teams for emerging opportunities?
With the advancing times, we are also progressing as a company. In the last fiscal year, we made it to our first 100 Cr. mark and by the end of this year, we are expecting to doubly achieve what we did in the last year, i.e., the 200 Cr. mark.
The business is expanding and our growth plans are all set to take place as time takes its course. However, through this journey of ensuring a seamless experience for our clients and customers, often our people take the brunt over themselves by working and staying on the call 24*7, striving to make every single move successful and stress-free.
Therefore, the key expectation from the HR team is to make sure that none of our people feels unheard or left out. They are expected to be available to listen to people and address their queries. The HR department is to inculcate more and more exciting and fun activities from time to time in the event calendar.
They are to take necessary actions as and when required and grab every single opportunity to enable people in having a ‘great day’ at work.
What would be your one big piece of advice to all business and HR leaders of MSMEs?
All the HR Leaders out there already know that addressing the mental well-being of people is of extreme importance and an organisation must always ensure that.
If your workforce is not happy or doesn’t feel supercharged while heading towards work every morning, there is a chance to lose out on employee retention, a key aspect to ensure an organisation’s sustainability and progressive growth.
A workstation is a place where employees spend most of their time. It is essential that they feel recognised and valued here.
The management and HR department of every office must make all possible efforts in this direction.