Article: We use HR tech to understand our people better: Sahil Vora, Founder, SILA

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We use HR tech to understand our people better: Sahil Vora, Founder, SILA

"We use Keka for employee life cycle management and the data from the solution helps us understand our people better," Sahil Vora, Founder, SILA.
We use HR tech to understand our people better: Sahil Vora, Founder, SILA

SILA is a homegrown fast-growing real estate company. Most recently, it has expanded its business with the big acquisition from the Shapoorji Pallonji Group. SILA, has acquired Forbes Facility Services from the Shapoorji Pallonji Group in an all-cash deal.

With this acquisition, SILA’s Facilities Management services business will strengthen its presence in North India and widen its service offerings, to include Catering. The combined entity is expected to clockover Rs. 600 crores in revenue this year.

In an interview with People Matters Sahil Vora, Founder, SILA shares how they are investing in talent to scale their business and leveraging HR technologies like Keka to make impactful people decisions. 

What were your three biggest strengths that have helped you build and scale SILA to become one of the larger homegrown real estate platforms? 

SILA has grown from strength to strength over the past decade. A dynamic and enjoyable work culture with importance given to efficient management of our employees, who are at the core of all our operations has helped us scale and grow into the real estate platform we are today. At SILA, we value our biggest assets, our people. We now have a workforce of over 16,000 employees and have taken several steps to give back to our employees for all their hard work and dedication throughout the years.

Here's what worked for us:

Proactiveness – Constantly challenging the status quo in an industry that was already very large and established. We were able to catch the trend of the real estate sector moving from unorganised to organised relatively early on and that’s one reason why SILA has been able to scale the way it has. 

Nurturing and developing deep relationships – With both founders - Rushabh Vora and I coming from non-real estate backgrounds, we, early in our careers, realised the importance of relations. On our journey, we have learned from and been assisted by a lot of people in building this business, their teams, vendors, suppliers, and clients. Nurturing and developing these relationships is something that has helped SILA scale. 

High level of compliance and corporate governance – This is an industry that is often seen in a negative light when it comes to corporate governance. Real Estate is what we believe to be one of the largest industries and one of the largest employers in the country. Being fully transparent with a very high level of compliance and corporate governance is a differentiator for SILA and something that we strongly believe is the risk mitigator in scaling any business.

Taking care of employees - In addition to adhering to compliances and providing all the statutory benefits, we have set up a foundation called the 'SILA for Change Foundation' that focuses on educating the children of our unskilled workforce. We strongly believe in the power of education, and our endeavor is to make education accessible to as many families as we can via our foundation.

As you acquire new businesses and expand your team, how do you ensure synergy between new and old talent? 

SILA made its first large acquisition in the last quarter and what we’re doing initially to ensure that the integration is seamless and synergistic is respecting the business and team that we have acquired and the experience they bring in. We are introducing things that we have been successful at and allowing them to learn and implement similar practices from the way we’ve built our business.

It’s a collaborative approach – the teams we acquire have more experience than SILA in the industry but we bring a proactive fresh mindset that we are trying to inculcate across the spectrum.

We believe in giving space to learn and we are implementing the same, trying to strike the right balance and create a win-win for all. 

What are your current talent priorities? 

The people make the company – it’s the single most important KPI as founders and promoters to attract, retain and motivate talent. It is something that is always a priority, not just a current priority. We are constantly looking for people who are better than us at different functions and areas of the business. We realise that the journey of scaling from 0 to 100 is very different from scaling beyond that.

Currently, we are a good group of talented senior management and large strong proactive teams and we are looking at growing the same. We are constantly on the lookout for good-quality intrapreneurs – people who can build businesses and teams within SILA.

How are the expectations from HR teams in real estate business shaping? 

In a business like ours, the whole lifecycle of recruiting, training, retaining, and retraining is crucial.

Across our businesses, it's incredibly important to focus on each part of the cycle from recruitment and retention to training our people.

The HR team spends a significant amount of time in each of these facets to make sure that each person within SILA is growing thus subsequently growing and benefiting the company. 

What are some technologies SILA is exploring to hire, engage and manage talent?

We use off-the-shelf software like Keka (for employee life cycle management) and ZOHO (for recruitment).

Using data and analytics from these solutions we create our own dashboards in order to analyse information about our people.

We have also built software called SILA Connect, which is our internal ERP system. This not only tracks what is going on at our offices across India but also at the 1000+ locations where we are managing and servicing clients. So overall, it’s a mix of our proprietary software and some great software available in the market that we are using to analyse data on the HR front. 

Our entire onboarding, attendance, leaves and payroll are managed on Keka. It aids us in ensuring statutory compliance and streamline our workforce management.

It’s a centralised platform where all the employee-related personal, educational and professional data is made available in an organised manner that helps us with our HR Analytics and MIS.

Keka helps us do a detailed study on the employee demographics and take timely and relevant decisions on employees during their journey with the organisation.

The Keka app helps employees to feed and access data remotely, which makes it user-friendly.

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Topics: Technology, HR Technology, #SMEcorner, #HRTech

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