In an exclusive interview with Outlook India, Mr Siraj Saiyed, Director of ARETE Group talks about the journey and the challenges faced by the group during the pandemic. He also shared certain insights that the group is taking for the employee wellness during the crisis.
Please tell us about ARETE Group’s 30 years journey to become a business conglomerate.
The ARETE Group established in 1990, is a diversified business conglomerate with a significant presence in a wide array of segments like industrial parks, retail, hospitality and investments. There are innumerable business success stories to take inspiration from, but there is something special about the ARETE group’s journey. Armed with a strong vision and an impeccable set of skills, ARETE established ITC Fortune Park at Vapi in 2000. Despite major accomplishments in Real Estate and Hospitality Industry, the ARETE group always moves from one domain to another. From Real Estate and Hospitality to Industrial Park, and even retail and Investments, we never rest on its laurels. This desire to evolve and innovate has helped ARETE grow rapidly. Not sticking ourselves to any particular industry, we introduced “Legend Square” and “Chere” as our own brand in 2004 & 2020 respectively.. Another announcement we recently made for the launch of our dream project “PIP” (Payal Industrial Park) at Dahej.
Holistic growth of an individual, society and economy is something that always drives our focus. Focusing on the overall growth of the organisation and the team, we make sure that each one of us are intact with ethical values. Honesty, hard work, discipline, patience with an independent thought process and work ethics have been the core values of ARETE Group. Focusing on overall growth of the organisation and the team, we make sure that each one of us is intact with ethical values.
What are the company’s goals for the next year?
The Vision at ARETE is very clear to each one of us. We always aspire to create a strong, sustainable and ideal framework for businesses that add value to all our stakeholders involved. We as a team have always envisioned to build a portfolio of super companies across different sectors.
Some of the goals that we plan to achieve in the upcoming years in respective business verticals:
• Keeping in mind the upliftment of Industrial sector, we envision to create a World Class Industrial Park at PIP (Payal Industrial park), Dahej-Gujarat within a sustainable ecosystem for the economic & competitive advantage of industries.
• In the residential segment, we are shouldering the responsibility of our honourable PM in building homes for affordable segment. We believe to give a better life to people & for us home is not just four walls, it’s more than that. Generally in affordable segment there is a lack of any feature but we do provide amenities like Kid’s play area, sports courts such as volleyball and badminton, Gym, Gardens etc. in a gated society.
• We intend to create a retail destination in Tier 2 & 3 cities on the model of Galaxy High Street. Our second retail centre – Galaxy Emporia will soon see the light.
• 86% of global footwear consumption is of non leather by volume is India. We launched our Women Footwear Brand “ Chere” with an aim to bring latest fashion trends in Indian Market. And want to set an example by introducing women footwear fashion in India, was the legacy of European countries.
What are the new leadership traits that you have observed during the pandemic?
It is correctly said that, Leadership is an action not a position. It is the pandemic that has however accelerated the entire workplace culture. Ownership and Leadership are the traits that were visible amongst our team members during this tenure. The team members grabbed on their roles and adhered to the responsibilities. COVID has accelerated the remote work options. Interest in the psychological construct of resilience has grown significantly in the team. Trust is another factor which gained over the time among each other. Moreover, the pandemic pushed onto work allocation based on the core competencies of the individuals thus increasing on the productivity while working from home. In fact during pandemic, we fought and faced this adversity & sustained for the business growth together.
How does the working model look like for ARETE Group currently and how are you reinventing the workplace?
“Live your life to the fullest” is what we sternly believe. We just need a chance to have celebrations at our workspace. Team building activities and a focus on healthy competitions amongst team members is primarily focused on.
Open work culture and giving liberty to each & every employee is something that we are emphasising on to keep the environment positive and productive. Team work is something that drives all the strength. In our organisation we give freedom to individuals not just to lead their teams but also to take the entire onus of the projects they are working on. Each one of us are capable enough to take decisions catering to our sphere of work which in a way boosts our confidence and enhances our experience.
How has ARETE Group been coping with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis? How the company ensuring people is stay motivated and committed to common goals during pandemic while navigating multiple priorities?
We at ARETE group have been very much concerned towards our employees. It is during the pandemic that we maintained the trust towards our people and thus we made sure that they are retained throughout. So, during the pandemic when even big corporates were in adverse situation, At Arete – no employee left us or felt unsecured about his/her job. During Pandemic, we make sure that employees & their family health remain intact. In fact, to boost up the morale of the employees & empower them, we made a group of young brigade in the organisation known as “Rising Stars”, where they could share their thoughts/ideas directly to the management. We focused on health and wellness of our employees by getting them engaged in some or the other extracurricular activities.
What is ARETE Group’s recipe for employee wellness and an inclusive workforce?
Active and maximum participation of the employees and the management across all functional levels helps ensuring employee wellness. Some of the factors we make sure are taken care of are in house employee health check-ups, gender equality and ensure more participation of women employees in decision making.
We always make sure that we enjoy work, along with the work. Some of the recent instances have been where we organised one of the biggest corporate cricket tournaments in Vapi. Be it a day to celebrate Women’s Day or any festival like that of Diwali, we make sure that fun is not missed. It is not just the activities in the office we focus on, we regularly conduct outdoor activities for our employees like trekking and camping.
Do you see anyone from the corporate, industry or business world as your inspiration?
We at ARETE do see corporates with a philanthropic attitude towards their employees as our inspiration. Be it new age entrepreneurs or industrial house do act as our inspiration. We always aspire and willing to contribute towards the nation’s growth and contributing towards Indian economy. The new age entrepreneurs are not just filled with enough zeal but are also pacing towards success with their innovative ideas. It is with our approached that we believe in liveability and contribution towards the society too.