- Snehal Mantri, Director-Marketing & HR, Mantri Developers Pvt Ltd
A dynamic leader, pioneer of innovations and a visionary - these are just some of the ways Snehal Mantri, Director-Marketing & HR, Mantri Developers Pvt Ltd, is described by her colleagues and co-workers and the industry at large. Each epithet is richly deserved! A student of home science, Mantri demonstrated innate business acumen right after marriage when she joined her father-in-law in his stock-broking business in Pune. After relocating to Bengaluru in 1999, she was keen on pursuing a professional career and decided to join her husband in his fledging real estate venture. Since 1999, when Mantri Developers began its journey, Mantri has been at the helm of affairs, overseeing the initiation of new projects and nurturing long-lasting relationships with customers and investors alike.
Her expertise in marketing has helped define and execute numerous growth strategies that were instrumental in elevating the brand to a position of industry leader. Mantri also spearheads the complete human resource function of the company. Over the past 16 years, her business and personal skills have won her respect and recognition across the industry.
She elaborates upon her journey and current role in conversation with SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN.
Tell us about your journey.
Since 1999, when Mantri Developers began its fascinating journey, I have been at the helm of affairs overseeing the company´s marketing strategies, initiation of new projects and nurturing long-lasting relationships with customers and investors alike. I have come to believe that when we work with passion and dedication, success follows. I have constantly attempted to explore new boundaries and push my limits. My journey at Mantri has been quite an eventful one. It is a continuous learning process where each challenge has strengthened my skills. More than anything, I believe that dedication, passion and commitment towards work are essential. We earn recognition through the work we do. Each day is a day of learning and, over the years, I have learnt the lessons of life from our customers as well as my colleagues.
What sustains your interest in the real-estate sector? Please introduce us to your current role as director-marketing and HR for the company.
Real estate, unlike any other sector, is unpredictable. Keeping pace with the constant dynamism is a challenge in itself. But there is not a single monotonous day at work; each day is new and each day you explore a new approach. Currently, my pivotal role revolves around defining and executing several growth-driven strategies that are instrumental in elevating the brand to the position of an industry leader. Alongside, I am also involved in the conception, planning and development of new projects. I have focused on every aspect of marketing at Mantri, right from the concept and planning stage all the way to overseeing sales and even ensuring smooth functioning of the after-sales process. We have also established a separate division, PropCare Facility Management, which continues the Mantri experience to our customers even after possession of their homes. Most of my efforts have focused on building a credible brand image for Mantri Developers. Some of my innovative ideas that have received significant recognition include the Mantri Corp App, Augmented Reality, Video Chat, Digital Kiosk, interactive mannequin, etc. Additionally, I have conceptualised Home Concierge, Telemedicine, Smart Homes, the Mantri Insignia Loyalty Program, Smart Lady, etc.
Speaking from your 16 years of experience, where does the real challenge lie for you?
There are two challenges that I have dealt with over the years. First, real estate is predominantly a male sector; second, this is probably the most unorganised sector. There is a need for top-class training on business theories and on-the-job practical exposure. The sector lacks a well-defined performance management system that supports and integrates the organisation´s strategic goals with measurable employee objectives, employee appraisal and compensation planning. At Mantri, we have implemented a performance management system that ensures that every employee´s behaviour and goals are aligned with the organisation´s strategy.
Additionally, the sector has to work towards encouraging women to explore their potential by introducing several special provisions providing flexi working hours and work-from-home options. At the same time, they must be encouraged to overcome professional challenges by ensuring equality and security at the workplace. During my time at Mantri, my initiatives have been focused on brining a sense of discipline and definite structure to the work culture and environment. In this aspect, I have also implemented several measures to introduce a regulated work environment, encourage talents and build potential talents through internal training.
What are the recent trends adopted by real estate firms as a marketing exercise? How do these help in generating sales?
The market is steady and growing towards high quality and timely delivery. Projects below Rs 1 crore are moving fast and flexi promotions for the customers are encouraging them to invest today. It is difficult to invest in an ongoing project and simultaneously go for rental cost. Reduction of interest rate is also helping the customer take the decision at the earliest.
The most attractive and fastest closure of the decision is the 20:80 scheme.
As director of HR, how do you strategise to ensure a healthy work culture, productivity and healthy competition within the company?
I have created a well-defined HR policy that understands and addresses all the issues faced by employees. We have a well-developed and laid out grievance addressing process that encourages employees to share their grievances with the management. The employees also have the provision of discussing their issues with the reporting officer or the HR team and can register on the online portal. Every month, the HR team visits all the sites or branches to understand the grievances by conducting open forums and one-on-one meetings. Cross-functional team meetings are also conducted to address inter-functional conflicts. The company believes these practices will help build employee confidence and assure them that their voice is heard.
How have you leveraged green practices through the HR and marketing departments?
Most of the projects have ecologically sustainable features with strong emphasis on environmental management and safety standards. Mantri Developers is the first real estate company to receive the international standard Integrated Management System (IMS) certification for its commitment towards quality, environment, occupational health and safety and social accountability.
How do you juggle between your roles at work and home?
Perseverance has been my mantra. Fortunately for me, my husband and children have been really supportive and have enthusiastically encouraged all the ventures I have undertaken. And my extended family - the Mantri employees - has always encouraged me to perform and reach a higher level. My passion and ability to prioritise help me to balance my work and personal life. I am a proud mother of two grown-up children who are also involved in the business; they are a big part of my success. When I get the opportunity, I like to spend time with my family and friends. I also enjoy travelling, singing and swimming. The best stress-buster is my dog, Tyson! He´s a boxer.
What would you describe as your strengths that have enabled your success?
There are two primary criteria to succeed professionally: One is to accept criticism; the other is to be open to learning, listening to others and, eventually, doing what is right. Efficiency in work is possible through proper delegation and productive utilisation of time. Like every other woman, I too have attempted to strike a work-life balance without compromising on work or my personal life.
What is your message for women who wish to enter this industry?
The most important thing is to believe in yourself. The first step to achieve your goal is self-confidence. Tackle all odds to realise your goals and focus on dreaming big and initiating innovations.
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