So much so, that the founder's goal is to reach $1 billion in sales in less than ten years

Small Employer: ERPA

Srikanth Gaddam wants to take his company to the next level. And by next level, he means $1 billion in sales by 2025.

To put the people in place to help the Dublin information technology services firm reach that milestone (annual revenue was $86 million for 2018), he had to figure out a way to turn to the outside without disturbing a company culture that’s rooted in empathy, responsibility, passion and agility.

“ERPA has several key (employees) who have been with the company since inception and were responsible for the growth of the company,” the co-founder and CEO says. “However, to grow to the next level, we realized we needed outside resources with experiences from other companies.”

It took a few years to bring in and develop new talent that would foster a cultural shift and mindset focused on the $1 billion goal. Gaddam says he’s proud to say ERPA achieved this without harming a culture that was “built from the heart.”

The decision is part of Gaddam’s transformation over the past 20 years from a day-to-day leader to a strategic one. His job these days is to make sure his key people have the tools and training they need to do their jobs efficiently, while still inspiring them to align with the overall vision of the organization.

“At the time of inception, my leadership was more transactional and hands-on while collaborating with others for their input and feedback with the key decisions,” Gaddam says. “As we grew to over 50 employees, I realized I couldn’t manage alone and didn’t possess the skills required to take it to the next level.”

Gaddam, who is a big believer in continuing education, holds several postsecondary degrees and is currently pursuing a doctor of management at Cleveland-based Case Western Reserve University, a course he expects to complete in 2020.

His goal has been to empower others to run company operations while he continues to gain the knowledge that helps him focus on the bigger picture.

Gaddam also encourages and sponsors executives at ERPA to complete their MBAs and routinely supports others at the company with their professional training each year.

“Continuous education improves self-awareness,” he says. “Improving self-awareness goes beyond one’s own personal experiences and beliefs. It helps leaders make better decisions when opportunities and risks show up.”

Gaddam’s goals extend beyond revenue growth. He wants to make a bigger impact on the world, too, through social responsibility.

For the past 10 years, ERPA has been supporting 125 underprivileged children through World Vision, Plan USA and the Sphoorti Foundation. Gaddam says the goal is to boost the number of children the company is able to help to 500 by 2025.

To support its local community, ERPA launched a first responders fund to support children’s education through a partnership it established with the Dublin Community Foundation.

“We believe that the most powerful organizations are built from the heart and encourage all the employees to work on their strengths with a greater purpose, while practicing our core values in everything we do,” Gaddam says.

Manjusha Akkapeddi, a lead in the human resources department, says the company leadership believes in a family and entrepreneurial culture.

“United we stand as a family supporting each other in our passions and goals to be successful,” Akkapeddi says.

Laura Newpoff is a freelance writer.

Q&A with Srikanth Gaddam, CEO

What book are you reading now?
I am pursuing my doctor of management program at Case Western Reserve University. This program requires me to read hundreds of books and thousands of research articles over a period of three years. Outside of that, I am reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

What makes your company a great place to work?
The Golden Rule: “Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated” has always been our founding principle. We strongly believe everyone here has a purpose and everyone has meaning, and no one is better or more important than others. To maintain our employee-first and family culture, we must be humble and put ourselves in others’ shoes.

How do you empower your employees? Why is this important?
First, having the right people with the required skills in the right place is the key to success.

Second, we develop a plan with the key people in the organization toward alignment of “SMART” – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound goals, clarity of role and responsibility with key deliverables.

Finally, upon mutual agreement on goals, we empower employees to take charge and execute with complete authority while monitoring the progress on a monthly basis using our one-page strategic plan.

We also believe a true leader doesn’t need a fancy title or powerful hierarchal position. (Someone) who is running after (that) is either not competent or insecure. A responsible leader always believes in creating utmost value for an organization and its employees by serving them with selflessness.