“Guardians Of Culture & Custodians Of Human Capital”

Surabhi Singhal, DGM - HR, India (Softlines and Hardlines) and Mauritius, Intertek India, shares her understanding of the role and responsibilities of HR


What is your vision for HR profession, and what transformative role can it play in the success of a company?  

HR as a function has an opportunity to have maximum impact on success of an organisation. As the guardians of culture and custodians of human capital, HR wields unparalleled potential. Even a marginal enhancement in people performance, within the purview of HR, can trigger a cascading effect of exponential proportions for an enterprise. I imagine HR function as navigator in a vehicle, maneuvering through corporate landscape, with agility and flair. Just as a navigator anticipates the twists and turns of the road, HR preps the organisation for potential bumps and accelerates on the stretches of smoother terrain.

Armed with digital savviness and, data-driven insights and a passion for nurturing the human element of the organisation, HR helps steer the vehicle through necessary changes ensuring that journey is not only seamless but also enjoyable.

How did you get interested in the HR field, and what have been some major milestones in your journey?  

While working as software developer with leading IT MNCs, I was fortunate to be part of organisation led community engagements. The experience ignites a realisation of the difference and impact one can make by giving opportunity to human potential to flourish. It motivated me to go for formal HR education and then embarking on a fulfilling journey. I completed MBA from SIBM Pune and then joined Hindustan Coca-Cola as management trainee. The organisation provided a great learning environment for partnering with business while leading HR function for Commercial vertical; I later moved to Internal HR for HCCB’s bottlers in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. As my next opportunity, I joined Boston Scientific as Talent Acquisition and HRBP for commercial organisation and later taking responsibility of business partnering R&D and commercial organisations. In my current role with Intertek, I along with my team, am helping to create an engaged, inclusive and high-performance organisation. 

Kindly share some path-breaking initiatives by your team in brief. 

My approach to making a meaningful impact has always centered around the notion that the most impactful initiatives aren't necessarily groundbreaking but rather rooted in the fundamentals, executed and sustained with purpose. Across diverse organisational landscapes, my teams have spearheaded impactful brand-building exercises, championed talent agendas, and navigated transformative HR journeys in various geographies.

Initiatives such as enhancing managerial capabilities, orchestrating succession planning, and fostering talent development have been pivotal in driving HR outcomes. Furthermore, our commitment to cultivating a versatile workforce has led to initiatives promoting multiskilling, while a robust onboarding programme has ensured a strong foundation for every new chapter in our organisational journey. 

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