Cadila finds its new CHRO in RIL’s Sunil Singh

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Singh, who spent six years at RIL, quit as VP-HR, to join Cadila on August 27.

With over two decades of experience as an HR professional, Sunil Singh is set to join Cadila Pharmaceuticals as chief human resource officer on August 27, ending a six-year-long stint at Reliance Industries (RIL). Singh’s last held position at RIL was that of vice-president HR (head-Leadership Academy).

Calling it a natural progress, Singh is looking forward to newer challenges at Cadila Pharma, where he believes he has an opportunity to transform the HR function.

His challenge ahead will be to create a workspace that is engaged, attracts the young working population and gives them an appropriate platform to showcase their skills to the fullest.

‘We want to become one of the best employers in the pharma space. I want to help develop modern HR practices at Cadila and create a work environment, which attracts the millennials and provides them a nurturing and empowering culture, with opportunity for learning and growth. This requires a different approach,’ Singh tells HR Katha.

He adds that digitisation of HR, which he does not equate with automation, will be another challenge at Cadila.

A firm believer in the digital age, Singh is an advocate of digitisation of HR. According to him, digitisation should lead to creation of a more employee-centric system.

‘Employees should not have to navigate through multiple systems and must have a seamless experience working with HR in an organisation. Be it operations, talent management or compensation, an employee must get everything from a single platform. I want to help create an experience for employees, where they do not get trapped in a maze of multiple systems,’ says Singh.

Singh does not shy away from the fact that at the end of the day, HR is about humans and all about getting the best out of an employee. This requires the human touch. According to him, it is something that will only happen if employees are engaged; no amount of automation or mechanisation will help.

‘I believe 99 per cent of the people are good. Give them their space, believe in people’s capabilities and they will create magic. I will continue with this belief in Cadila as well,’ he says.

Singh speaks of his experience at RIL fondly. He joined Reliance Industries in 2012 as head of talent management – E&P. Earlier this year, Singh was handed the mandate to lead the Leadership Academy at RIL. The role required him to define and execute the approach to the development of executive education and core leadership capability, within RIL.
Always the one to acknowledge his team’s contribution, Singh gives a lot of credit to the leadership of seniors, such as P. Sakthivet, Prabir Jha, David Selchen and Ashwani Prashara. He gratefully admits that his team helped RIL change the way it looks at HR completely.

‘I have seen Reliance changing. It happened because a lot of people helped lead it through a huge transformation. In terms of employee practices, simple things, such as going from a six-day (week) to a five-day; facility of six months’ maternity leave even before the law was enacted; and recruitment of a lot of millennials, are all major changes and big achievements,’ he says.

‘Today, Reliance HR stands at a stage where it is comparable to any leading MNC. In many areas, it has gone ahead as well,’ adds Singh.

An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS), Singh has worked with companies, such as Mineral Exploration Corporation, Sasken Communication, Gulf Oil and Punj Lloyd in the past. He also holds a doctorate in Organisational Behaviour (OB) and HR from IIM-Bangalore.

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