An Interview with Surendra Singh – 10 Year Work Anniversary

Surendra Singh is Director – HR and OD at Shakti. He specialises in organisational design, leadership development, talent management, change management and employment law. He is a certified Coach from the Neuro-Leadership Institute and a martial arts expert.

When did you join Shakti? What has your role been like?

I started working at Shakti in July 2012.  Initially I joined as Head – Human Resources. My role has evolved over a period of time. Today, I lead and manage human resources, organisational development, IT and administrative functions.  I spend a substantial amount of my time meeting with the Shakti team a.k.a our climate warriors on strategy, operations and business.

As you look back, what big goals did Shakti achieve from when you started to now?

I joined Shakti in its initial years. At the time, Shakti was one of the few institutions in India solely dedicated to developing good policy solutions for renewable energy and energy efficiency action in India.

Over the last decade, I’ve watched  the institution grow as thought leader and credible voice of information for policy and decision makers.

Also, I think just seeing the expansion of the organisation has been interesting. When I first started there were only about a handful of employees in a small office in New Delhi. Now, I am working as part of a strategic 50+cross cutting team in addition to our many partner organisations and donors.

You have been a critical part of the foundation of Shakti and also an important building block in its subsequent growth. Please share with us your key contributions to the growth of the organisation. 

In the beginning, it was difficult to source good talent since we had just recently set up operations and brand Shakti was new in the job market.  We offered competitive pay, benefits and recognition programmes. We started our employer branding exercise with renowned thinks tanks and CSOs like TERI, NPTI, SPA and CEPT and sourced interns from these institutions. Through this, we were able to create a talent pipelining to fulfil the organisational need of talent at the entry level.

In the middle and senior level, we invested in leadership development through regular learning and development programmes with the Bridgespan Group, FranklinCovey and Dale Carnegie.

We also set up HR systems and processes to recruit, induct, reward and retain high performing individuals. The performance management and evaluation system that we have set up is very comprehensive and consistent for reward, recognition and feedback.

What’s kept you working at Shakti all these years?

There are so many factors. One is Shakti’s organisational culture which is focused on inspiring trust, empowering people and helping them to unleash their potential. At Shakti, everyone brings something to the table. Their  skills, knowledge, and experiences are valued and honed.

Also, the work that Shakti does is inspiring. I definitely want to see a better and more sustainable future for me and the next generations, and Shakti’s commitment to creating this future is unwavering. The collaborative nature of our work means that I have broadened my knowledge and horizons a lot. And lastly, I appreciate my work family very much.

Where do you see Shakti in the next 5 years?

Definitely growing in terms of looking at cutting edge research and policy solutions and fostering global collaborations.