New Delhi: NTPC Ltd, Asia’s largest power generation company, has reversed its decision to attract former employees.
The utility has rejected the applications of 284 engineers who wanted to rejoin the organization, this after advertising for people who used to work for the company.
“We have decided not to take them back since we are already hiring aggressively every year and have got a better man to megawatt ratio than other utilities,” said a senior NTPC executive who did not want to be identified.
“We have no plans to take them back. We have our own talent pool which is capable of delivering our targets. We have been recruiting around 1,000 employees on a yearly basis, around 80% of our new intakes being engineers,” said NTPC human resources director R.C. Shrivastav.
India’s biggest utility has a current workforce of around 25,000 employees of which around 18,750 are engineers. NTPC, which has a power generation capacity of 31,134MW, plans to increase this to 75,000MW by 2017. To achieve this ambitious target, the company plans to recruit 7,000 people—of which around 5,600 will be engineers—by March 2012.
Even though the company has been losing engineers to private sector companies such as Tata Power Ltd, Reliance Power Ltd and Lanco Infratech Ltd, senior NTPC executives say they are happy to stay.
While public sector units (PSUs) are governed by standardized pay structures, which are not as attractive as those offered by the private sector, the Union government recently rewarded the five million people it employs an average salary raise of 21%.
Former executive director, human resources, G.K. Aggarwal had earlier told Mint that the utility was expecting 40-50 senior engineers to rejoin.
Attrition levels, however, are expected to rise once the private sector power projects are operational and they start seeking operations and maintenance engineers.
Fresh recruitments have curbed the need to get old employees back.
“Talent crunch was a concern some time back when a lot of senior executives from NTPC had moved to the private sector,” said Hitul Gutka, an analyst at brokerage India Infoline Ltd. “With the new talent coming in, the requirement of the old hands to come back has eased.”
NTPC returned a net profit of Rs7,827.40 crore on revenue of Rs42,182.40 crore in 2008-09. The government diluted 5% of its share in NTPC through a follow-on public issue last week that saw a muted response, bringing down its stake to 84.5% with investors bidding for 490.5 million shares compared with 412.3 million offered. The utility has received bids worth around Rs9,850 crore based on the floor price of Rs201 per share.
Any policy to recruit former employees has to be seen as fair, valuing both loyalty and competence, said Hema Ravichandar, a Bangalore-based strategic human resources advisor.
“Many reputed organizations have wooed back former employees. To succeed, this initiative should be part of a well-planned organizational recruitment strategy,” she said.
“It should proactively address the sensitive issue of just what kind of parity will exist between returning employees and those who have stayed back in the organization,” Ravichandar added.
Such a campaign should ensure that there is no nepotism or that employees who “separated in an unprofessional manner are not encouraged to return”, she said.