Monday, May 20, 2013 | Home› Articles
#19 NTPC: In Pursuit of Power
India’s pursuit of power began on November 8, 1975, when it set up the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to accelerate power development in the country. Ever since the Government of India cleared NTPC’s first pithead super thermal power project on December 8, 1976 at Singrauli in Uttar Pradesh, there has been no looking back for NTPC. In the year 1997, it was identified as a Navratna in the public sector undertakings and moving ahead in November 2004, it became a listed company. Further, in May 2010, it became a Maharatna company, one of the only four companies to be awarded this status. NTPC, the largest power generation utility in India, is emerging as an ‘integrated power major’ with a significant presence in the entire value chain of the power generation business.
NTPC’s diversification began back in 2000 when it started off with its first hydro-electric power project in Himachal Pradesh. Apart from power generation, which is the mainstay of the company, it has successfully diversified into coal mining, power equipment manufacturing, oil & gas exploration, power trading & distribution, ash business, renewable energy, consultancy, and nuclear energy. In fact, with a target of developing 1,000 MW of power from wind and solar projects by 2017, NTPC is all set to play a major role in the renewable energy sector. With a current power generation capacity of 34,584 megawatts (MW), NTPC plans to increase its installed capacity to 75,000 MW by 2017 and become a 128,000 MW utility by 2032.
At NTPC, ‘People before Plant Load Factor’ (PLF) is the mantra that guides all HR related policies. It takes pride in its people and their performance. The company is committed to employees’ total well-being and believes that emotional well being is as critical as physical well-being. In order to meet employee aspirations in these changing times, HR systems in the company are continually renewed, based on employee feedback.
Building competence, commitment, culture and systems are the four building blocks on which their HR systems are based. They have well-defined measures in place for the selection process, which is monitored by the recruitment group. There are process metrics in place to measure the effectiveness of each process, such as accounting for number of applications received, total cycle time, percentage of turnout at entrance exam, cost per recruit, percentage of candidates filtered during GD, interview and medical examination, percentage of declared vacancies fulfilled and materialization rate of offers of appointment, to name a few. These matrices are crucial and have triggered many improvements in the past. For example, traditionally, the entire executive trainee recruitment process was manual, where applications were invited through posts, candidates were sent admit cards, examination centers were allocated to candidates in different cities where NTPC representatives used to go to conduct paper-pencil based exams and so on. The complete process has been made online in the last 8-10 years, making the recruitment process faster and has also significantly brought down the error rate.
There are various other initiatives that keep people at the center of all activities in order to create a culture of nurturing manpower. IPoN (Idea Portal of NTPC) is the company intranet that enables employees to submit their comments and suggestions for any function/department. ‘Stay interviews’ were carried out across 75 E5 (managerial) level executives to solicit employees’ feelings towards the company.
To ensure a culture of learning and development, NTPC encourages executives to form professional circles for knowledge dissemination, knowledge updating, etc., and further, they have institutionalized a three-tier competition amongst the ‘Professional Circles’. These circles, which were introduced as a novel initiative in the year 1997-98, have grown to about 300 active ‘Professional Circles’. Quality Circles (QCs) are an initiative to involve every grass-root level employee, where employees volunteer to take up improvement projects in their work areas. Annual contests are organized at project level, regional level and company level, in which QCs from across NTPC compete with each other. The winning team also gets a chance to participate in the international ‘QC Convention’. So far, they have seen participation from about 64 percent employees. Such activities ensure that NTPC’s large employee base continues to be a key driver of business and productivity.
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