The transmission sector will be thrown open to new entities as it reforms, this will impact the people we need, the training we provide
V.M. Kaul, Director Personnel, POWERGRID, talks about the challenges of employee retention and knowledge management in the fast growing Power Sector
POWERGRID is growing at the rate of 25% per annum, both in terms of top line and bottom line. How does this influence manpower plan-ning and what are your sources of talent?
POWERGRID has been growing at a very fast pace. Our planned capacity addition both in physical and financial terms in the next five years is more than what we have achieved in the last fifteen years. We are working in new technologies of 1200KV AC & +/- 800 KV HVDC which are pioneer technologies in the world. This growth of course influences our manpower planning. To build and operate our state of the art power systems and Load Dispatch Systems we are hiring young professionals and training them to meet the challenges.
Human Resource Development, talent retention and knowledge management are going to be our major challenges in the next five years. We need to build competencies and systems to surpass our targets in the most cost effective and timely manner. Being a public listed company we also need to deliver values to stakeholders like investors, customers, vendors, employees towards shaping behavior and enhancing stakeholder value.
Tell us more about your training initiatives both on technical and general management front. How do you internally track the effectiveness of such training programs?
We have to give our employees wide exposure to functional, behavioral and managerial best practices to meet the challenges on the technology front as well as the competition that will grow in the future through private sector participation in transmission.
In an industry where talent is scarce, how do you retain your best performers?
Retaining our talented personnel is a challenge, which we have been addressing through better compensation packages, job enrichment, delegation and a challenging work environment. We plan to develop an HR vision and roadmap to enthuse, motivate and empower our human resource to meet the challenges as we move towards becoming the largest and most efficient transmission utility in the world from the present no. 3 position and to make HR a strategic business function of the organization.
What are the future trends in your industry and how do those affect your Human Resources Management?
The future trends in transmission is going towards automated and remote controlled sub-stations, development and operation of a smart grid, bulk transmission of power through higher voltage levels, to reduce the Right-of-Way, use of multi-circuit and tall towers with high capacity conductors and extensive use of IT and IT enabled systems for running the super grid as a single synchronous grid across the whole country. Greater inter-connection with all the neighboring countries and a growing electricity power market are other emerging challenges. The transmission sector would be thrown open to new entities as it unbundles and reforms, with greater emphasis on new and renewable resources of energy. This of course will have an impact on the people we need, the training we provide and the different HR initiatives.
Can you tell us more about your career progression thus far?
I graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from IIT, Delhi in 1973 and subsequently completed my MBA. My first job was with Engineers India Limited in the Inspection & Procurement Division handling refinery, petro-chemical and fertilizer projects. My association with the Power Sector started in 1979, when I joined NTPC as it was being set up for establishment of super thermal power projects in the Central Sector. My association with NTPC lasted for 23 years before I joined POWERGRID in 2002 to set up Joint Venture transmission projects. In fact I was involved in setting up the first inter-state transmission line through a joint venture with Tata Power which was successfully completed in August, 2006. This JV project was hailed as a model PPP Project having received financial support from IFC & ADB along with SBI and IDFC on project recourse basis.
The Power Sector experience has been very challenging and rewarding on account of the power sector going through many policy changes, introduction of new technologies and accelerated growth due to gap in supply and demand.
How would you define your Management Style?
My management style is open and participative but I also keep tabs on schedules and targets. I believe in innovating and taking up new assignments as repetitive and routine activities offer very little scope of creativity.