Business Today

Electrifying Lives

BHEL's market dominant position and the many facilities it offers employees make it a great workplace.
Anilesh S. Mahajan        Print Edition: Aug 3, 2014
BHEL CMD BP Rao clicking a picture with colleagues
The Selfie moment: BHEL CMD BP Rao clicking a picture with colleagues. (Photo: Vivan Mehra)

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In 2012, Jagdish Tanwani followed his father's footsteps and joined state-run power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL). Tanwani, a mechanical engineer, had spent the previous 12 years with multinational companies in North America and Europe. Why did he join BHEL when he moved back to India? "BHEL was a natural choice for me. Among state-run companies, BHEL gives the most flexibility to work in different verticals," he says.

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Tanwani is one of several BHEL executives who get the opportunity to work in verticals other than their area of specialisation. B. Prasada Rao, BHEL's Chairman and Managing Director, says the company encourages engineers to take on various jobs, including finance and other unrelated fields. "We are okay if someone fails in his efforts. We encourage employees to take risks. We support them if they want to expand their horizons," he says.

The flexibility to work in different verticals is just one of several facilities that BHEL offers its 55,000 employees. The company also provides perks like accommodation, relevant training and adequate monetary compensation, and has a commanding reputation as the country's largest maker of power equipment. "These reasons are good enough to keep someone with BHEL," says Yogesh Chhabra, Deputy Company Secretary, who has been with the company for 18 years.

TOTAL EMPLOYEES
55,000

WOMEN EMPLOYEES
20 per cent

ATTRITION RATE LESS THAN
1 per cent

BHEL's dominant position and the career opportunities it offers make the company a good hunting ground for private players looking for talent. "BHEL allows you to work in challenging verticals even at the beginning of your career. In comparison, private players will only allow you to work on similar jobs after six to seven years of service," says P.R. Shriram, who worked with BHEL until his retirement in 2011 and is now a director at Bajaj Energy.

That BHEL is a great company to work for is reflected also in its attrition rate of less than one per cent. During his tenure Rao has laid special emphasis on strengthening the human capital. As demand for power equipment rose, BHEL expanded its manufacturing capacity and hired about 4,000 people every year in the past five to six years. This has helped BHEL ward off competition from private players as well as Chinese rivals.

Rao says BHEL also encourages women engineers by giving them opportunities to work in field postings.

Over the past year or so, the slowdown in the power sector has affected BHEL. The company has been going slow on recruitment, though its order book remains healthy and it still commands a market share of 72 per cent, says Rao. But he is identifying opportunity even in adversity. He says that, since the market is not doing well, this is a good time to invest in human capital. The company has been conducting various training programmes for employees to prepare them to work in the future, he says. Training is essential to maintain its leadership position in the power-equipment segment and to diversify into other sectors such as defence. "There are so many opportunities," says Rao. "If our people want to work, we are happy to help them out."

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