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Bangalore-bound, but still inside Intel

Anjali Prayag

Bangalore , May 7

R2HC is catching on at Intel's US offices. And no, the abbreviation does not indicate a new technology or a next generation product. It's the company's HR programme enticing international hires to return home.

The Return To Home Country (R2HC) programme, which was kicked off in September 2003, already has seen 150 Indian families reconnected with the country. Encouraged by the Indian response, the company is planning a similar programme for its Chinese and Russians employees in the US.

Speaking to Business Line, Mr Richard Taylor, Vice-President, Finance and Enterprise Services, HR, Intel Corporation, said, "In terms of numbers, we are expecting the same kind of response from these two nationals as well." The R2HC is also a hard-to-refuse offer because most of the targets are in the 10 to15 years' experience category. "Having experienced the American lifestyle for a decade or more, they're missing home too," according to Mr S.R. Manjunath, South Asia HR Director, Intel Technology India Pvt. Ltd.

There were two reasons to start the International Local Hire programme, explained Mr Taylor. "One is to hire hard-to-find skills in India, and the other to identify and provide an opportunity to Indian nationals, who wish to relocate to their home country." In the process, the company is achieving two more objectives: To increase the depth of knowledge in India and to bring the Intel corporate culture into its India office.

In fact, this programme has helped the company overcome one of the main challenges it faces in India: "The challenge here is to integrate people into the company as soon as possible. The International Local Hires bring the Intel culture here making it easier for us," says Mr Manjunath.

In some cases, where the company cannot find skills within the company, Indian talent from other companies in the US has been engaged.

On whether the programme has resulted in a cost-cut for the company because of a lower salary factor in India, Mr Taylor commented, "Compensation to these employees remains competitive even on transfer. In fact, the R2HC programme drains us quite a bit because of relocation issues. It is an expensive programme."

Asked about the backlash issue and the company's stand on the matter, Mr Taylor was categorical, "We have not had any massive reductions. We have explained to our US employees that the action will be where the growth is, where the skills are and where the markets are." For many years, the US market commanded a huge chunk of the revenue pie, but now 70 per cent of the company's revenue comes from overseas markets, he explained, adding, "We will invest wherever it will benefit the company, the stockholders and the intellectual talent."

Talking of focus areas for hiring in India, Mr Taylor's opinion was: "Intel India is a microcosm of all the skill sets we need, like chip design, micro process design, enterprise design and circuit design." Intel India now has 1,800 employees and plans to take the number to 3,000 by next year, he said.

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