My Summer Internship, during the months of April and May was with Atos India Pvt. Ltd, the European leader in IT Services, as an HR Project Trainee. I choose to call this account of my summers as 'Tryst with the EVPs', because the word EVP resonates very much with various key aspects of the two months long internship period, creating a lot of moments to be remembered and cherished.
First exploring EVP as an abbreviation for Extremely Valuable Period, Summer Internship is a critical phase in life of any management student, irrespective of the organisation or discipline. It is a bundle of different value pointers namely Opportunity to learn through real time exposure, Sandbox to test the yearlong textual learning in actually relevant scenarios, Test drive of the prospective employees from the company’s point of view, Trailer to the organization’s work culture from intern’s point of view and more importantly, the key speaking point during the interview process of Final placements, if the happy 'PPO - Pre Placement Offer' ending doesn’t happen as expected. In preparing us for such a crucial period of our life, our seniors, alumni and professors all had come together at various instances to enlighten us through sessions of knowledge and experience sharing. Prof. Zubin Mulla, Head of Centre for HRM & LR of our institution gave us a perfect prelude to the two months long internship period by dealing in advance with a module called “Impression Management” from our third semester paper of “Power and Leadership in Organisations”. His advice on structuring our attitude and behaviour got me straightaway to the EVP mode, approaching it as an opportunity to learn a lot and also exhibit various professional skills.
Now, exploring EVP from the aspect of Employer Value Proposition, it was the key area around which both of my allotted projects operated around. I was given two projects broadly coming under the domains of Employee Engagement and Employer Branding respectively, EVP being the key determinant variable in both the cases. As said earlier, Learning should be the foremost motto in driving the entire internship period. Adhering to the same, to learn the EVPs of the organisation in detail, I took up approaches like referring research papers, benchmarking with peers, interviewing key stakeholders, surveying with a broad sample space and conducting dip stick studies with the target audience. This was an enriching experience in terms of knowing the nuances of not only the HR function but also at times the business relevance associated with it. When it comes to EVPs offered by internships, EXPOSURE is the BHAP – 'Big Hairy Audacious Proposition' standing over all other propositions namely stipend, benefits, attractive locations, PPO / PPI policies etc. It is one single essential element offered equally by all organisations, which should be utilised and leveraged by us in the best possible way.
There is another expansion for EVP called Executive Vice President, with which I’ll explain another essential aspect of my internship. Along with the learning opportunity through real-time exposure to the business and the organisation, there comes a precious chance to interact with various stalwarts of the industry waiting to share their insights with enthusiastic students coming for the internship. Of course, it is not that every other senior leader is looking forward for interested interns to approach them. By being proactive and completely observant of the workplace happenings, one day I was able to get into this crucial conversation with a senior employee in the level of EVP of the organisation which helped me a lot in giving a holistic view to my presentation. The conversation was nothing pre-planned; it was all because of the keen-eyed approach throughout the internship that I was able to land this opportunity in the seventh week. And equally valuable was a conversation that I had with a bottom line employee, who gave me a detailed glimpse of how the ground reality differed far from the perception of top level management on the policies and processes. The internship is the best time to make such crucial connects and conversations within the organisation as well as the industry in general.
An alternate way in which EVP gets expanded is Employee Volunteering Program, through which I’ll be explaining the recommendations that I had made in the final presentation made to the HR Head of the organisation. The common connection that I found between the projects helped me a lot in taking a combined approach and interpreting results accordingly. My project sponsors headed different verticals namely HR Business Partnership and Talent Acquisition respectively and this common connect was a worthy finding, giving a holistic perspective to the projects. My key recommendations for the Employee Engagement as well as the Employer Branding projects were based on proposing Employee Volunteering Programs – EVPs, which are completely employee driven initiatives, as the central theme around which the final presentation was built upon. Inculcating the intrinsic motivation in employees to involve voluntarily in such development initiatives for a greater cause in organisation’s favour is the key enabler in the success of various HR interventions. The students’ approach towards internship should be also completely proactive and voluntary without waiting or demanding external regulations or motivation from mentors, buddies or guides, which was exactly the approach that I had taken and helped me a lot.
One last way of expanding EVP is Electronic Voice Phenomenon, yeah you read it right, through which I’ll conclude this account, explaining other interesting aspects of my internship. EVPs in the field of Ghost Hunting or Parapsychology are basically sounds found on electronic recordings interpreted as spirit voices. I had one such encounter possibly with an EVP, when I was walking back to my hostel room around 1.00 am midnight after I had stayed back in the office until 11.45 pm and boarded the last bus to my residential location around 12.20 am. There was a strange crying noise rising from one corner of the lone dark road that I usually take to my hostel in daytime. I was completely terrified and hurried towards the bright main road without a moment of delay. Such EVP experiences can be often imaginary as well when your mind is completely engrossed with a single reverberating thought, as it was in my case. I was fully dedicated to the projects from the promotion of the brand in class WhatsApp group chats to the extent of adding organisational banners to social media profile pictures of mine. I would sit long hours after everyone left office, to read a lot about the business through various newsletters and presentations made available for departments other than HR. All of this obsession with the organisation and the internship project, made me experience this unique spooky EVP as well.
So, that’s how my summer internship revolved around EVPs giving me a taste of all possible ways of its expansion, most importantly two months of rich experiential learning, which in Japanese management terminology is called ‘Genba’. Internships should be always approached with learning as the key motive, and if done with utmost commitment and dedication, will automatically drive the aspired result of a perfect job offer, happening well in advance through a PPO or in a timely manner through the final placements process.