EVP: Employee Value Proposition

When you get hired or hire someone for a job, it’s fairly common to hear about a job description.  It might be given under any number of names:  Key Results Areas (KRAs), Key Objectives (for an MBO, managing by objectives system), etc.  A job description, written or not, is what is expected of you or the new employee regarding what needs to be done.  This is the essence of the work related to the job.

What about, though, external expectations that aren’t a part of the job description?

If you are working for a big law firm in NYC this might include “you really should plan to work 6, 15 hour days minimum.  If you don’t bill at least 300 hours per month you won’t likely be here very long.”  At some workplaces you might be expected to work Saturdays during certain times of the year (think a tax accounting firm during February-April).  Some places have an expectation that all staff members give to a certain charity, or take part in certain community events.

These are expectations, spoken or not, that live outside of the job description.  We refer to these expectations as an Employee Value Proposition (EVP):

The EVP refers to the collective array of programs that an organization offers in exchange for employment. It is also referred to as the employment deal. The EVP defines the give and the get between company and worker, encompassing every aspect of the employment experience — from the organization’s mission, purpose and values, to its jobs, culture and people, to the full portfolio of its total rewards programs.  (Towers Watson)

Tomorrow, a good part of my HR module will be talking about an EVP for our various organizations.  The homework going into tomorrow’s class was to interview at least one employee and ask the following questions:

  1. When you chose to come to work for our organization, what were the benefits (both tangible and intangible) that you were happy about?  How have your views changed now – what benefits are most valuable to you?
  2. When you chose to come to work for our organization, what did you feel was expected of you, beyond the job description?  How have your views changed now – what expectations do you experience?
  3. What is the purpose of our work group?  Why do we exist?  What is our long-term vision?  What are we ultimately trying to accomplish?
  4.  What behaviors do you (and your coworkers) exhibit that contribute to our success?

And of course since this is a part of our “growing up” projects that I’m involved with, and since I want to be able to use this broadly at Samaritan for overall improvement, I thought, “why stop at one interview?”  So I started with 10.  I may get around to interviewing the other 90 staff members on the same topics (or a broad sampling of the other 90 at least) but I was able to get 10 in this week.  They didn’t take long (average 15-20 minutes after giving the questions beforehand) and they were extremely informative.

Here’s part of what I wrote in the executive summary I turned in Wednesday night:

The exercise was extremely helpful and the notes from the interviews will be a great resource as I work with the HR team on developing an expected profile/persona for recruitment.  As we look to add staff (we have almost two dozen more hires slated for the next 6-8 months) we want to hire not just for filling a job description, but deliberately look for talent who will share our core values and mesh well with our culture while bringing new skills and ideas that will affect and change that culture in the positive direction.  We have a great team of people working with us, and we want to continue to attract talented men and women who will work well as members of this team.  

It was encouraging to me that the answers to the first question, all included a deep appreciation for the culture at Samaritan Ministries.  And most of them included a devotion to our mission and values, despite the fact that I think we’ve not done as good of a job as we ought in communicating the mission, vision and values to the whole staff.  Especially not during the most recent growth spurt.

So I’m excited about class tomorrow and Saturday, and I’m excited about working with the HR team and the senior leadership in coming up with a formal EVP for our staff so that when we’re recruiting we can take into account not only whether someone will be able to do the job well (job description) but whether they’ll be able to fit in and be someone we want on our team (consistent with the EVP) in the long run.

So what are the “beyond the job description” expectations where you work?  Any you’d like to share here in the comments?

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