Advance the employee value proposition

Jonathan Mills
3 min readMar 31, 2024

“Engagement is an individual’s sense of purpose and focused energy, evident to others in the display of personal initiative, adaptability, effort, and persistence directed towards organisational goals” (Wiley-Blackwell — Employee Engagement: Tools for Analysis, Practice, and Competitive Advantage)

Organisations that create a culture of high engagement become more attractive for employees. These organisations manage to attract and retain the best people in their respective industries. Engaged employees have an intense desire to be a part of the organisation. They advocate for the organisation by referring potential employees and customers, are positive with co-workers and are constructive in their feedback. They exert extra effort and engage in behaviours that contribute to business success. As Edward M Mone and Manuel London (Employee Engagement through Effective Performance Management) note: “Satisfaction describes a state of satiation. When employees feel satisfied, they feel good or happy. When employees are engaged, they also take action in support of the organisation.”

The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) used to be defined as “a set of monetary and non-monetary benefits provided by an organisation to its employees, in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring and the contributions they make to the organisation”. This definition, however, is somewhat outdated. A more modern version perhaps is “an ecosystem of support, recognition, and values that an employer provides to employees to achieve their highest potential at work”. EVP’s have long been managed with three principles in mind: defined around employees, designed to provide an exceptional employee experience, and focused on delivering features that match employee needs. Clearly, this traditional approach to employee value proposition is falling short. Recent Gartner research of 5 000 employees and 85 human resources leader interviews on EVP practices, challenges and solutions indicates that the problem could be too much focus on “what we give employees” rather than “why.”

The EVP for the workforce must be oriented toward employees as people, not workers; provide an exceptional life, not work, experience; and focus on the feelings, not just the features that match employee needs. In delivering on all aspects of this human deal, people perceive emotional value in employment in the organisation by enabling them to feel more understood, autonomous, invested, cared for and valued. This reinvented EVP, designed to deliver an exceptional life, not just work, experience, results in higher employee satisfaction.

An EVP that meets the above reinvented expectations requires exceptional employee engagement. Such engagement can’t be manipulated — it is leader-led and comes from a passionate desire of the heart for employee wellness. As John Schonegevel wisely notes: “Too often we believe that we can improve employee engagement by managing it. That is, we take the view that employee engagement is as easy and simple to engender as it is to build a new product or develop a new service or system. Unfortunately, it is nowhere near as simple as that because employee engagement is a complex human process. Employee engagement is both an organisational approach and a deeply personal one for each and every employee”.

Senior leaders and the managers that report to them, according to Melcrum, need to focus on six important actions to engender full engagement:

  1. Communicating a clear vision of the future
  2. Building trust in the organisation
  3. Involving employees in decision-making that will affect them\
  4. Demonstrating a commitment to the company’s values
  5. Being seen to respond to feedback
  6. Demonstrating genuine commitment to employees’ wellbeing

Advancing the Employee Value Proposition is essential to keep abreast of a chaotically changing work environment and retain your best people. As Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup, suggests: “To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace”. The battle is won with comprehensive employee engagement strategies and practices by leaders who care for employees as people, treat them like family, and communicate with them authentically.

Free To Grow assists managers with the Engaging Leadership program and supervisors with the program to acquire engagement skills and tools to advance the EVP within organisations.

Originally published at on March 31, 2024.



Jonathan Mills

Jonathan has spent over 30 years focusing his efforts on developing people throughout the world. He believes that people have the most impact when stretched.