Get ready to shape an organisation’s conversation about EVP


The limits of my language means the limits of my world.
~ Ludwig Wittgenstein


Much is talked about in organisations about values. Less is talked about regarding value.


This is a common situation.

Values are something believed, followed, enacted and demonstrated. They are virtues, principles, philosophies about the world and what’s important to guide choices and actions. You have been personally shaping these from the day you were born. As a teen/young adult, you’ve probably landed on a set that is stable and unlikely to change across your lifetime. It feels like they speak to the core of who you are, and how you show up in the world. Similar thing with organisations, who want to set a tone for how their collective of people participate in, and show up to represent the organisation in the world. Things like Integrity, Sustainability, Excellence, Simplicity, Resourcefulness.

Value is something related but different. (The better plural form, to reduce confusion, is value elements.) Value is something contributed, created, gained and exchanged. Value elements are tangible and intangible things. Value something you will have been aware of from an early age, because of the economic system in which we live. As a result when you think about how valuable something is, you’re most likely to think in terms of financial value. Value comes in many different forms. Things like SECURITY, EXPERTISE, PEACE OF MIND, FLEXIBLE ARRANGEMENTS, CONFIDENCE, RESOURCES, DEVELOPMENT, LOYALTY.


To identify what’s valuable to you (the crude way, which unfortunately gives prominence to MONEY value but let’s be pragmatic), think of things you would happily exchange money for, if you could get them. You don’t need to be realistic.

It’s important that you know the difference between values and value elements. It’s empowering if you are literate in value elements (separate from values) in terms of being valuable to an organisation, and getting value from an organisation. Such power could fundamentally shift your experience of work, and your experience of any organisational relationship.

Oh, and you might have the Value Element ‘VALUES ALIGNMENT’ in your list of things that are valuable, which is one place where value elements and values can intersect.


There’s two related, yet separate, conversations about value for our current times.

  • For organisations, rethinking the notion of Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
  • For individuals, rethinking the notion of employer value proposition.

Sidenote: In case you’ve never heard of the term Employee Value Proposition or EVP for short, it basically means: What an Employee gets as benefits from an Employer, in return for being an Employee in their organisation. 


Important questions for both of these conversations are:

  • Who gets to say what’s valuable?
  • Who gets to contribute value?
  • Who is expected to create the desired value?
  • How can a reasonable exchange be determined for value contributed to value created?

It’s not an either/or situation. I believe the Employee-Employer relationship can be a healthy symbiotic one with all parties knowing what they need and want, and being capable of talking about that.

From a Self unLimited perspective, I start by caring about what you as an Individual will do to be intelligently part of an true value proposition conversation for you.

To be an effective participant in the conversation, you’ll need to be literate in value – and defining what that means for You right now in your current circumstances. You’ll want to think about what responsibility you will take to create value for yourself; what you seek to claim from the organisation; and what you are willing to contribute.

Start by equipping yourself with the Self unLimited Value Exchange Cards and define what you personally desire for your Employee-Employer relationship. You’ll increase your readiness to shape an organisation’s conversation on EVP whether you are responding in a formal gathering of insight; or you take the step to initiate a one-to-one conversation with your Team Leader or Boss.  You’ll stand-out by being ready and able to talk about value – which in itself enhances your value proposition to an organisation.



Helen Palmer, Founder of Self unLimited, has been in workscape situations where she wanted different value compared to others, and compared to her last gig. She created the Value Exchange Ledger activity and cards for a fun quick way to think about the value proposition in any new or frustrating gig. It’s reduced her frustration and focused her attention to have better conversations with those she works with. And then everyone benefits.

(Amended) Photo by Calum MacAulay on Unsplash