KKR’s recently closed $19 billion North America XIII fund is moving the ball forward on employee engagement. The fund plans to give majority owned portfolio company employees access to equity, consistent with KKR’s participation with Ownership Works. “…What we’ve done here is we’ve actually given stock to employees of many of our companies with a view that is everybody’s an owner, they’re going to think like an owner. And they’re going to be more engaged in value creation,” said co-CEO Scott Nuttall at the firm’s recent investor day.

A group of private equity firms including Apollo Global Management and KKR are stepping up to increase employee engagement and ease wealth inequality in one swoop.

 “We’ve given away over $500 million of stock to over 20,000 nonmanagement employees in our companies,” Nuttall continued. “And not a surprise, those companies have performed incredibly well because a more engaged workforce is focused on creating equity value. And that’s something you’ll continue to see us do.”

Financial sponsors including Leonard Green & PartnersAres Management, and L Catterton are committing to expanding employee ownership at their portfolio companies. Should the measure succeed on metrics of talent engagement and productivity, it could become a mainstay of corporate life, or at least crown a new class of desirable employers.

The social impact has grounding in real need. More than a quarter of American workers have no retirement savings even as pay for corporate executives sets new highs.

Brandon Zero