More than money: why emotional compensation matters

February 3, 2020 Federico Francini

It goes without saying that every person that works should have a salary. If we pay our employees adequately as well as introduce additional financial incentives, we might think that they’ll be more motivated to do their job well. However, getting paid properly isn’t the only thing that matter for today’s workers. Employees want to have purpose at work and so it’s the employer’s role to empower them and make them feel part of a place to be proud of. Offering the right opportunities and working environment, or an ‘emotional salary’, can be just as rewarding as the financial benefits of working.

Initiatives like the wellbeing of workers, good working environment, fostering personal and professional development, flexible working hours and involving employees in company decisions are fundamental to the functioning of the company, and all contribute to an employee’s ‘emotional salary’.

Motivating millennials

The younger generation are an example of employees who value emotional remuneration. These new professionals are qualified, experienced in different sectors and activities, and have lived in a climate of uncertainty, therefore demand more than just a decent pay wage. This generation are also more prone to job-hopping. According to PwC, 26 per cent of millennials think they should only stay in a job for one year before looking for a new position, so motivating millennials to stay is more important than ever. That’s where the ‘emotional salary’ comes in. By offering the right development opportunities along with the right working environment, millennials might think twice before they decide to move on.

Attract and retain talent

Attracting new talent can be complicated and competitive, especially for technical positions, so companies need to think outside of the box than just a regular salary if they want to recruit the right people. For example, candidates may be open to take a small salary cut if they know that they’ll looked after and well-trained in the workplace.

Here are some examples of emotional compensation to offer in the workplace:

  • Flexible timetable: Introducing flexible working where employees have to work for 8 hours a day but without specific working hours. Being physically in the office is not what matters, it’s about people doing their job properly. People with long commutes or young children might prefer to start later or finish early, so might be looking for opportunities that don’t have strict 9-5 hours.
  • Training: Employees, more than ever, expect training to be an integral part of the working day. Offering personalised training and development paths based on the needs and interests of the employee is a fundamental step to retaining talent.
  • Childcare: People who have or are thinking of having children may need help with childcare. For companies that have the opportunity, the best way to help employees is to offer to help with childcare costs or offer nurseries. 
  • Appropriate spaces for breaks: Office spaces directly influence the work environment, mood and relationships. Having a space for leisure time to relax and disconnect for a while is something that can be appreciated by employees.
  • Volunteering: Companies should support their employees who wish to volunteer as this could help employees feel better about themselves.
  • Perks: Casual-dress Fridays, free gym classes, free coffee, 4pm finish on a Friday. Employees love small additional work perks, and it can also contribute to the wellbeing of employees.

Emotional compensation gives employees a reason to stay in their workplace whilst also contributing to their productivity and wellbeing. Money might make the world go round, but we need more than just money to stay motivated at work. 

About the Author

Federico Francini

Federico has over 27 years of experience in IT companies, where he played different sales management roles, with the responsibility of managing large customers in all vertical markets. In Cornerstone since 2017, Federico is responsible of the company's global strategy in Italy, leading the local sales team, developing relationships with key partners and expanding the penetration of Cornerstone’s solutions on the Italian market.

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