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Discover Your Emotional Salary

The Top Ten Drivers of Workplace Wellness & Employee Experience


Employees are rethinking their relationship to work and what they value in a workplace. And employees increasingly report being a “great place to work” goes beyond the bottom line in a paycheck to include emotional salary. A concept that encompasses the emotional and non-financial aspects of work and the workplace.


Emotional salary is a concept Marisa Elizundia and Clodagh Beaty, close friends, coined. During our visit, they shared the path of discovery that led them to create the Emotional Salary Barometer, an unique online tool that measures the non-financial benefits people get from work. Their interest in how work could enrich our lives comes from their decades of shared experience working in people management and in organizational development.


The pair view the pandemic pause as a time of opportunity. Because the assets they’ve created aid organizations in improving employee experience and in closing the gap between what employees expect and what employers are willing to offer.


What is Emotional Salary?


Through their extensive research, Marisa and Clodagh identified 10 Key Factors of Emotional Salary:

  1. Autonomy

  2. Belonging

  3. Creativity

  4. Direction

  5. Enjoyment

  6. Inspiration

  7. Mastery

  8. Personal Growth

  9. Professional Growth

  10. Purpose


The top ten make it easier for employees to understand at a more granular level how employees want to feel about where they work, when they work, with whom they work, and the desired outcomes of their work.


“In the future, the relationship between employer and employee will be more balanced, fairer and with more awareness that the time we spend working is time that needs to bring benefits to all involved,” Marisa predicts. “We are increasingly aware that we spend most of our waking hours working and we need and want this time spent working to bring us benefits that go beyond financial gain, although it goes without saying that we must receive adequate and fair financial compensation for our work. The conventional solution to motivate employees to work harder with financial incentives is short sighted and it is not financially sustainable if large chunks of the workforce need to be motivated.”


Working Together To Create A Healthy Workplace

Leadership is listening. And that’s the starting point for implementing the Emotional Salary Barometer. Starting questions any leader can ask, according to the pair, include:


  • What’s working?

  • What’s not working?

  • What might we be missing that matters most to you?

  • What solutions could we generate together?

  • How does our company culture add to and detract from your well-being?

  • If we could make one change to begin to transform our company culture for the better, what would it be?


When you’re ready to take the next steps to increase the emotional salary in your organization, Marisa and Clodagh offer the following coaching:


  1. Be Generous: Implement a pay-it-forward scheme, where if a team member learns something, they are encouraged to share the resource or new knowledge with somebody else in the organization who might benefit from it. This enables employees to actively participate in increasing the Emotional Salary of others, too!

  2. Focus on Emotional Aspects of Work: As people become increasingly aware of the amount of time they spend at work, it becomes important to explicitly ask why we work, what we want, and what we expect from work. When these questions are asked and answered, employees experience greater freedom to align their work with their own personal growth and development.

  3. Recognize What’s Working: Focus on what is working, adding value, and going well. When you identify what is going well and, incremental improvement feels more doable.

  4. Courage and Creativity: Experiment. Incorporate a pilot mindset that emphasizes agility, adaptability, and acceptance.

  5. Perspective: Everything we do impacts somebody or something (even if we are unaware of it!). Understanding someone else’s perspective - how team and organizational decisions impact them - is the first step toward an equitable, inclusive workplace with a higher Emotional Salary quotient.


To learn more about Marisa and Clodagh’s research and resources about Emotional Salary, visit their website or LinkedIn.

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