Current events

Emotional salaries motivate employees and reduce absenteeism and talent loss

  Photo: Veri Ivanova

Training and flexible hours are examples of the non-monetary benefits by which a company is able to retain its talent.
Photo: Veri Ivanova

Anna Torres Garrote

Employees that are able to balance their professional and personal lives, work to a flexible schedule, have a manager that acknowledges their work and provides a sense of autonomy, benefit from a good working environment with opportunities for training and growth within the company are, according to UOC Faculty of Economics and Business professor and human resources expert, Eva Rimbau," motivated and productive" employees.  Companies that offer their professional workforce an emotional salary "increase employee motivation" with less outlay than a corresponding "wage increase" would involve, says Rimbau.

Not only do emotional salaries act to increase the motivation and commitment of company employees, they also "reduce absenteeism in the workplace and build employee loyalty", adds Gina Aran, one of the professors for the UOC Master's Degree in Human Resources Administration and Management. An employee is less likely to think about leaving when their company "is meeting their personal and professional needs" and these are perceived as a "benefit", adds Aran.

When non-financial rewards are offered that are positively perceived by the employee, "there is a tendency for the employee to pay the company back in the form of effort, motivation and an increased likelihood of staying on at the company", explains Rimbau.

Is Google a good example for others to follow?

To look at a well-known example, Google offers employees yoga and fitness classes and provides climbing and running facilities, in addition to areas for playing table tennis and video games. Should all companies do the same? Rimbau says it is a matter of comparing costs and benefits: "If these additional benefits serve to retain highly skilled employees that add a great deal of value to the organization and would be difficult to replace, it could represent a wise investment", she says.

The UOC expert also warns that workers can perceive benefits of this type of compensation differently. There are some studies that say that work-life balance and training and personal development opportunities are more attractive to women than they are to men, and there are other studies that indicate just the opposite. "It depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural, social, labour sector...", Rimbau points out.

Coherent, continuous action

Meanwhile, Gina Aran stresses the need for coherence with regard to any actions implemented: "Putting in a pool table so that employees can have some recreation time but failing to allow them to work autonomously or employing autocratic management styles has the opposite effect". It is also important to keep in mind that a one-off, isolated action "will not have any impact in the medium/long term. A comprehensive strategy needs to be developed to ensure continuity", adds Aran.

What is the ideal job?

According to our UOC experts, one that allows employees:

  • to feel useful and valued
  • to apply their skills
  • to be autonomous and benefit from a good working environment
  • to increase their personal and professional development
  • to be properly compensated
  • to enjoy physical and emotional wellbeing
  • to have access to training
  • to be rewarded based on merit (not only on a fixed scale)
  • to work on interesting and varied tasks
  • to be able to participate in decision-making processes

Thus, a company that opts not to reward its employees with an emotional salary " loses its competitive edge and", stresses Aran, "runs the risk of losing talent". "If the competition pays a bit better, they have the potential to attract the top employees", concludes Rimbau.