emotional salary
The money we’re paid is very important, but so are the emotional benefits of our jobs. (Photo: iStock)

If you were to change jobs today, what would you miss the most about your current job, not including the money you get paid? That’s what an emotional salary is.

Marisa Elizundia, creator of the Emotional Salary Barometer, explains in an interview for Tec Review that this form of remuneration is a new trend within companies, but it began to be studied 10 years ago.

The tool that she created is capable of describing the non-economic benefits that we obtain from our jobs.

“It was made precisely to be able to measure and see the intangible in numbers. To be able to see it, analyze it, and attack our weaknesses,” she says.

Basic elements of the emotional salary

The expert and her team have defined these 10 elements of the emotional salary:

  1. Autonomy: Being able to manage your own projects or time
  2. Belonging: Feeling valued and appreciated
  3. Creativity: This is the power to leave your mark on everything you do, regardless of your profession. It’s what differentiates your work from the rest.
  4. Direction: An employee’s medium and long-term career aspirations
  5. Enjoyment: The ability to laugh and enjoy the moment
  6. Mastery: Recognizing a job well done and enjoying it. It’s the satisfaction of having done something well and continually improving yourself.
  7. Inspiration: These are the inspiring moments that open up a world of possibilities.
  8. Personal growth: The ability to learn from your own mistakes and to grow as a human being
  9. Professional growth: The opportunity to use your talents, strengths, and skills to become a better professional
  10. Feeling of purpose: Believing that your work not only serves an immediate purpose, but also a greater purpose than yourself.

How does the Emotional Salary Barometer work?

“An emotional salary is all those non-economic rewards that workers receive in order to contribute to meeting their personal and family needs. It’s a non-monetary element, but it has a symbolic effect on people’s quality of life and productivity,” says Florencia González, a human capital analyst.

Even though it’s a non-tangible element, an emotional salary can be measured, and that’s exactly what the Barometer does. You can do it in any company, no matter the size.

For her part, Elizundia explains that data and patterns are generated from surveys, and these create trends. This is how each organization can see what’s called the emotional signature of the brand or company.

“These are the three factors they’re best at,” she says. The tool can carry out comparative studies on gender, age differences, or new hires.

“We collect all the data, interpret it, and analyze it for the company. With the results, they can see exactly where problems lie and which group or department is experiencing them.”

Live Your Brand, the company behind the Barometer, has created a game to make people aware of Emotional Salary factors in a fun way.

It’s open to everyone, and it’s free. Here’s the link so you can discover your emotional salary.

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An emotional salary doesn’t make up for a bad salary

An emotional salary can compensate workers beyond financial gain, and is designed to achieve personal, work, and social balance while increasing the company’s competitiveness.

“An emotional salary is key to reducing stress,” says Francisco Gay Puyal, a professor at the University of Navarra.

This salary can also improve sales, talent retention, productivity, motivation, and absenteeism, but “an emotional salary can never make up for a bad salary. If it’s utilized with that argument, it’ll have the opposite effect,” warns the expert.

Although everyone should be responsible for their own emotional salary, employees can call for it in their company.

During the pandemic, Elizundia and her team have noticed that working from home means that people’s sense of belonging, direction, and purpose are being greatly affected.

“We spend a third of our lives working, about 90,000 hours or so. It’s time to redesign work by means of an emotional salary,” Marisa Elizundia concludes.