The value of an emotional salary
As the war for talent heats up, employers have to reassess their offerings on the market. This is not just in terms of monetary compensation, but also what is known as emotional salary or employee benefits.
Emotional salary is a particularly important component to women in the recruitment and retention process. Women place great emphasis on the elements that make their lives easier. For some their emotional salary is as important as the straight financial offer.
Definition of emotional salary
No it’s not a salary that makes you sad or angry! It is a piece of a compensation package that adds emotional value which could be of higher worth to an employee or candidate than straight cash. It could be via services or goods that mean more than just money. This piece of a compensation package could mean the difference between attracting and retaining top female talent. Subsidised cafeterias and free drinks used to be the primary benefits for some companies. Now as the competition heats up, organisations need to be more creative to attract the best candidates.
An emotional salary can relate to:
- Personal support and effectiveness
- Career development
- Workplace wellness
Have the confidence to ask for what you need from a company. If this is something you struggle with, try our Returner Roll-Up Session on Building your Confidence.
Typical emotional salary offerings
#1 Healthcare and pension plans
At one time these employee benefits were standard across most organisations. But times they are a-changing and in some companies now they are offered as part of an emotional salary package as bespoke extras. Maternity benefits and support are also important especially in geographies such as the US where support for women having babies is not strong.
#2 Flex and remote working
With the challenges of juggling busy schedules, flex and remote working are two of the most highly sought elements of an emotional salary package. This might be because of child or elder care commitments, or simply to beat rush hour traffic or go to the gym. It’s important that companies which offer these perks do so up front. Women are still reluctant to ask about benefits for fear of being excluded from a recruitment process.
#3 Personal development support
Lifelong learning is becoming increasingly important. Employers who will support those endeavours either financially or with time will be ahead of the game. Reena had two equal offers before she embarked on her Executive MBA in Paris. One company would allow her to take one day off a month to attend classes and offered to support a percentage of the cost. With MBAs costing in the region of €30-60k depending on the business school, every little helps. The other company offered no support at all. She described her decision as a “no brainer.”
#4 On-site childcare or subsidised childcare
With the cost of childcare soaring in many geographies, organisations which offer nursery facilities either on site or nearby, or offer financial support, will inch ahead in the war for female talent in particular. Marcia has found the subsidised nursery about 5 minutes from her office to be a career boon. “I honestly wondered how I was going to manage getting to the office on time after dropping my 2-year-old at daycare. With a new facility so close to my building I can drop her off and pick her up with no stress. It is a great perk and definitely one of the reasons I appreciate my company and I say no to head hunters.”
#5 Leisure facilities or memberships
The need to unwind or practise some self-care is high on the list for many executives. Some companies offer on-site gyms while others offer memberships to sports clubs, whether for fitness or even golf. This can make a difference. A number of companies offer lunch hour meditation and fitness classes. Although these are not cited as deal breakers, they are a nice to have perk. Nateesha told us “knowing that it’s OK to slip down to a yoga class in the lunch break without feeling guilty because it’s company sponsored makes a difference. It makes me appreciate my organisation.”
#6 Sabbaticals and additional holiday
It seems counter-intuitive to offer more time off, but this is becoming more common as employers recognise the benefits of extended leave for their employees. This could be the possibility to take a sabbatical or career gap or simply buy some extra days vacation. The more rested an employee is, the more productive she will be.
#7 Company cars
In many geographies a company car is a standard benefit. It is one of the most important components of an emotional salary, especially if it includes insurance, maintenance and fuel at home and internationally.
#8 Concierge services
At the upper end some companies offer concierge services to employees. This might include collecting dry cleaning, lunch delivery, booking theatre tickets or vacations, car valet services, access to legal advice, sorting out issues with call centres and other providers. Offering work/life management tools as part of an employee benefits package can be important. 43% of employees reported that the benefits offered, including work-life initiatives, was one of the main reasons they would choose an employer.
Workplace changes and emotional salary
These workplace shifts are happening because hiring managers say they struggle to find the skill sets they need for their open positions. In a recent Skill Set Shortage survey, Manpower suggests that 47% of employers experience difficulty identifying the talent they need. As Millennials become the dominant demographic, their loyalty is more easily swayed than previous generations. They are more likely to move if they feel under-valued or dissatisfied than their parents or elders. For this generation, emotional salary as well as job satisfaction and finding an organisation which is aligned with their values and visions will be important. If they want more money they will leave.
Millennials are a generation which place great value on the emotional connection with an organisation that a high monetary salary may not necessarily produce. Research from LinkedIn tells us that 63% say that these benefits are vital to persuade them to commit to their organisation. It’s important to remember that some of these perks are considered to be taxable benefits in some geographies, so make sure you check with a financial advisor to make sure you don’t get any year-end tax surprises.