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Emotional Salary

Published on
3 August 2021
Written by

The most productive work comes out of the hands of a happy man.

Victor Pauchet, Victor Pauchet

Many of you may have heard this phrase before, but many may be wondering, what actually is emotional salary?

As the name suggests, an emotional salary is one that touches on emotional gains as opposed to monetary ones. In the context of our workforce, this is hugely significant in terms of retaining talent and keeping employees happy.

This is especially significant in healthcare when we are hearing of the lack of people entering the professions as well as leaving them. Now I’m not saying that emotional salary (or lack of it) is the only reason for people leaving, but it could have a significant effect on a decision of whether to leave or not.

Emotional salary can include products or services that employees value more than money (for example, 1 hour of free afternoon/daytime childcare).

The residual effects can be hugely important, and in the context of high performance and safety and risk industries, it could have a huge impact. So, what are the residual effects?

Psychological wellbeing

When employees see the company caring for their personal life and needs, they tend to feel more motivated and that their work is being recognised, which ultimately, leads to reduced stress levels. This could be important in the context of Psychological Safety as well, in that employees feel like they’re able to speak up when they feel something isn’t right.


Adding in something like childcare help could add to the feeling of work-life balance, helping with employee happiness and lowering the amount of stress that people carry in their stress bucket when they come into work.

Opportunities for self-development and improvement

Talent development courses, coaching, mentoring, and learning a new skill or language provide great opportunities for an employee to improve.

Employers should encourage self-improvement as much professionally as personally. The coaching may be for outside of work, career coaching or even something like contributions to a personal trainer or gym membership.

Why does all this matter?

Well, according to research, a happy brain is likely to be 31% more productive, their intelligence rises, their creativity rises, and their energy levels rise. This is called the happiness effect.

Shawn Achor explains this phenomenon in his TEDx talk.

All of which is fed by the world of positive psychology and the understanding that we are all better in a positive state, as opposed to working in a neutral or stressed mode. This has huge importance in healthcare, where we are constantly looking at how to improve patient safety and the performance of workers within that sector.

Like anything else, if we put time into making our healthcare workers feel happy, psychologically safe and less stressed, then the performance we get out the other side will be greater. Our teamwork will be better, and the likelihood of accidents will be reduced; not completely, but it will be a start.

In the context of the current pandemic, this could have huge benefits for how healthcare systems perform worldwide. It could also have huge implications for not just healthcare but also for the number of patients they have to deal with in the future.

If people are feeling less stressed before going into work, then potentially we could be looking at reducing the number of people off sick and therefore strain on healthcare systems worldwide.