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  • Writer's pictureChuck Cusumano

Emotional Salary

By Jillian Broaddus and Chuck Cusumano

As we teased a few months ago, we have exciting new offerings brewing behind the scenes here at The Joshua Group…


An EI Assessment!


We’re big fans of self-assessments, and have used a myriad of everything from personality quizzes to 360s to help our clients do what they do better!


As we’ve delved further into the research of Emotional Intelligence as we’ve created our proprietary assessment, we stumbled upon a new topic: “emotional salary.”


What is Emotional Salary?

Fast Company defines “emotional salary” as “the nonmonetary compensation that impacts how people feel about their job, like culture, career, and work-life balance.”


It’s no secret that emotional salary matters: we all want to feel cared for, we all want to minimize job stress, and we all want to be engaged in our jobs.  However, how much does emotional salary really matter, compared to actual salary?  The answer: apparently, a LOT.


In fact, nearly ¾ of employees say they would prefer a job where they feel supported and valued, even if it meant making 30% less income.


Why Does It Matter?

Organizations that offer strong emotional salaries to their people report higher employee engagement and increased job satisfaction. 


In a world where – according to Gallup – six in ten employees are “quiet quitting,” emotional salary could be just the competitive advantage your organization needs to come out on top.


How To Pay Up

Luckily, emotional salary isn’t out of reach: Fast Company also reports three key, data-backed ways for organizations to up their emotional salaries:


  • Walk the Talk: When a culture aligns what it preaches (e.g., “people first”) with how it acts (e.g., implementing employee feedback), trust is increased threefold.  However, 82% of employees don’t believe their company’s actions are aligned with their stated values.  Begin your focus on emotional salary with making sure what you do matches what you say.

  • Recognize, recognize, recognize: As we mentioned, Gallup’s “State of the Workforce” report isn’t promising.  However, one of the most critical factors to keep your people engaged and employed with you? Recognition. In fact, according to Achievers Workforce Institute, people who are paid below the local market rate are 33% more likely to say they will not job hunt if they’re recognized at least monthly. If you need some tips, check out some of our old blogs on compliments, recognition versus appreciation, the power of a hand-written note, the importance of recognizing strengths, and 8 unique ways to recognize your people.

  • Build Relationships: While people still want balance, they no longer want a strict boundary between work and life. With the remote work transition and the increased feelings of loneliness following the pandemic, employees are seeking connection now more than ever.  Make it a point to get to know your people – their passions, their home lives, their coffee orders – and watch how your productivity grows!


Coming next: Our Emotional Intelligence Assessment.  But for now, ask yourself: How are you doing when it comes to “emotional salary”? Let us know how we can help by emailing

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