Emotional salary, another form of payment

It has an impact on employees' commitment and productivity. Flexible schedules and leaves of absence to attend to personal matters, among the actions of this policy. Organizations document better results, job satisfaction, and longer tenure.

Emotional salary, another form of payment
Another form of payment, emotional pay. Photo by Elisa Ventur / Unsplash

The companies that bet on the development of programs aimed at labor welfare, such as the so-called "emotional salary", are the ones that, even during the health crisis, managed to increase their sales, production, and satisfaction rates and reduce accident rates among their collaborators, said Erika Villavicencio Ayub, a researcher at the Faculty of Psychology of the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico).

It is the set of non-monetary retributions that a collaborator receives, such as flexible schedules and permissions to attend personal requirements, which contribute to making them feel more comfortable by accompanying them in different stages and needs of their personal and professional life; besides, they could commit to their work and stay longer in the organization.

Before the pandemic, Mexico was ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most stressed country in the world, but the pandemic exaggerated these negative conditions. The specialist conducted a study in which she measured the impact of COVID-19 on Mexican workers during 2020 and 2021, and detected that in the health emergency two out of four have had symptoms related to a mental disorder, including work-related or post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety, for which practically half face a difficult situation.

"The multiple challenges and complicated situations make the collaborators not only wear out or move away from the responsibility and attention towards their performance in the organization, but it also drives them to leave and look for another workplace where, for example, they are allowed to take care of a family or personal issue". There are transnational organizations that included the "emotional salary" more than two decades ago; they document that they obtain better results and high rates of job satisfaction. In Mexico, this could be something new, because this practice is not yet rooted in most companies.

Some Mexican companies have low rates of employee satisfaction and, therefore, low productivity. But by implementing policies that motivate them to feel more comfortable by accompanying them in different stages and needs of their private and professional lives, they could become more committed to their responsibilities. Sometimes leaders bring a negative style, so it is necessary to sensitize them to try to transmit better strategies to their collaborators so that they can overcome the different crises together and generate an optimal work culture so that everyone feels motivated and establishes better relationships".

A model of the International Labor Organization establishes that promoting health conditions in employees is evident when these requirements are met and, therefore, it is clear that they are in optimal conditions to work at their best. Likewise, the WHO incorporated in 2019 the concept of "burnout" (burned-out worker syndrome) to the international classification of diseases; it was described as a result of chronic stress at work.

In 2018 in Mexico, Official Mexican Standard 035, "Psychosocial risk factors at work-identification, analysis, and prevention", was created in favor of the care of working conditions. Based on this regulation, strategies can be implemented within organizations to identify areas that require improvements, such as communication, workloads, working hours, or employee benefits. Looking at good practices will always lead to significant learning.