employee compensation


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If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it you almost don’t have to manage them.-Jack Welch



There is a lot of truth behind Jack Welch’s statement above. Let’s face it! We all need to pay our bills and not being able to do so can cause a huge amount of stress.

There are studies that have shown that employees would rather be a part of an organization that recognizes them often and fosters professional growth than be paid more. I have personally been the employee who was paid well, but did not feel that my work had significance and left to search for a greener more fruitful environment.

I also fully understand what it feels like not to be paid fairly or equitably in order to make ends meet.

What is fair or equitable pay?

Fair pay or equitable pay, in the legal sense, means “equal pay for equal work”. Employees cannot be discriminated against based upon a long list of specifications.

Although fair and equitable pay is these things, fair pay is really about caring enough to evaluate whether your employees can sustain a reasonable living based upon their compensation. It’s about making sure that one person in the same role is not making an inordinate amount more than another person in the same position. Finally, it’s about constantly scanning the competitive environment to make sure that other organizations are not set up to poach your greatest talent based upon what they will pay them.

It’s mostly just about being fair.

Are Emotional Paychecks Enough?

In a recent TINYpulse  employee engagement and culture report, they reviewed over 400,000 anonymous survey responses and found that almost a quarter of all employees from 500 organizations would be willing to leave their current organization for a 10% raise.

Pay is important. The question is whether pay is the most important thing, or do emotional paychecks pay the balance needed for a happy workforce?

When referring to emotional paychecks, I am pointing to things like:

  1. Being a part of a team or organization that does good work
  2. Feeling appreciated by a manager and the organization for the work that you do
  3. Receiving opportunities to learn, grow and demonstrate your best talents

There are many more elements to the ties that bind employees to organizations that have nothing to do with pay. In fact, organizations like Gallup have found more often not that money does not buy loyalty.

What’s the point?

Organizations that harness the other emotional triggers for employee fulfillment will receive retention rewards not found in a paycheck alone.

Pay is important, but it’s not the most important thing for most employees.

Use that knowledge to craft a compelling experience for them so that their hearts remain with your organization no matter who comes calling.


Thank you for reading this post. This is a tough issue. People want to know that they are paid fairly for the work that they do. More importantly, though, they want to know that the work that they do has significance and is appreciated. Emotional paychecks can counterbalance an organization’s ability to compensate at higher levels.

What are your thoughts and what is your experience?

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Good luck distributing those emotional paychecks!