Is There A Link Between Salary, Stress And Employee Engagement?



Is it always low salary, extreme workload or messed up team dynamics that push people out the door? According to a new study by Peakon, its not! They have analyzed more than 35 million responses and finally found that work related stress and salary are not reliable predictors of employee engagement. Then what was the most consistent factor? Listening to employees seems to be the secret formula to keep employees happily on board, engaged and productive.  

In this huge corporate survey titled “The 9-Month Warning: Identifying Quitters Before It’s Too Late,” employee engagement surfaced as a critical predictive factor. With only about 30% of actively engaged US workers, there are many other potential risk factors too. The survey found a 9-month window before an employee quits, which is right after the fall of engagement with the presence of other risk factors. How does your organization stack-up when it comes to greater employee engagement?  

Listen To Your Employees

Vicki Brackett, author of The Leadership Toolbox, believes that the key to achieving higher employee engagement is by turning employee observation into results. Essentially, Brackett helps employees to share their observation and become a part of the solution process by giving them a stake in the outcome.


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CircleCare employee engagement platform provides companies with a platform and tools to motivate their employees via positive reinforcements and rewards to establish and maintain healthy lifestyle choices.

If you are interested in achieving greater employee engagement, and improving retention, consider how you can involve team members in the solution process. Does your company pass out instruction from the top down, or is there an opportunity for the employees to collaborate and weigh in on new initiatives? Jack Stack, author of A Stake in the Outcome, recapitulated it to a simple statement: People support what they help to create. The first step to driving that kind of support, via new solutions, is through a management team that knows how to actively listen.

Offer Meaningful and Challenging Workload

The report also suggested that people don’t quit because of the stress caused by a challenging workload. During the study, a manageable workload was presented to the participants, even when the engagement was steeply declining. Now the question is, if stress wasn’t the trigger for quitting their jobs, then what upset the balance of the situation? They noticed that it’s not the workload, rather it’s the lack of challenge that motivated them to make the decision. When employees work on meaningful and challenging projects, regardless of the amount of workload or stress, they become more engaged to it. As a result their productivity increases, due to the sense of accomplishment and opportunity for employees.


So, what can you do as a leader? Challenge your team and your employees with meaningful goals. But don’t just challenge them with workload, consider the nature of the work itself. Do they find it challenging? Are you listening to their ideas? What are you doing to foster collaboration and innovation, and let people have a stake in the outcome? Finally, decide on a way to celebrate wins, recognize the contributions of those who made the hard work really pay off?

It’s Not About Salary Either

The survey also shows that it’s not the salary, but It’s the inability to talk about it, that makes people more likely to quit. Even though the employees feel that they are being rewarded fairly, but if they can’t have an open discussion about it with their managers, they’re much more likely to leave. It’s the ability to speak truthfully and connect with the manager is actually worth more than salary, when it comes to increasing employee engagement.

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