Equity and Employee Wellness: The Connection Between Financial Incentives and Job Satisfaction

Equity and Employee Wellness: The Connection Between Financial Incentives and Job Satisfaction

In today’s competitive job market, organizations are adopting numerous methods to retain and attract talented employees. While offering better salaries and benefits are the most common methods, equity is another way that companies can improve employee job satisfaction. Equity compensation refers to the approach of offering employees a share of their employer’s ownership through stock or stocks options. Numerous studies indicate that equity-based compensation has a positive effect on employee job satisfaction and, by extension, the company’s overall performance. In this article, we explore the relationship between equity and employee wellness by examining the positive effects of financial incentives on job satisfaction.

Defining Equity Compensation

Equity compensation is the process of exchanging part of an employee’s compensation package for ownership in the company. It enables employees to gain a sense of direct ownership, tying their success to the success of the organization. Two examples of equity compensation are employee stock options (ESOs) and restricted stock units (RSUs).

Employee stock options offer employees the right to buy shares of the company in the future at a predetermined price per share. Restriced stock units are given to employees as shares of stock that employees will receive after completing a set period or a vesting schedule. If a company experiences growth over time, the stock’s value increases, increasing the employee’s stake in the company.

The Connection Between Equity Compensation and Job Satisfaction

Equity compensation is a valuable way to promote employee job satisfaction while benefiting the company. When employees own a share of the company, it promotes a sense of ownership, which, in turn, encourages them to act in the best interest of the company. They become more invested in the company’s mission, vision, and overall success, thus leading to better company-wide performance.

From an employee perspective, receiving equity compensation keeps them committed and motivated to improve their performance because they have a personal stake in the company’s outcomes. Furthermore, an equity stake encourages employees to remain with their company longer, reducing turnover rates. Introducing equity compensation is one of the ways to guarantee that employees’ goals and the company’s objectives align over the longer term.

Improving Employee Wellness Through Financial Incentives

Equity compensation benefits not only the company, but it improves employee wellness. According to a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), equity compensation positively impacts employee wellbeing (as reported by Gallup and Healthways wellbeing) and physical health (as measured by BMI). Employees become more financially secure, effectively reducing stress and anxiety associated with living paycheck-to-paycheck.

When employees have financial stability, they can focus on other essential aspects of wellness, such as mental and emotional health, resulting in greater job satisfaction and better overall performance. Companies that prioritize employee wellness, including providing equitable compensation, create a positive workplace culture that boosts employee satisfaction and retention.


Equity compensation is an effective tool that companies can use to promote employee wellness and job satisfaction. Employees’ direct ownership leads to better performance, reducing turnover rates and increasing individuals’ financial stability. By aligning employees’ goals with company objectives, equity compensation leads to a positive workplace culture that improves overall company performance.

Therefore, companies should consider introducing equity-based compensation as a critical strategy for improving employee wellness and satisfaction. Organizations that recognize the benefits of equity compensation are more likely to continue to attract, retain, and develop talented employees that contribute to their growth and success.