Employers missing opportunity to unlock emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) is an increasingly popular buzz phrase in business and understanding its impact in the workplace is becoming crucial to employers in getting the most out of their staff. A new survey from Lee Hecht Harrison Penna claims the importance placed by people managers both on finding EQ in staff, and demonstrating it themselves. The study claims the changing mind-set of managers, who see EQ as key to the career development and professional success of their employees.

There is, however, some way to go in formalising approaches to nurturing these traits, with most (68 percent) organisations without formal guidelines for identifying and cultivating these skills. While only 42 percent of employers actually provide training around building EQ.


Key findings

Some of the findings from the survey of over 500 UK workers with people management responsibilities include:

• Trustworthiness (39 percent), flexibility (28 percent), confidence (27 percent) and resilience (27 percent) are more important in staff than experience (13 percent) or education levels (11 percent)
• Most (57 percent) people managers think that the highest performing members of their team display a high EQ
• People mangers think that EQ is most valuable when leading a team through change
• More than half (54 percent) of people managers feel that measuring EQ would be a valuable inclusion in employee personal development plans.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] “Encouraging employees to embrace their emotions rather than supress them creates an environment for people to grow.”   [/perfectpullquote]

Burak Koyuncu PhD, Workforce Solutions Director, Lee Hecht Harrison Penna, said: “The results of the research clearly identify that the emotional intelligence of employees, and managers themselves, is becoming ever more important in creating a thriving and collaborative workforce. This story has been at the heart of everything we do for some time, as our workforce transformation, leadership and career management programmes are all geared towards developing these soft skills in people at work that are so crucial to their development and productivity.”

“By focusing more on emotional intelligence and building the capabilities and skills that define it, employers can prosper from the bottom-line benefit of an engaged and high performing workforce. Encouraging employees to embrace their emotions rather than supress them creates an environment for people to grow, which is necessary to nurture creativity, communication and leadership skills in the digital age.”


Harness the power of emotional intelligence

• Understand and measure EQ Emotional Intelligence might be more critical for certain activities or certain parts of your organisation. First, understand where you need it most and then try to measure it consistently
• Integrate EQ into business practices Review career management and performance management tools like appraisal forms to ensure they measure and chart capabilities beyond technical skills and experience gathering
• Active development Ensure that Learning & Development plans and materials are designed to cultivate both hard skills and interpersonal abilities; both are essential to success. It’s also critical for new managers to be equipped to understand the importance of focusing on emotions at work, rather than avoiding them, in their induction and training
• Build a pipeline It is more challenging to grow EQ in your ranks if your talent pipeline capacity in this regard has not been tested on entry. Consider incorporating Emotional Intelligence identifiers into recruitment tools like job descriptions and interview scoring sheets.

Read the full report here.