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Improving The Employee Experience Through Emotional Intelligence


Nearly three-quarters (71%) of hiring managers surveyed by Career Builder said they valued an employee’s emotional intelligence EQ over their intellectual intelligence IQ.

Another study found 34% higher profit growth in firms with high EQ managers compared to managers with lower EQ.

Why is emotional intelligence such a sought-after skill in the employee experience?

People with high levels of emotional intelligence have the skills to relate to and solve conflicts with others more rapidly. Research also shows that these candidates tend to stay at companies longer and perform at much higher levels than those who have lower levels of EQ.

Travis Bradberry, a contributing author to Emotional Intelligence 2.0, said that “Of all the people we’ve studied at work, we’ve found that 90% of top performers are also high in emotional intelligence. On the flip side, just 20% of bottom performers are high in emotional intelligence. You can be a top performer without emotional intelligence, but the chances are slim.”

Emotional intelligence can also be a powerful tool for leaders to use when looking to improve the employee experience. Studies have shown that although some people are naturally emotionally intelligent, those with lower levels can boost their EQ with practice.

Understanding the characteristics of emotionally intelligent people can help leaders to put these skills into practice to begin improving the employee experience.

Traits of Emotionally Intelligent People

Self-Awareness: Be mindful of how your actions can affect others as well as be able to understand your strengths and weaknesses. If employees see that you’re authentic & transparent in this, it can help to set an example for them.

Self-Regulation: Express your emotions in healthy ways rather than holding them in; you can learn to express them with restraint. This helps to create an emotionally safe atmosphere where employees can express their concerns openly without any fear of judgment.

Motivation: Work to be more determined and self-motivated. This will help to increase resiliency in your team making them more optimistic in the face of challenges and difficult circumstances.

Empathy: Make an effort to see where others are coming from. This will help employees to feel heard and understood by management. If your team knows you’re genuinely on their side, they will feel a greater sense of belonging and connection. Leaders can use emotional intelligence to develop empathy. First, by examining how they feel inside. Second, by becoming aware of the impact of their words and actions on others.

People Skills: Build trust and establish rapport with those on your team. Relating well to everyone on your team will increase bonding & collaboration.

Increasing Emotional Intelligence in the Employee Experience

As a leader, when you’re more emotionally available to your employees, you will be able to recognize and act quicker on challenges you may not have otherwise been aware of. Not to mention, when you seek to understand what truly motivates your team, it will help to increase employee morale and boost employee performance. Establishing and maintaining a culture where employees feel appreciated and listened to is a big part of creating a positive employee experience using emotional intelligence.

Let’s think about each step in the employee experience. Then ask yourself this question. How can you take the emotional intelligence characteristics outlined above and apply them in each phase of the employee’s journey?

Steps in the Employee Experience

  • Employer branding
  • Job listing
  • Application process
  • Interview & acceptance/rejection
  • The first day of work
  • Onboarding
  • Learning and development
  • Special recognition moments
  • Career planning
  • Team management
  • Promotions
  • Succession management
  • Personal life events
  • Job termination or retirement

The goal of growing in emotional intelligence is for leaders to shape and maintain a safe culture where employees feel valued, listened to and better connected with the organizations they’re a part of. One way you can exercise emotional intelligence to improve the employee experience is through using employee recognition. Employee recognition is a highly effective tool to keep track of employee feedback and successes. It helps leaders to be more tuned in to what their culture is really like and helps them think of ways to constantly improve it. Effective use of recognition also helps to improve employee morale which can help your team to be more self-motivated.

Stats show that leaders who commit to improving their emotional intelligence end up with more successful cultures over time. If you’d like to chat with an expert who understands the process of impacting culture, one of our recognition consultants would be happy to help.

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