July 22, 2019
Training and Development 02 June 2017
How To Help Employees Become More Emotionally Intelligent
Lesley Vos
Emotionally Intelligent

By 2025, Millennials will occupy 75% of the workplace; and by 2020, they will represent 30% of the money spent in the USA. Which is $1.4 trillion, just think of it.

As a hiring manager, you know the advantages of hiring Millennials: 

  • They are tech-savvy team players, self-expressive and creative; 
  • They focus on responsibility, ambitions, and mindfulness; 
  • They are socially aware, productive, and rational
  • They eager for constant improvement which makes recruiters rethink what’s important in the workplace. 

According to the survey from Levo Institute, it's emotional intelligence what 80% of employees consider crucial for developing their careers, as well as the emotional intelligence of their leaders what motivates 87% of Millennials to help the company succeed. 

Does it mean Emotional Intelligence is the new black today?

Yes, it does! And as an HR professional, you'll need to know how to help employees become more emotionally intelligent. Savvy hiring managers enhance the process of finding great talent for organizations. Specific tests exist to check the EQ (Emotional Quotient) of candidates, though their survival doesn't mean you shouldn't think about further training and development of employees' Emotional Intelligence. 

Such tests are like checking for plagiarism: a paper (your candidate) may be well-written (professionally skilled) but, on closer examination, it proves to be unoriginal (with poor soft skills, goals, and motivation).

So, once you've hired emotionally intelligent candidates, make sure to help them develop EI for better motivation and efficient results at work. 

Why bother with Emotional Intelligence?

In plain English, emotional intelligence (EI) is 

"the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions – in oneself and others – and to use that information appropriately."

This concept has been studied for decades but given a new lease of life after Daniel Goleman, psychologist and science journalist, had published his book Emotional Intelligence in 1995. With application to leadership and workplace, Goleman's ideas are thriving and throbbing today: he researched about 200 global organizations and revealed direct links between leaders' emotional intelligence and their business results.

Researchers claim that we can improve EQ with proper guidance and practice. A stronger emotional intelligence influences employability, job performance, and leadership potential as well as translates to beyond work-related settings such as relationship success, better mental and physical health, and general happiness. With that in mind, savvy recruiters pay attention to soft skills of their employees and help them become more emotionally intelligent.

How do I develop Emotional Intelligence?

The problem is, emotional intelligence isn't easy to develop: linked to psychological and neurological pathways, it takes exceptional efforts to change our long-standing habits of human interaction and emotional self-control. Richard Boyatzis’ Intentional Change Theory is among methods for recruiters to try, though it demands a deep understanding of EI components in the workplace.

What are they?

image source: hbr.org

Testing employees for all twelve, you'll be able to understand where they need development and decide on corresponding strategies to help them.

Four steps to developing EI of your employees

As Dr. Martyn Newman says, the skills we need to meet business needs today – fresh thinking, high engagement, and ability to adapt quickly to internal and external changes – are "rooted in our emotional and social behaviors." So, growing a culture of emotional intelligence in organizations would allow recruiters to increase employees' engagement and motivation. 

The process is far from quick and easy, and it consists of four steps:

  • Preparation: that's when you assess the organization's needs and personal needs of employees to motivate them, encourage participation, and maximize their choice.

  • Training: it's the stage when you help to foster a positive relationship between employees and their trainer on emotional intelligence, allow setting clear goals, enhance insights, and provide support.

  • Transfer: that's when you provide an organizational culture to support learning and encourage employees to use new skills at work.

  • Evaluation: It's the stage when you check the results and evaluate the efficiency of emotional competence training programs, which is an integral part of the whole process.

Particularly described in the technical report by the Consortium, this process helps recruiters organize and implement everything at its best.

Anything else can you do?

1) Educate them

Do your employees know about emotional intelligence and its role for better work and life? As a recruiter, you might want to help them understand the significance of emotional competence training programs or, at least, share the information on the topic for them to get an idea on what they can do to broaden their emotional horizons.

  • Give them books about emotional intelligence.

  • Organize mail-outs with motivational and informative TED talks on the topic.

  • Share interesting articles and research.

  • Encourage employees to test their EQ.

2) Encourage social responsibility

One of the highest levels of emotional experience, social responsibility is about what we can contribute to others. Most Millennials are concerned about more than just bringing home a paycheck. They want to be fulfilled at work and be doing something meaningful. Encourage employees to donate money to charity, get involved in volunteer events, and personally contribute to worthwhile causes. Just contact corresponding organizations and ask how you can help. 

3) Create trustworthy workspace

Make sure your employees' environment provides some degree of freedom and autonomy for them to follow instincts when it comes to solving problems. Their workplaces should be properly organized to foster trust, boost productivity, and help to avoid depressions at work.

First of all, employees should feel good in your working environment; so, take care of temperature level, light, ventilation, and office furniture that influence physical condition, preventing problems with back and neck. Also, remember that work environment is a reflection of mood and motivation; so, allow employees to organize it the way to feel cozy: plants on a table, inspirational quotes on walls, funny cups, whatever. The color of walls in the office matter too, by the way.

4) Develop your personal EI

To develop the EI of employees, recruiters should be emotionally intelligent themselves. Do you have the skills to treat people with respect, kindness, and professionalism? For that, a recruiter needs to work on empathy aka the ability to understand the feelings, needs, and viewpoints of others. Empathetic enough, you'll be able to manage another person's emotions.

What could be your actions to improve empathy?

  • Pay more attention to others. Try to view situations from their perspective, especially in conflict situations. Rather than judging, remember that all people think and act from their knowledge and experience. 

  • Let employees know you understand them, practice listening and reflecting back to what a person says. People are more willing to cooperate when they feel heard.

  • Don't forget the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want them to treat you in all situations. 

Together with empathy, take care of your social skills: become an effective communicator, learn the art of persuasion, and forget about a one-size-fits-all approach to interacting with employees.

Emotional intelligence is a must-have for career success today. Its development takes commitment and time but, as a hiring manager, you can encourage and help employees learn those skills and apply them in the workplace. With a better understanding of EI core principles and their role in management, you will help an organization develop effective training and development programs for co-workers.

Lesley Vos is a professional writer, content evangelist, and career specialist for college students. Connect her on Twitter