How Emotional Intelligence is Beneficial for Company Culture?

by Jody Ordioni

How Emotional Intelligence is Beneficial for Company Culture?

Often when considering a candidate for an open position, the focus of the companies is to look at the qualifications listed on the resume. However, over time, we have seen that this might not be the best way to find an employee that fits in your company. A resume is a flat paper that cannot highlight the soft skills of prospective employees, such as creativity, attitude, and the spirit of teamwork, that are crucial to the smooth functioning of the company.

The game-changer to company culture and recruitment processes has been the increased focus on EI, or Emotional Intelligence. EI refers to the degree to which an employee can comprehend their own emotions and positively respond to the emotions of others. EI is important because it ensures that employees support each other during stressful times, and conflicts don't arise often.

Healthy Workplace Culture Through EI

EI has a direct impact on employee experience and retention. It also helps in boosting employee engagement levels within the company. This relationship exists because higher levels of EI address the fundamental concerns and basic needs of the employees. Since everyone is receptive to the needs of others, creative collaboration can be more fruitful among employees.

Our studies have shown that the companies which incorporate EI into their culture have purpose-driven workforces and can focus on creating better interpersonal skills. Moreover, employees can find innovative solutions by themselves if they feel empowered enough to make important decisions. Our research has found out that 82% of employees would prefer leaving their jobs, in favor of a more empathetic company culture!

In another survey, a clear disparity between the aspirations of the employees and the reality of the culture was clearly visible, as 56% of the employees registered the need for more empathy, but only 46% believed that their current companies embraced the same.

Shaping Remote Work 

Though Emotional Intelligence is most valued during in-person interactions, remote working in pandemic has opened up a new facet for its utilization. Amidst uncertainties and the anxiety induced due to rigorous lockdowns and work-from-home, having a team that is emotionally compatible with other members is a huge relief.

Our studies have shown that the online working mode is deteriorating the mental health of a significant portion of the employees, with nearly 35% of them reporting symptoms related to depression. The worrying part of this, however, is that 37% of those employees have admitted to not reaching out for any kind of help.

This data points out the need for heightened EI in company cultures, even when the work has moved to a virtual space. The pandemic has isolated the employees and they feel less connected to their peers and the company, as a result. Emotional support should be offered to them, now more than during any other period. The responsibility lies on the managers and employees with higher EI, to reach out to others in the company and help them combat their anxious thoughts. Remote work can be an opportunity to strengthen the company culture that you have built.

Path Going Forward

While resumes and cover letters are still going to play a crucial role in the hiring process, for the foreseeable future, managers should also build parallel metrics to assess the soft skills of any potential candidate. Assessment should be free of biases and focus more on gauging the interpersonal skills and attitude of the candidate.

Even though standard assessment tests would help to understand the EI of the candidate, pointed questions asking them to reflect on their past experiences would be much more helpful. Hypothetical questions would help in understanding their creative process and problem-solving skills. It won't be amiss to check with the former employers of the candidates so that any problematic behavior can come into notice at the earliest.

The Bottom Line

Emotional Intelligence has become even more important since the pandemic began. Since employees no longer have the crutch of in-person interaction to understand social cues, it is necessary to be more accommodating towards each other. The mental health of the employees, and the culture of the company, are influenced by Emotional Intelligence, by helping them feel included and valued.

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