Why emotional intelligence in employees is so important

Why emotional intelligence in employees is so important

Remember back when an employee’s ability to do their job effectively was the main indicator of success? Not so now. Employers are increasingly looking at hiring candidates with both high IQ and high emotional intelligence (EQ). The reason? If you don’t have high emotional intelligence, you are less likely to grow, say the experts. Additionally, teams that have individuals with high emotional intelligence are likely to be more understanding of both individual and collective moods, emotions and relationships, says Judy Pell of HR Professionals Magazine.

So what is emotional intelligence?

Wikipedia states that emotional intelligence is: ‘the capability of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goal(s)’.

People with high emotional intelligence generally have the following characteristics:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Social skill
  • Empathy
  • Motivation

How can your business benefit from hiring individuals with high emotional intelligence?

Christina DesMarais from Inc.com cites that people with high EQ make better leaders and are more likely to treat your customers well. Adam Ochstein, founder and CEO of Chicago-based HR consultancy and software company Stratex, says that one of the biggest advantages of hiring someone with emotional intelligence is that they can look at their own behaviour objectively and not take themselves too seriously.

Moreover, they are better at wooing customers, they make better leaders and they are easy to spot at interview, says Ochstein. Employees with high emotional intelligence are comfortable in their own skin and not afraid of asking and answering challenging questions. Individuals with high EQ are reflective so that they consider a question before they answer it.

Teams consisting of individuals with high EQ tend to work more effectively together. There is greater trust within a group as they can be honest about how they feel and also control their emotional responses: they can self-regulate. They can also be optimistic in the face of disappointment, which means they have greater resilience.

Employees with high emotional intelligence show greater resilience

Employees with high emotional intelligence show greater resilience

How can you hire individuals with greater emotional intelligence?

Annie McKee from the Harvard Business Review recommends using Behavioural event interviews. Behavioural-event interviews are structured by asking individuals to provide examples of situations in which they might be faced with a problem or make a decision. There are assumptions made that an individual’s future behaviour is determined by their past behaviour. McKee also recommends having lengthy discussions with referees specifically to determine EQ competencies. She recommends requesting lots of examples with specific detail. This is best sought by asking specific and pointed questions relating to how a candidate operated in various capacities.

Other methods, warns McKee, such as personality testing, self-report testing and 360 degree feedback aren’t as effective as behavioural event interviews, as individuals need to have self-awareness to complete them.

If your business requires support in hiring individuals with emotional intelligence, speak to the recruitment team at Flexi Personnel.