EQ – a rising buzz word in Human Resources – is Emotional Intelligence (the ability to recognise and understand your own and others emotions and make use of them in socially adaptable ways). With the ever increasing use of social media, blogs and online forums, opinions are everywhere (whether welcomed or not) and it has become even more apparent that we all see things differently depending on our mind-set, individual perspective and ability to read social cues… How we respond to these in a way that demonstrates an understanding of other people’s perspectives is what emotional intelligence is all about.
EQ is very important in all aspects of HR particularly in the recruitment process. The ability to assess cultural/team fit and make successful hiring decisions can often be linked to how capable the interviewer is at reading non-verbal cues and mannerisms. Even when an interviewee is giving you all of the answers you want to hear, a hiring Manager with strong emotional intelligence will use more than education and experience information when making a hiring decision. Recruitment success can be largely attributed to assertiveness, empathy, happiness and emotional self-awareness during the course of the interview.
Since the emergence of EQ as a measureable skill, companies are looking more closely at its importance and impact. Whilst useful in attracting top talent it is also an essential tool for Learning and Development. Longstanding employees are often promoted to Managerial positions based on strong technical skills. Even if a Manager is highly intelligent and knowledgeable about their job requirements, does this necessarily make them the most capable at motivating their staff or relating to those that they manage? With the many generational differences within the workforce today, it is essential that Managers have the emotional intelligence to understand the different values that are important to Gen X, baby boomers and Gen Y and be capable of adapting their style accordingly.
Managers with a high EQ can determine the needs of their employees more quickly and find solutions to employee problems faster. Successful Managers are able to spend less time managing people problems and more time focussing on company contribution. One essential part of Management is giving feedback, if this is communicated poorly, overtly negatively or is lacking emotional intelligence, it can often cause a drop in performance and an increase in the number of E/R cases faced by a business. Managers and employees with a high EQ can inspire people to achieve results by communicating both praise and criticism appropriately.
Whilst emotional intelligence cannot guarantee success by itself, psychologists agree that among the ingredients for success, IQ counts for roughly 10% and the rest depends on everything else – including EQ! Being aware of its importance in your organisation is the first step in improving relationships and business performance. Whether conducting EQ tests within the recruitment process, implementing training needs analysis to determine areas for improvement or ensuring regular appraisals and feedback sessions for employees it is never too late to embrace emotional intelligence.