We have known for years how much EI matters. Have a look at recent data in this article written by our founder Dr. Margareta Sjolund:

A heart and a brain connected by an electricity wire to prove the magic of connecting EQ and EI.

There is no question that companies and organizations can become more successful by measuring and developing the Emotional Intelligence (EI) of their leaders and employees.

In fact, the World Economic Forum lists EI as one of the most sought-after competencies by employers in 2020. The United Nations hosted a conference in May 2019 on EI as a tool for conflict resolution, Human Capital Institute presented a study on the importance of EI for leadership development and further research shows EI as a key to survival when robots and AI take over manual jobs, rendering them obsolete.

AI increasingly takes over routine jobs and leads to significant changes in the workplace for both individuals and organizations. Jobs disappear and new jobs and new roles are created. AI is changing the way we look at work and you just need to go into a grocery store or check in at an airport to observe how automation has taken over and many jobs are no longer needed.

But you cannot automize all jobs and that is precisely what will ignite and drive an increased demand of EI. It will be more and more important to focus on the unique human skills like social and emotional functioning that AI cannot replicate.

Companies’ demand for EI will surge to address emerging roles brought about by automation and AI.

That is why 76% of executives agree that AI and automation will increase the demand for EI skills as employees will have a more client/people-facing role.

There is ongoing research with the object of making AI understand and react to human emotions but a vast body of research suggests that it is impossible. Human facial expressions are far too subtle and complex and unique human emotions are hard to read and something that machines find hard to emulate and find practical applications for.

AI is here to stay and take over the old jobs and roles but at the same time, the demand for EQ will increase as new jobs and new roles are created, and EQ will become more and more important. The workplace is a changing landscape and only those that have sufficient EQ skills will hang in there and keep their jobs. To lean on one’s IQ or technical and digital skills will simply not suffice — as much of those skills will be replaced by AI.

Studies show that in the near future, only 10–15% of work will be attributed to technical/professional competence, the rest is EI.

A study from the consulting firm Capgemini shows that 74% of global leaders considers EQ to be absolutely vital for companies to grow and develop. And it will happen fast! These EQ skills are needed now, and the demand will only increase.

Cover of the Capgemini report on Emotional Intelligence — the essential skillset for the age of AI.

The Capgemini report surveyed 750 executives and 1,500 employees, and conducted in-depth interviews with over 15 industry experts, academics, and start-up executives. their research showed:

  • EI will be a must-have skill in the future, with demand likely to rise sixfold within the next five years
  • Organizations’ people processes are not adapted to the age of the machine
  • An emotionally intelligent workforce would benefit organizations and employees alike.

But what do we mean by EI? Well, it has nothing to do with being nice, socially skilled or well-liked. EQ (emotional quotient) is a measurement of emotional intelligence that involves understanding oneself and how emotions affect your performance and how you control your emotions in an effective way. It also involves managing interactions with others and accurately gauging and reading situations and people around you. Skills that are becoming increasingly important, not only in private life but also in work life.

Even though we have this knowledge about the importance of EI there are few companies that offers an adequate training/development for their managers and employees. The development of AI is fast, and it is urgent that companies prepare their managers and employees for starting to build their EQ skills and to create an EI culture.

It does not matter how smart you are – if your EQ skills are not in place and you do not have the skills to work with people and in teams and understand how people react, you will be dead in the water.

Most people want to improve their EQ. (70% according to Capgemini 2019) but only 1 in 5 companies supports their employees in doing that. Over 75% of companies say that they can train their people, but does not get it done. There are written policy documents and company values, but few seem to “walk the talk.”

EQ can be improved! Effective and best practice training programs are used by companies all over the world but the training needs to be formalized; that is; it needs to focus specifically on EQ with a clear objective of developing a better workforce that is more capable of building relationships, both internally and externally , directly or by developing new products and services.

How do we do that?

The following four points are keys and can be said to be a roadmap for companies to follow:

  • Customize existing learning programs and make them accessible to all include the evaluation of EI in recruitments
  • Use an EI lens when promoting and rewarding talent.
  • Use EI assessment
  • Use technology and data in combination with EQ best practice for building a high EQ culture

Companies have a lot to gain in investing in EI for their employees. What is interesting is that companies that have EQ training programs see increases in their organizational effectiveness and ROI. Improved production, higher employee satisfaction, increased market share and lower attrition rates are some of the results that can be expected.

So, what are you waiting for? Download the entire Capgemini report here and if you have any questions about how to bring emotional intelligence into your organisation, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.