Emotional intelligence has been in the news a lot lately. From articles about global leaders like Google incorporating it heavily into their hiring to research showing that EQ is a better predictor of success than IQ. Publications have talked about what it is, how companies are going about measuring emotional intelligence, how to implement it into your organization, and hundreds of other topics.
What there has not been a lot of talk about is how to actually use the precepts of emotional intelligence to make your organization work better on a day-to-day basis. Measuring emotional intelligence is well and good, but if you’re not effectively using those results, they aren’t helping you manage your company. So rather than take a broad conceptual look at EQ, instead we’re going to take a practical deep dive into how you can improve staff retention by measuring emotional intelligence.
1. Identify Optimal Feedback Strategies
Every employee needs feedback. It’s essential to ensuring that they grow and become stronger assets of your organization. Many managers, partly out of an effort to be seen as being neutral and unbiased and partly out of a lack of training, offer feedback using the same approach and strategy to every employee. This is far from an ideal situation. Instead, by measuring emotional intelligence in your employees and then going over the results, you can identify how you should approach communication with each individual employee. Tailoring your communication style to each employee’s unique emotional intelligence profile will allow you to communicate more effectively, and elicit better responses from your employees.
For example, an employee who is strong overall but has a lack of self confidence might need some extra reassuring about his skills. Reaffirming his abilities might boost his confidence and allow him to perform even better. An employee who is overly self-confident, on the other hand, may need occasional reminders that she is not as good as she believes and needs to focus more on shoring up areas that need improvement. Tailoring your approach to communications will form a stronger bond between them and your organization, and can improve retention.
2. Shepherd Employee Growth
One of the keys to retaining staff is to provide them with a sense of growth, both within your company and personally. Measuring emotional intelligence in your staff can give you the insight you need to help employees grow, which will in turn provide intrinsic motivation for them to stick around. Intrinsic motivation is a much more powerful incentive than extrinsic motivation, and can drastically improve retention rates.
Helping employees improve their emotional intelligence will do more than simply make them better employees. It can go a long way to making them happier people. Take for example a fictitious employee, we’ll call her Jill. Her EQ results indicate that she is very empathic, and gets a great deal of joy from assisting others. However, she has difficulty motivating herself. A manager with this insight might help her learn to step up by tasking her with organizing an office charity event and helping her along the way. It would help her become a better, more self-motivated employee, as well as bringing her a great amount of satisfaction both in the job and personally, and would go a long way in making her feel positive about her job.
3. Create More Well-Matched Teams
One of the top causes that always shows up in exit interviews for why employees leave an organization is dissatisfaction with coworkers. Placing incompatible people into a team or working group, while sometimes unavoidable, is a quick way to end up with a lot of unhappy employees. And while it may be impossible to tailor each group based on personality compatibility, doing so can result in tremendous benefits both in terms of morale and productivity.
Emotional intelligence testing can give you the opportunity for identifying people most likely to work well together. Not only can you build teams that are compatible, personality wise, but also allows you to identify the best leaders for internal teams and groups, and lets you pair weaker employees with stronger ones who are more likely to be a positive influence. Grouping employees based on EQ results will lead to a more harmonious organization, and get rid of the interpersonal conflicts that often result in staff members resigning.