In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven business world, change is inevitable. To carve out a competitive place in the market, CEOs and leaders need to invest in a pioneering and innovative approach to employee recruitment and training.
To meet the challenges of the engagement economy – where customer loyalty is a key competitive advantage, and highly engaged employees offer significant productivity gains – companies need to reinvent their approach to recruitment. The best leaders are making the shift from skills-based recruitment methods to recruiting for Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ), with a particular focus on the self-skills associated with EQ.
What is EQ? EQ is a set of emotional competencies that equips employees with the ability to manage their own emotions and those of others.
EQ is not about being emotional. It’s about perceiving, understanding and managing emotions in constructive ways. Key EQ skills include emotional self-awareness and reasoning, self-expression, self-management, self-control and empathy.
In the services sector, frontline roles can be emotionally demanding. From both an employee and customer perspective, EQ is fundamental to building positive and meaningful frontline experiences.
In fact, a customer’s level of engagement is directly determined by the quality of service he or she receives from a frontline employee. At the same time, the quality of service employees deliver is determined by their EQ capabilities and level of engagement.
In essence, emotionally intelligent employees are highly engaged employees who drive higher customer advocacy through strong relationships and meaningful interactions.
The link between EQ and emotional fitness
Roles that have a high emotional labour component require employees to be emotionally fit. For CEOs and leaders, this means recruiting for EQ. Leaders need to invest in developing the right resilience, communication and engagement skills among their employees, fostering a culture of engagement across the enterprise.
Recruiting for and developing EQ and emotional fitness encourages employees to show up at work with an optimistic, switched-on and motivated mindset. EQ provides employees with fundamental bounce-back strategies in challenging situations. These skills and strategies are essential for dealing with difficult customer scenarios and the fast pace of change in today’s workplace.
At all levels of the organisation, highly motivated employees contribute to building a culture of engagement – one that’s grounded in trusted and meaningful relationships between leaders, employees and customers. Emotional fitness is the key to employee wellbeing, enhanced customer experience and improved organisational performance.
Benefits of recruiting for EQ
CEOs and leaders, by recruiting for and developing EQ among their people, can help individuals to reach their peak productive states and maximise their unique potential. At the same time, prioritising employee EQ will drive deeper employee engagement and higher customer advocacy, with highly engaged employees sending customers away as raving fans for your brand.
Contrary to popular belief, EQ can be developed over time. It starts with adjusting recruitment strategies to hire employees with EQ and then investing in building on baseline EQ to enhance emotional management skills. When employees leverage core emotional competencies via EQ training, they become present, authentic and successful in their roles. Where disengaged employees are insensitive, guarded and reactive, highly engaged and emotionally intelligent employees are empathetic, expansive and resilient.
By leveraging EQ as a key skill set, highly engaged employees are empowered to overcome challenging situations. They also work cooperatively and collaboratively with others, boosting productivity – both individually, and as a team.
In the broader scheme of things, recruiting for EQ boosts productivity and profitability across the enterprise. Recruiting for and developing EQ among your people is the key to building a culture of engagement and driving sustainable business growth.