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Webinar Review: Why is Emotional Intelligence critical to the success of HR?

This blog post highlights the September 2021 Natural HR ‘Expert Webinar’ series and only highlights the contents covered in the webinar. To view the entire webinar, as well as a library of other HR Expert webinars, for free, click here.

Nikki Hill, an Executive Coach and Talent Consultant, took the lead for September’s Natural HR, HR Expert webinar series, which focused on why emotional intelligence is critical to the success of HR teams in the workplace.

With over a decade of in-house HR and talent experience with companies in organisations ranging from luxury fashion to food, retail, telecoms, and financial services, Nikki talked about how HR teams can break down the critical elements of emotional intelligence and how you can begin infusing a healthy dose of emotional intelligence into your workplace agenda.

Natural HR chose this topic to help you drive productivity, profitability, and job satisfaction, which ultimately helps with staff retention within your business.

Why is Emotional Intelligence important?

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.

But why is emotional intelligence so important to the way that a business runs? Research has shown that the concept:

  • Provides a framework to help us better understand and intelligently deal with and respond to emotional responses.
  • Individuals with emotional intelligence are better equipped to handle issues relating to stress and function effectively in work teams.
  • Emotional intelligence equally has the ability to enhance an individual’s leadership abilities and personal resilience.

Similar research on emotional intelligence has found that:

  • 80% of employees consider emotional intelligence crucial for developing their careers.
  • 87% of Millennials today are motivated by the Emotional Intelligence of their leaders to help the company succeed.
  • Only 30% of companies look for emotional intelligence during the hiring process.
  • 59% of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low EI.
  • 75% of employers said they are more likely to promote a worker with high EI

The elements of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is not the answer to absolutely everything, and the entire concept builds on the fact that there are different fundamental dimensions of emotional intelligence. These include self-perception, self-expression, emotional self-awareness, interpersonal decision-making, and stress management.

Self-perception is about how we see ourselves, and more so, thinking about that in terms of self-regard, having a realistic appreciation of our strengths and weaknesses, and being comfortable with who we are.

Emotional self-awareness is about being able to understand how are you feeling in a particular moment? But beyond that, what are the triggers for that feeling and being mindful about how you can use that effect once you’re aware of how you see yourself?

Does it link into how you appear to other people and express yourself in their world? For instance, both in the words that we’re using and nonverbal, how are we communicating the emotions that we’re feeling, whether through words or actions?

Assertiveness is all about standing your ground while also constructively and respectfully communicating your ideas, wants, needs, and opinions to the rest of your team.

While independence is about being able to stand on your own two feet, and not being able not to be unduly influenced by how other people are feeling, including their emotions, and being able to be in your own space.

Social responsibility is really about how you show up and how you support the wider community. So that could be a department that could be a business area, your local community, and society as a whole. But really about how you contribute to that greater group.

Stress tolerance is about having several different tools in your toolkit to withstand the stresses that are going on around us and having coping mechanisms that are helpful and supportive there.

Finally, optimism is about having a realistic sense of positivity. For example, looking for the things that are opportunities or things are going well rather than focussing on the things that aren’t going quite so well.

American Express, an example of using Emotional Intelligence in the workplace

But in terms of the business case of using emotional intelligence, there were three examples that Nikki showcased. One such example was American Express, which undertook some research with its financial advisers and supervisors.

They had a control group who had not gone through emotional competence training and then an equal number of people who had gone through training, and the individuals who were managed by supervisors, and who had gone through that training, grew their business by 18.1% than compared to the alternative group.

How to grow your emotional intelligence within your company?

In the final part of the webinar, Nikki talked about how you can potentially grow your capability.

To begin with, it’s imperative to think about how often are you, as an employee, actually showing up by listening and putting yourself in other people’s perspectives or by pausing before you’re acting on that impulse and that temptation to thinking about how can you demonstrate this?

Beyond this, you also want to consider flipping the coin. How would other people describe you? In terms of your self-development, this presents an excellent opportunity to seek feedback from those you trust and whose opinions you value, in much of the same way you would approach 360-feedback.

The second idea Nikki explored was to consider the impact of your emotions on different tasks. When using emotional intelligence, when working in that way, what’s the effect on other people? How are they reacting when you feel that way and being quite mindful of that?

The next piece of advice came in terms of paying attention and asking for feedback on how you are coming across when interacting with others? What’s happening with your body language or facial expressions? How do you hold your posture, and what happens with the tone of your voice? Are you communicating in a way that can make someone think that you are confident and comfortable in that situation?

But if you’re not achieving this, then why not? And again, being able to think about some modifications that you enact to communicate that more effectively?

Finally, in terms of standing your ground with others, are you able to consider if there are situations where you feel less comfortable you’ve put yourself across? Where you’ve said something that you think is important, but then you back down if you’re challenged?

Do you need to think through the different implications, perhaps? Do you want to do some more research on this front? How can you make sure that you feel confident and robust in your opinion so that it is still with salt and withstand some critique and different ideas from others?

Watch the rest of the webinar for free and sign-up for October’s event

You can watch the entire webinar event, for free, by clicking here.

This month, October 2021, we will be joined by James Moore, a director at Morgan Phillips talent consulting. This session will outline how HR leaders can design and implement high impact talent solutions that enable their more comprehensive business strategy to flourish.

Natural HR

About Natural HR

Natural HR is a cloud-based HR software company for growing businesses with 100+ employees. Since launching in 2010, we’ve been building a comprehensive suite of HR functionality that equips the small to medium-sized enterprise with everything needed to build an effective and efficient HR operation.