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Emotional intelligence – implications for business processes

Aarti Srivastava
24 May 2022

Investing in emotional intelligence can lead to enhanced productivity, high employee satisfaction, increased market share, and reduced attrition.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize, understand, and regulate people’s emotions. There is increasing recognition within the workforce of the appetite for EI, and of the need for organizations to satisfy this demand.

In this blog, we look at the business arguments for change, key factors in its execution, and routes organizations can take towards a more emotionally intelligent workforce.

Business benefits

The subject is topical because of a recent report on the subject that has been published by the Capgemini Research Institute. The report pointed out that it wasn’t only teams and individuals who benefit from developing a greater capacity for emotional intelligence. Research conducted for the report found that, on average, 60% of the surveyed organizations realized significant benefits by having employees who display high EI.

The report aimed to quantify these benefits. Taking a conservative approach, it assumed that 10% of benefits from the survey results would translate into an actual return for organizations, leading to an incremental gain of $6.7 million. This, the report said, would amount to a return of up to 2.2 times the investment made, i.e., an annualized return of up to 29%.

A more optimistic assessment would assume that 20% of benefits from the survey results would translate into an actual return, leading to an incremental gain of $13.3 million. This would amount to a return of up to 4.3 times the investment made, i.e., an annualized return of up to 62%.

The Capgemini Research Institute maintains that there are four key areas on which organizations should focus to build a more emotionally intelligent workforce:

  • Customize existing learning programs to integrate EI – emotional intelligence may be a skill that people possess innately and to differing degrees, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be taught or enhanced. Organizations should:
  • Identify the key EI skills that are important for their workforce – requirements may vary from one enterprise to another – because, for instance, of the market in which they operate
  • Identify and develop targeted training by career levels and functions – one size does not fit all. While EI training is important in leadership roles, there is also a need to focus on mid-management and on more junior levels. Some organizations go further, and identify particular groups and individuals where benefits may be greatest
  • Assess EI skills within the organization – to do this, businesses should first establish a continuous EI assessment framework, examples of which are discussed in the report.
  • Modify recruitment processes to include the evaluation of EI – the report declared that an evaluation of EI should be an integral part of every good hiring decision, and that therefore organizations need to think more creatively. They need to determine the recruiting channels where they could also look for candidates for high EI, and attract a more diversified talent pool. They also need to think about building EI into their hiring practices, starting with effective assessment tools.
  • Use an EI lens when promoting and rewarding talent – the Capgemini Research Institute report found that more than two-thirds (69%) of employees would be willing to invest in their EI skills if they are provided feedback on it. Employees were also asked about what would motivate them to learn new EI skills. The top three responses, in order, were:
  • Monetary benefit (e.g., higher raises in wages/salary)
  • Organizational sponsorship for EI training and value addition to their CV and profile to move jobs/roles
  • Opportunity to safeguard their job against increasing automation/AI.

We see clearly here that there is a greater need for organizations to incorporate EI assessment and evaluation into promotion, performance management and reward practices.

  • Use technology for building a high EI workforce – technology should be used to measure EI in the workforce and also to deploy programs for training employees in EI. This, the report tells us, is still an area in which organizations are yet to invest significantly.

A commitment worth making

Planning for, and investing in, emotional intelligence may require a foray into what is new territory for some organizations, but it’s worth the effort. The benefits that were quantified earlier in this post are enumerated in the Capgemini Research Institute report as enhanced productivity, high employee satisfaction, increased market share, and reduced attrition.

Nurturing emotional intelligence is the right thing to do, not just for senior people, but for all teams and individuals. It’s beneficial not only to employees, but to customers, to suppliers, and hence to the business as a whole. It is, in short, an investment that can deliver dividends for everyone.

Read the Capgemini Research Institute’s full report entitled “Emotional Intelligence – the essential skillset for the age of AI” – that investigates the increasing importance and growing relevance of emotional intelligence in the age of automation and AI.

To find out more about how Capgemini’s Digital Employee Operations can transform your HR function and employee satisfaction, contact:

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Aarti Srivastava

Expert in HR Transformation