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How to develop your team’s emotional intelligence

You know you have an amazing team, and your team knows they are valued. They realise that they are part of something bigger and are able to work together in harmony – leaving differences at the door. This might sound like a dream to you, but it’s closer to reality than you might think. It starts with developing employee emotional intelligence. Whether you’re aware of emotional intelligence or this is your first time hearing about it, this Pacific Prime UK article offers insight and practical tips you can use to develop your team’s emotional intelligence.

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What is emotional intelligence and why does it matter at work?

Unlike writing or computer programming, emotional intelligence isn’t a hard skill that can be defined, learned and measured. Rather, it’s a soft skill, which means it needs to be understood before it can be applied.

According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence describes the ability to manage your own emotions along with the emotions of others. It involves three distinct skills:

  • Identifying and naming your emotions (i.e. emotional awareness)
  • Harnessing emotions and applying them to tasks
  • Managing emotions (e.g. regulating your emotions when needed and assisting others in doing the same)

Emotional intelligence skills such as these can have an effect on virtually any industry. Here’s an example of emotional intelligence in the workplace. Picture healthcare providers who deal directly with patients and families. Those who are emotionally intelligent will be more capable of meeting their patient’s needs than those who aren’t able to regulate their emotions or solve problems when they’re in a heightened emotional state. Similarly, emotional intelligence can help your team identify underlying issues at work and avoid being overcome by anger or irritation.

Benefits of emotional intelligence in the workplace

Millennials will make up 75% of the labour force by 2025. These tech-savvy, socially conscious and mindfulness-focused employees are looking for employers that value them. On top of that, they need to know that their employers have the emotional intelligence to help them grow as both employees and people. You want that as an employer as well.

People with average IQs and emotional intelligence perform better than those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. This is because employees with emotional intelligence are more personally and socially competent. Personally competent people don’t lose control whenever something doesn’t go according to plan. Their strength of character allows them to adapt and persevere when confronted with obstacles.

Similarly, their social competence helps them to read the room, thereby improving communication and understanding. This skill makes it possible for them to interact with any type of person, in any type of mood.

The benefits of emotional intelligence in the workplace include:

  • Personal accomplishment
  • Financial gain
  • Business success

While emotional intelligence skills can be tough to measure and difficult to teach, it certainly is possible.

Emotional intelligence training for employees

Emotional intelligence training isn’t like other kinds of employee training. There is a methodology to this form of training that you need to consider at the outset. Remember that no one wants to be told that they’re not emotionally intelligent, so there is a way to go about emotional intelligence training from the planning through to evaluation.

Get support from the higher-ups

Emotional intelligence training is likely to need executive endorsement from the start. Depending on who’s in charge, you might need to help them understand the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace and why employees that have it are the best. Present the statistics on the advantages of emotional intelligence at work and how you plan to succeed.

Measure existing emotional intelligence

Any good training starts with understanding everyone’s initial position, and the same goes for emotional intelligence training. There are several emotional intelligence tests that you can use to decide on a starting point, such as:

  • MSCEIT (Ability-based test)
  • EQ-i (Trait-based test)
  • ESCI (Competency-based test)
  • Genos (Behaviour-based test)

You don’t have to conduct all four tests to start. It’s recommended to begin with the MSCEIT so you can get a general understanding of employee emotional intelligence skills. Since emotional intelligence is something that can be learned, it’s essential to have a baseline to measure progress moving ahead.

Create comprehensive training

Employee emotional intelligence training must include the following areas of skill development: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Some of the most effective ways to provide this training are through interactions and experiences. Offering employees time to volunteer or hosting a company-wide book club on the topic of emotional intelligence are some simple things you can do to help develop all areas.

If you’re looking for other tips on how to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace, you can:

  • Develop team-building activities that focus on empathy and encourage understanding between coworkers
  • Promote and improve listening skills
  • Help employees recognise and achieve their best work style
  • Develop a diverse and supportive work culture
  • Redesign the workplace to create a more collaborative and comfortable environment
  • Teach meditation
  • Share TED talks on emotional intelligence

Assess the training

You can easily use one of the emotional intelligence tests previously mentioned to assess the success of your training. Offer one of the tests before training and once again after training. More often than not, the success of your training can be seen at the workplace.

How Pacific Prime can help

Emotional intelligence training, as well as other types of training and development, can be part of an attractive employee benefits plan. Aside from health insurance, employees are looking for comprehensive benefits – making it easier to attract and retain top talent. As an employee benefits specialist and insurance broker, Pacific Prime UK specialises in employee benefits solutions and corporate insurance.

Whether you’re looking for group health insurance for small businesses in the UK, international health insurance, or other types of insurance, we are here to help. Contact us for impartial advice or a free plan comparison today.

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime UK
​​Jantra Jacobs is a content writer at Pacific Prime. On a typical workday, she writes and edits articles, guides, and anything else word-related. She loves creating content that is both easy to understand and enjoyable to read.

In her free time, she’s likely to be writing poetry and prose, geeking out on her latest interests, reading, or practicing yoga.