• Marc

Emotions at Work

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

Want to skip to the results? Check out our revenue impact calculator to determine how much money your team is leaving behind

Our ability to access, collect, and use data to make informed decisions will likely be the defining trait of the Information Age. While we've seen tremendous growth in tracking user behavior and demographics, it continues to be really difficult to precisely measure how emotions, and our ability to manage them, directly impact individual and team performance.

Growing interest in emotional intelligence (EI) and adaptability in the workplace are leading to the development of more tools to measure and assess these interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, but a review of the research verifies what we already know — drawing a clear and distinct line between our emotional experiences and productivity is complicated. In part, this is because many assessments rely on self-reporting about emotional intelligence traits, which is certainly less reliable than objective observation. Some test developers also examine emotional intelligence ability, which is really about whether individuals are familiar with EI concepts and if they can correctly identify them in various circumstances. The challenge here, of course, is that theoretical knowledge does not guarantee that an individual can apply those concepts in practice.

Separately, we know that disengaged employees cost companies significant revenue whereas teams with high engagement increase profitability, productivity, and employee wellness. While there's currently no direct scientific link, it's a small step to acknowledge that emotionally intelligent team members are much likelier to create the conditions for increased engagement and success. The data couldn't be clearer: "90% of top performers are also high in emotional intelligence. On the flip side, just 20% of bottom performers are high in emotional intelligence. You can be a top performer without emotional intelligence, but the chances are slim" (Forbes).

Given this, we're forced to ask some tough questions. Without perfect tools to to measure an individual's emotional intelligence, what do we do in the interim? Do we ignore EI and adaptability skills altogether? Or, with an abundance of qualitative evidence and anecdotal experience, do we trust that a link exists and create cultures where our teams practice and apply these skills regularly?

Currently, most companies do the former — spending less than 10% of their annual training budgets on soft skill development without full knowledge of the repercussions. To help with this, here's a calculator that measures the financial impact that disengagement has on annual revenue. Rather than taking a guess, I hope you feel empowered to use tools like these to determine where to invest in your teams.

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