By Professional Development team, British Council in Singapore

17 March 2016 - 13:00

How can we use EQ to increase employee engagement? How can this increase the bottom line and what is the link between EQ and great teamwork?

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The scientific definition of EQ

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions; to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought; to understand emotions and emotional knowledge; and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.” Salovey & Mayer,1999.

Employee engagement refers to the level of staff commitment and responsibility, it is the emotional capital created by employees. Is it possible to increase engagement? In a six month leadership development process at Komatsu multi-national corporation, using the Six Seconds’ Vital Signs framework, engagement increased from 33 to 70% while plant performance also increased by 9.4%.

Kabushiki-gaisha Komatsu Seisakusho manufactures construction, mining, and military equipment, as well as industrial equipment like press machines, lasers and thermoelectric generators. In 2012 Komatsu partnered with Six Seconds to increase the engagement of people in order to build competitive capability and create a case demonstrating their commitment for innovation. The project blended assessments, training, and project based learning to involve managers in creating a climate for innovation. 

This innovative approach to engaging employees led to three key findings:

  1. To create change, people need to change. Involving the managers in a new way of thinking and working, provided them with insights and tools to experiment with alternatives.
  2. Build teams intelligently. Powerful, innovative teams have a mix of styles, talents, EQ skills, and capabilities.
  3. Create choice. When people self-select, they have power. They become more committed to the process, and they feel ownership of the results.
    The project blended assessments, training and project based learning to involve managers in creating a climate for innovation.

People Engagement was measured with Team Vital Signs (TVS), a statistically reliable research process designed to pinpoint areas assisting and interfering with growth and bottom-line success. There are five key drivers in the Vital Signs Model: Trust, Motivation, Change, Teamwork and Execution.

A high performing team climate is driven by these five factors:

Trust. People have a sense of safety and assurance so they’ll take risks, share, innovate, and go beyond their own comfort zones.

Motivation. People need to feel energized and committed to doing more than the minimum requirement.

Change. Employees and the institution are adaptable and innovative.

Teamwork. People collaborate and communicate with one another to take on the challenges.

Execution. Individuals are both focused and accountable.

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Six Seconds is a global network supporting people to create positive change -everywhere. Their experience and research shows that the skills of emotional intelligence (EQ) are invaluable for leading change. Therefore, they conduct research, develop powerful measures and tools for EQ development, and support a world-wide network of experts to put the learnable, measurable skills of emotional intelligence into action. 

Improved business results with high EQ…

The US airforce spent $10,000 on EQ competence and saved $2,760,000 in recruitment. (Fastcompany “How do you feel” June 2000)

Consulting partners who showed high EQ earned 139% more than partners with lower EQ (Boyatzis,1999)

American Express Financial Advisors with high EQ increased business by 2%  (Fastcompany, ‘How do you feel’ June 2000)

Raised EQ levels cut accidents in a manufacturing plant by 50%, formal grievances by 80% and raised the top line by $250,000 (Pesuric & Byhan, 1996)

“The most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant, they do matter, but mainly as ‘threshold capabilities’; that is, they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions.  But research shows clearly that without emotional intelligence a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.” (Harvard Business Review).