The concept of emotional intelligence in business is increasingly relevant. A survey by OfficeTeam revealed that 95 per cent of HR managers and 99 per cent of employees believed it was important for workers to have a high emotional quotient (EQ). And two-thirds of workers surveyed believed it was as important as IQ. EQ is put on a par with technical skills and intelligence because it’s a key influence on morale and motivation — so more firms are seeking solutions to boost EQ. So here are four hacks to embed emotional intelligence in your workplace.

Vote on values

When a company is well-established its organisational values can feel like they’re set in stone. But if they no longer reflect the way you ‘do things’ then it’s time for a change. If they’re vague and ill-defined then the staff behaviours that support them will be difficult to decipher. Deciding values through a staff poll is the best way of making them feel empowered from the very start of a drive for cultural change. That’s how the General Medical Council decided on four simple and straightforward values that inform everything they do.

Drive change from the C-Suite

Cultural change is a top-led and bottom-fed process. And if managers don’t act as role models for desired behaviours then a charge of corporate hypocrisy is valid. When managers practice what they preach, workers are inspired to follow suit — but if they don’t, staff morale and motivation will suffer. So, substandard management behaviour feeds staff cynicism — scuppering any drive for EQ from the very start.

Enforce transparency

Once your values (and the behaviours that support them) are defined, they must be enforced. Your culture isn’t aspirational — it’s the only way of behaving rather than the ideal way of behaving. So 360 degree appraisals at all levels of your hierarchy make it easy to align values with behavioural competencies and performance. And staff members at all levels who consistently contravene values should face similar censure to those whose technical performance or attendance is in decline. Conversely, appropriate behaviour must be recognised and rewarded. A 360 system ensures staff openly report each other’s attitude and behaviours — allowing rich data on culture to be collected and analysed. If managers are particularly committed to leading from the front they might also publish their own appraisals to team members.

Transform HR

Enlightened HR staff should be ‘people’s champions’ with a particular focus on developing staff EQ. But HR can spend much of their time undertaking important but onerous admin tasks that leave little time for focusing on soft-skills. So payroll outsourcing can free up their time to monitor, support and protect an EQ culture. Then they can be the guardians of your positive EQ culture. These four hacks should help you embed EQ in the workplace so that staff flourish and success is sustained.

Do you work in an EQ culture? Share your stories in the comments section.