09 Oct 2018
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Raj Verma

Being Human … Building the emotionally intelligent organisation

This blog was written by Raj Verma, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Sodexo Corporate Services

The workplace is changing at a pace we’ve never seen before. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2018 Report forecasts that by 2025 more than half of all current workplace tasks will be performed by machines. That’s up from 29 percent today. That means that characteristics which are distinctly human, such as creativity or compassion, will be more in demand, and the labour market will shift towards roles that answer those human needs.

At the same time the workplace is more international, multi-generational and multi-cultural than ever before, which requires managers to employ social and emotional intelligence. Skills such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management are critical in order to lead successfully in this context.

Finally, the complexity and rapidly changing nature of the world means that people are looking to find meaning, purpose and insight to help them manage what can be an anxious and stressful world. It isn’t surprising that the most popular class at Yale University is ‘Psychology and the Good Life’, a course which teaches students how to lead a happier, more satisfying life.

These megatrends and shifts in the workplace mean that emotional intelligence is more critical than ever. So how can we create more emotionally intelligence workforces and workplaces, and boost organisational EI?

From an HR perspective, it is vital that EI is a driving factor in recruitment. EI is a better indicator of success than previous experience or a high IQ. There is also the opportunity to drive better emotional intelligence through training. Whilst most people over-estimate their EI, a 70% improvement can be achieved through the right learning and development.

There is also the need to create organisations that can foster better EI. The emotionally intelligent workplace is somewhere that encourages collaboration, innovation and spontaneity, which supports wellbeing and balance, and fosters a sense of community.

For a quality of life services company like Sodexo, evolving our services to support emotionally literate organisations, and indeed developing services that help companies make that transition, will be a critical success factor into the future. We are starting to use tools such as Personix™, a proprietary tool for understanding universal human needs and motivations. The psychographic data gathered by the tool categorises employees into eight segments based on their dominant motivations and can help organisations choose the right workplace solutions for their teams.

In summary, as HR leaders we have a vital role in developing our own emotional intelligence and promoting EI in our workplace strategies. And there is certainly a role for companies like Sodexo to provide the tools, programmes, services and solutions that can help people integrate the emotional and rational parts of themselves to build successfully, emotionally-literate organisations.

For more information on the Sodexo Workplace Trends Report visit www.sodexoworkplacetrends.com

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