Why HR Systems must start tracking emotional and social intelligence

We often hear about the importance of emotional intelligence and emotional quotient thrown about randomly in soft skill courses of the corporate world and we are increasingly hearing this from the researchers and scholars. But truly how much of its importance has been adopted in the actual practice of the corporate world? I would like to start the discussion with my query ‘Should the HR systems gear up to start tracking the emotional intelligence and emotional quotient of every employee?

The credit for introducing and popularising the concept of emotional and social intelligence should perhaps go to Daniel Goleman, an author, psychologist and science journalist for New York times and who wrote the book ‘Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships.’ The fact that his website is extensively devoted to materials, virtual courses and schedules of certification programs in this subject is a testament to the importance he places on this attribute. Later other researchers like Peter Salavoy and John Mayer have contributed significantly to this area.

Why should emotional and social intelligence be considered critical in employees by Corporate organizations?  The answer is simple – this is the attribute that is the basis of any other critical skills, which affect individual integrity and performance as well as leadership and teaming abilities. According to Daniel Goleman Emotional and Social intelligence enables one to manage and control one’s own emotions as well as understand and respond to emotions of others. Everything worthy starts with awareness – by that I mean every action and every reaction. It is therefore important to make employees aware of how their emotions affect both their behaviour and how that in turn affects their interpersonal behaviour. Simply put, if an employee is conscious of their emotion and in control of their emotion, they can fruitfully and positively improve their – teaming abilities, empathy, social skills, tolerance and adaptability, anger and reaction management, stress management, tie management and communication.

So is this a skill that can be taught and inculcated? According to scholars and researchers the most important aspect is to focus and improve curiosity quotient, inculcate the attribute of having an open mind to learn and understand greater points of view not just one’s own. The continuous desire to find more information, to learn about things, helps to gather and absorb information, analyse self and others better  and take informed decision and if required change decision or respond in a manner as the need may be without compromising integrity. If we can nurture and sustain a curious mind, we earn more and in consequence we absorb and adopt more. Curiosity is an attribute that can be nurtured and cultivated, being aware and being more open are attribute that can be nurtured and cultivated; so emotional intelligence can be nurtured and cultivated. The first step is to plant the thought and keep the mind open to the ever flowing lessons from the universe.

With Digital revolution happening around us, social media and apps allowing a platform to everyone to emote and react and respond, the next big revolution according to experts will be social revolution, the next big focus will be society and environment in all its gamut of areas and we are already seeing that happening. Corporate organizations irrespective of its business cannot stay isolated, they will need to stay relevant and as their business expand and functions evolve, they will still work with human resources. Today corporations are tracking employee behaviour on social media and taking suitable actions wherever there are examples of deviant behaviour. But that is only a punitive measure. Tracking emotional intelligence positively and extensively and using analytics can yield many benefits for corporates Corporate companies.  The HR systems therefore, must gear up to track the emotional intelligence of employees by tracking each component of emotional and social intelligence right from curiosity to learn, social empathy, response and communication others, self-control and anger management, teaming  ability, stress management, social giveback etc. These parameters can then be monitored and evaluated for next role and made part of performance evaluation.

About the author:

Sonali Sengupta is a regular contributor on SOAIS blogs and brings to the table 25 years of HR domain & technology experience. She has led several large HR transformation programs and has seen HR evolve from a back-office, operations function to a strategic enabler of customer businesses. Sonali can be contacted at sonali.sengupta2001@gmail.com

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