Emotional Intelligence and Attrition

Yes, we are a generation of job hoppers. Yes, we don’t think of “stability” as a cool word. Yes, we believe in “moving on” to greener pastures. But is that what we really are at heart? A bunch of Bedouins forever gazing down the horizon raring to get back on the road?

As seen in most movies, each of us reach decisions, on one hand, derived after putting our brains into it; while on the other side, by being led by our hearts. Research in “Employee Hiring and Attrition” suggests that whilst most employees take up a job role based on logical reasons (in other words by putting their brains into it), employees who leave an organization often cite emotional reasons such as dissatisfaction, disagreement, conflict, burnout etc. (in other words ‘they follow their heart’). Ergo mental intelligence comes into play in hiring and emotional intelligence is the head gaping at the guillotine in attrition.

Let us better understand “Emotional Intelligence”.

The pioneer researcher in this field, Daniel Goleman, defines it as "the ability to recognize and regulate emotions in ourselves and in others."

Broadly categorized, Emotional Intelligence comprises of:

  • Self Awareness
  • Self Management
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Management

Most hiring procedures often take the assistance of Intelligence Tests, in other words, give more importance to the Intelligence Quotient or the cognitive abilities of the person to judge his fitment for the job. Whilst many imminent psychologists like Raymond Cattell have included Intelligence within the paradigm of an individual’s personality, the latter is still often not touched upon due to the general dissent formal settings seem to have for the “F” word, yes I mean “Feelings”.

So, since when did I.Q become an unreliable determinant? Since researches proved that contrary to general belief, I.Q. has no correlation with E.Q (Emotional Quotient). Studies show that E.Q. has zero correlation with fluid intelligence and .36 correlation with verbal intelligence both of which are clearly insignificant (Mayer 2000, Bar-On 2009).

Elucidating the aforementioned reasons of attrition, most organizations seem to be under the idea that stress tolerance and resilience are the major determiners of an employee’s reaction to any situation which is an outcome of the function of the “F” word. Hiring procedures are often known to scrupulously follow a protocol of putting up situation induced pressure tests and simulation questions which are answered equally diligently by the contenders. The fact here being, when asked to imagine situations and their outcomes, the brain is at work, but when such situations play out in real life, well, the heart wants what it wants.

The best way to deal with this?

  • Employee Mentoring Sessions:- Unlike I.Q. which is defined from birth, E.Q. is a constantly evolving entity. The good news being, even if you initially picked your star employee on the basis of his cognitive ability, you can still develop his emotional quotient. Consistent assistance in the form of mentoring sessions, where an independent authority (preferably a psychologist) talks to the employees individually about their emotional fitment in the organization will help in this case.
  • Toying with Team Dynamics:- Every team has the potential to turn into an excerpt from the “Lord of the Flies”. The best Emotional Intelligence exercise, to deal with this, would be to enable an intermittent shuffling procedure within teams that ensures more variety and less monotony in the team structure and thereby in the source of authority or leadership style.
  • The ‘Let’s Blame the Leader’ Game:- Most attritions are directly contingent on the leadership style of their supervisors. The Ohio State studies stand testimony to this fact proving that leadership that attaches the element of consideration to its methods often wins over employees better than the task oriented method of functioning. Hence it must be made mandatory for the supervisor to specify and justify the leadership style used for each task, and even more so if the latter is witnessed to be relatively inconsistent.
  • Employee Mental Wellness Programs:- Mental Wellness is often mistaken for the condition devoid of some mental illness from the ‘Shrink Jargon’ say schizophrenia, mood disorder or the much abused depression. Mental wellness, in fact, means training one’s emotions to act in a relatively balanced way, controlling countterproductive emotional outbursts etc.

It seems to be just yesterday and still eons ago, that the Hawthorne Studies in General Electric proved that employees were much more than workers, that they were humans fully engineered to be capable of thinking and feeling satisfaction and dissent. It is time we considered harnessing these features and using them the right way.


Add new comment

Please enter the text you see in the image below: