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Why Hiring for Emotional Intelligence is Crucial in Today’s Labor Market

The labor market has been turned on its head since the pandemic. The same holds true for the way we work. Remote working and virtual meetings are now the norm. Candidate pipelines are drying up, and the Great Resignation is under way. Although remote working was becoming more accepted and commonly adopted pre-pandemic, since early 2020 remote working is here to stay—and will only grow over the coming years.

As organizations increasingly hire more and more remote workers, the impact on how employees and teams communicate and work together is huge, as is the impact on how leaders lead their teams. These impacts, in turn, are radically transforming organizational cultures. And this is where hiring for emotional intelligence can be a key component to helping your organization succeed during this time of transition.

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

With a high degree of emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ), in the workplace, employees use empathy, social skills, self-esteem, self-awareness, self-motivation and self-regulation to manage relationships, solve problems, innovate, make decisions, and communicate with co-workers, customers, and vendors.

Imagine having an organization of high–EQ people able to accurately assess situations and make strong business decisions while maintaining control of their emotions. High-EQ employees communicate and collaborate better, creating invigorating culture change and energizing an organization.

Benefits of Hiring Emotional Intelligence in Remote Work Environments

As companies hire more remote workers, managers are increasingly skeptical about whether the work is getting done now that their employees are no longer in the office. This affects every aspect of the worker-manager relationship, such as how a manager asks questions while checking in on the progress and status of work.

Hiring a people manager with a high degree of emotional intelligence can reduce defensiveness in employees because High-EQ managers are naturally more intuitive and empathic about the needs and mood of employees. These managers are able to fluently make subtle changes to the way they interact and communicate, which helps address unwanted employee behavior sooner rather than later. Managers who are effective in using emotional intelligence skills can be more successful in building trust with their people. Managers with high emotional intelligence are also good at building collaboration within their teams. This is a critical skill set in remote environments.

Hiring an employee with a high degree of emotional intelligence can lead to the employee being more self-disciplined in working from home where their direct manager isn’t present to directly supervise them. High-EQ employees are more collaborative and likely to initiate positive communication with peers and their direct manager. They have healthy conflict with teammates and look for win-win scenarios.

Benefits of Hiring Emotional Intelligence for Building the Leadership Bench

The current labor shortages aren’t going away immediately. Even before the pandemic, leadership shortages were being projected. In a recent survey by DDI, only 11% of firms surveyed said they had an adequate leadership bench ready to step up.

Hiring for emotional intelligence can provide a significant competitive advantage by helping build a leadership pipeline of excellent communicators, collaborators, and team-builders. If you factor in identifying and hiring for emotional intelligence on the front end of the human capital equation, you will assure the availability of top talent to fill leadership vacancies when they arise.

Have you ever wondered why some sports teams always have great players in certain positions? It’s because these teams are laser-focused on recruiting and talent acquisition efforts to focus on certain skill sets that lead to desired outcomes and results. The same idea holds true for building a solid leadership pipeline.

Benefits of Hiring Emotional Intelligence for Retaining Top Talent

The workforce is changing, and employees have more leverage than ever before. The data suggests employees are wanting more work-life balance and that certain management styles won’t work with today’s workers.

Hiring people leaders with high emotional intelligence directly increases employee retention. A recent study found that employees are 400% less likely to leave their job if they have a high-EQ manager. With the candidate pipeline drying up, it’s more important than ever to hire managers with high emotional intelligence in order to develop and retain talent.


The labor market and workplace are in major transition and candidate pipelines are drying up. Companies that place an emphasis on hiring emotional intelligence will be better positioned than most to survive and thrive going forward.

If you would like to learn more about emotional intelligence and how it can benefit your organization, contact ZERORISK HR.


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