(First published in Yahoo! Small Business)
Between the hours of nine and five, should you care that one of your employees may be going through a divorce or have a loved one battling cancer?
“Leave your personal life at the door,” isn’t that what good managers advise?
We all know the most effective employees are stoic, logical, and even clinical when navigating the corporate world, right?
Ha. Maybe in the 1950’s. The “good old days” when people were treated like machines and emotions were a sign of weakness.
And how about that eight hour work day? It’s been proven to be the absolute most effective system of turning out the highest quality of productive employees…hasn’t it?
Uh, no. The eight hour work day was invented by Robert Owen to improve extreme working conditions during the Industrial Revolution – when factories were working their employees to the bone and paying them pennies. It certainly was better than what those 18th century workers were used to…but is a staunch 8-hour day, 5 days a week the best way to get the premium work out of your modern-day employees?
It seems that cultivating a happy work environment has been a rising trend among start-ups ever since Tony Hsieh founded Zappos and became obsessed with creating a strong company culture. Flexible work environments have been proven to reduce stress, enhance employee engagement, and improve their physical and mental health – all leading to a boost in productivity.
Across the United States, there are prestigious awards for companies with the best work environments and the qualifications tend to all revolve around the same things:
1. Relationship with Supervisor
2. Job Title Satisfaction
3. Flexible Work Environment
4. Employee Engagement
What do all these traits have in common? On closer inspection, all of them really depend on the emotional intelligence (EQ) of the CEO and those employees hired. Emotional intelligence is becoming a buzzword in the corporate world. In fact, more managers are starting to value emotional intelligence over IQ.
Let’s examine the above traits as they relate to EQ, shall we?
Relationship with Supervisor.
The emotionally intelligent boss must understand that he/she is managing human beings…not robots. A human being’s lack of performance on a given day could have to do with problems in their personal lives. Having an open, appropriate dialogue between employer and employee is a good thing. This does not mean the employee gets a free pass to do subpar work because he/she drank too much last night or woke up on the wrong side of the bed! But a healthy amount of understanding from the boss builds a good relationship where employees feel valued, which in turn, makes them want to work harder.
Job Title Satisfaction.
In the interview process, the CEO should have listened to the employee to make sure that the employee’s dreams and goals fell in line with that particular company. This way, the employee feels that their boss is committed to his/her personal growth and success. Trying to fit square pegs in round holes rarely ever leads to a low turn-over rate. Hire emotionally smart.
Flexible Work Environment.
Any good manager of a creative team has the emotional wherewithal to understand that creativity is sometimes elusive. Fostering continuous creativity includes letting your talent work in such a way that is conducive to his/her own creative facilities. Control freaks don’t tend to do very well in this department. If you’ve hired smart, you won’t need to control.
An employee is going to work better on projects they are passionate about and with people they enjoy working with. This all goes back to hiring smart and putting together a team of people who share the same goals / values (company culture) and fit together as a cohesive team.
In considering, building, or revitalizing your company culture, ALWAYS come from a place of emotional intelligence. It will save you time and money – and also make your work life that much more fulfilling.