Editor’s Note: This article is written by Justine McGrath, ProACTive Coaching’s owner and EBW System assessment and training facilitator. “How To Engage Your Emotional Intelligence To Adapt To Different Work Environments” is originally published in the 23rd PERFORMANCE Magazine – Printed Edition.
In 2020 the world of work changed forever. Companies with adaptable managers and leaders survived and, in some cases, thrived. Those who didn’t suffered.
In a survey done by the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway in 2022, a staggering 95% of respondents said working remotely makes life easier. Thirty percent of respondents said they would change job – even if it meant taking a pay cut — if their employers did not take into account their remote working preferences.
It was not all plain sailing for those working from home. It only took a few weeks before we saw the toll it was taking on some, as the lines blurred between work and home. For working parents, having to balance your job with trying to homeschool was extremely challenging.
There are emotional challenges for employees with all three types of working. According to a Microsoft Report in 2021, 54% of remote workers feel overworked and 39% feel exhausted. Zoom Fatigue is also a factor with many meetings running consecutively.
For those who have returned to the office full time, the daily commute is a reminder of a way of life they would rather avoid every day. Employees have to grapple with higher levels of stress, and this affects their ability to regulate their emotions.
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand how our emotions and behaviours impact firstly on ourselves and then on others. In order to adapt to these new ways of working, employees need to be aware of how to best manage their emotions to ensure they can continue to perform at their best.
How Leaders Build Trust and Accountability
Employers need two traits if they want their team to adapt to new ways of working: trust and accountability. This is especially important if you have certain people in the team working from home and some in the office. Employees need to feel they are part of the team and have a shared sense of responsibility. This gives them a sense of autonomy, which builds trust.
Psychological safety is paramount. Give people an opportunity to air their views, grievances, and fears. Managers may see this as a threat to their role or as being too soft, whereas nothing could be further from the truth.
You need to be aware of what will enable peak performance from your employees. If you want to ensure success in the workplace, building trust and accountability is essential.
To build trust and accountability, develop your self-awareness. How? Understand your style of leadership and whether or not it is effective. Get regular feedback from a trusted source.
Self-regulation is how you manage yourself in the workplace. It is vital to understand your own emotions and behaviors so that you can adapt and improve where necessary. Do you have any blind spots in this area? How do people respond to you? This is the intrapersonalaspect of EI – managing the self.
When it comes to managing others – the interpersonalaspect of EI – social awareness is key. Who are the best communicators in your team? Is there someone who is struggling and could use a little empathy right now? Put yourself in their situation and see it from their point of view. Using EI to deal with your own emotions and behaviors and to understand those of others will propel you from a good leader to an excellent one.
Emotional Intelligence for Employees
In the same way that the manager or leader has to be fully aware of how their emotions and behaviors impact both themselves and others, the same holds true for any employee.
This is particularly important if they are feeling apprehensive about the options available in the workplace. They need to feel safe to voice their concerns.
The most important aspect of developing self-awareness is understanding what it is about your job that motivates you. If going back to the office de-motivates you, why is that? Could you express those issues/concerns to your manager? If you are going to move to a hybrid work model, have you prepared yourself mentally for that change? What are the advantages and disadvantages, and how do they affect you?
EBW model of Business Emotional Intelligence is about the ability to use your intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence to focus on the critical emotions and underlying behavioural traits that predict occupational performance.
Any good manager will appreciate an employee who takes the initiative on issues that arise. Try to find a potential solution before you talk to management. It’s about building trust, communicating openly, and not being afraid to stand up for what you need.
Get yourself into the right mindset. If there are obstacles in your way or you feel unsupported, how could you change that?
Being aware of both the intrapersonal traits and the interpersonal traits of EI will enhance your career prospects. Use self-awareness to take your own personal audit of how the new way of working is going to affect you. Use social awareness to see if it will impact how you relate to both your manager and your colleagues to ensure clear communication going forward.
To conclude, both employers and employees need to take stock at this time of change. If we can develop our EI to communicate clearly, build trust and accountability, and nurture both the self and each other, the future looks bright.
About the author
Justine McGrath is an executive coach and trainer who specializes in Emotional Intelligence. She is the owner of ProACTive Coaching and is a facilitator of the EBW System of assessments and training.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to business closures and financial losses. As a result, the number of people quitting their jobs or getting laid off has increased. According to the International Labor Organization’s “ILO Monitor:COVID-19 and the world of work, “…there were unprecedented global employment losses in 2020 of 114 million jobs relative to 2019.”
For organizations monitoring this labor issue, it would reflect the % Employee turnover rate, a key performance indicator (KPI) that refers to the rate at which employees leave an organization in a given period. Consequently, % Employee Turnover Rate increased due to the effects of the pandemic. The increase was sustained by Involuntary Employee Turnover, which occurs when employees are terminated from their positions.
The economy-wide closures further disrupted the employment structure for all but essential workers. This caused an increase in the disparities between industries and social classes, with the turnover being greater among women, youth, and minorities. Moreover, the impact of the pandemic on the work system has a significant variation between regions.
The most affected were the low-wage industries requiring high human interaction, such as transportation, hospitality, food service, construction, retail, and creative industries. The State of Working America report revealed that between February 2020 and February 2021, the U.S. hospitality industry registered the highest employment loss in the nation. It is the hardest-hit sector due to a large period of restricted international mobility, losing nearly 3.5 million jobsor 20.4% by the beginning of 2021.
Changing jobs or moving to another employer seemed difficult during the pandemic. However, even if movement restrictions are subsiding and life seems to get back to normal, the employee turnover remains on an ascending trend.
Nonetheless, the job market is confronted with another challenge, and this time, it is generated by the Voluntary Employee Turnover. This type of turnover happens when an employee leaves a job mainly because they found a new job. However, the turnover can also result from promotion within the company or retirement.
Employee Turnover in the Hospitality Industry
In the hospitality industry, a bounce-back was expected as restrictions began to be lifted, but a shortage of employees countered the previsions. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of employees from the sector who quit their jobs is on an ascending trend. In March 2020, 534.000 employees quit their job in the hospitality industry. The number raised to 703.000 in March 2021, while the preliminary data for March 2022 show that 889.000 employees from the sector quit.
The situation does not seem to improve as the results of the University of Central Florida study on the state of industry employment reveal that former hospitality employees are reluctant to return to work due to the pandemic and are seeking professional opportunities in different industries.
Going through the experience of a global pandemic has shifted people’s perspective of what work should be like. Although the reasons for leaving a job are subjective to each person, the most common changes seem to be oriented towards flexibility and well-being.
Even if employee turnover is seen as a result of poor business performance in an economy affected by restrictions or a change in priorities among employees, the effect of the pandemic is beyond doubt. It would continue to change the global work system and employee turnover. The change is characterized by the implementation of permanent remote or hybrid work policies, making job opportunities from around the world available, changing the jobs of essential workers, and even the phasing out of certain jobs due to automation.
Therefore, now organizations have to focus on employee retention. Together with employees, companies have to find ways to adapt to the new normal, reach a mutual understanding, and find a balance between employee expectations and business performance.
To overcome the impact of the pandemic on the % Employee Turnover Rate, organizations in the hospitality sector and even in other industries, especially in low-wage ones, could improve their compensation for employees. Meanwhile, employers could also go beyond the financial perspective and develop non-financial incentives by creating healthy and safe working environments, incorporating flexible working schedules and work-from-home options, and supporting employees as they pursue work-life balance.
To ensure employee retention, organizations must improve their communication with employees to better understand their needs, keep them motivated and engaged, create the right growth opportunities, and offer them deserved recognition.
The KPI Institute’s Professional and Practitioner training courses in Employee Performance Management are designed to help professionals in designing, implementing, and monitoring performance systems that are matched with the company’s strategic goals.
The topic of work-life balance is at the front of the minds of many companies and employees. In today’s fast-paced culture, human resource professionals are looking for ways to improve their firms’ bottom lines, boost employee morale, retain people with vital company expertise, and keep up with workplace changes.
Pandemics continue to wreak havoc on people’s lives and livelihoods across the world. While most talks center on the fear of contracting the disease, living in houses, overcrowded nursing homes, and business closures of all kinds, the crisis has also produced some positive outcomes. Reduced vehicle traffic and traffic accidents, decreased levels of air pollution, which must contribute to lower heart attack rates, and a renewing atmosphere could be considered the “silver lining” during these times.
The pandemic became a bridge for community action, family communication, behavior, sanitation, cleanliness, and online and distance education to happen. It is a blessing to be able to breathe clean air and drink pure water. It is now up to people to live a life considerate of all the gifts that nature has bestowed upon them. This kind and sensitive way of life will give you hope for a healthy and stress-free life.
Does work from home raise productivity?
“Working remotely has given me more space for long-term thinking and helped me spend more time with my family, which has made me happier and more productive at work,” Mark Zuckerberg,Facebook founder and CEO wrote. He has also said that he expects about half of Facebook’s employees to be fully remote within the next decade.
According to aStanford study of 16,000 workers done over nine months, working from home enhances productivity by 13%. Workers in the same research reported higher job satisfaction and a 50% reduction in attrition rates.
Whether they are a parent, carers, or pet owners, today’s remote employees must juggle a multitude of duties while working from home. Many employees have struggled to reconcile the obligations of their business with the needs of their families or households. This is why the concept of work-life balance is often tossed around. Employers, on the other hand, have acknowledged that each employee is unique. To ensure self-managed and independent personnel, several firms choose to offer personality-like assessments in the workplace.
Working in a team can create synergy, since a good team will likely produce better results than individuals working separately. However, measuring team performance is even more challenging than measuring the performance of each employee separately, since you have to take into consideration each and every member’s performance, in relation to the others’, as well as the overall team’s.
In general, employees are members of departments. A department is a subdivision of an organization and an individual, generally, can only be part of one department. That being said, nowadays, teams are more flexible in how they are formed and how they operate: a team can be a temporary group formed to work on a specific task or project. Therefore, employees can be members of only one department, but several teams.
The first step is to link the team results to the organization’s goals, by cascading the objectives and KPIs from the organizational level to the team level. It is not very productive to have a well-performing team whose work does not help the organization reach higher performance goals.
Key aspects of team performance measurement
There are many indicators and measurements that can be useful when considering measuring your team’s results. In what follows, we’ve put together a list of the most widely employed benchmarks, so that you may get a general feel for what is considered useful to keep track of.
Employee attendance: Employee attendance is an important aspect of team performance since absenteeism incurs excess costs and will have an unwanted effect on team productivity & employee morale.
Moreover, late employees can be the source of annoyance or frustration, which will reduce team cohesion and further reduce a working unit’s effectiveness. Therefore, attendance related KPIs should be the first ones to track, when we talk about team performance:
% Absenteeism: Indicates the percentage of employees within the team who are repeatedly and/or unexpectedly absent, out of the total team members.
$ Lost time accounting: Measures the potential revenue lost because of idle workers or wasted hours within the team.
# Time lost by starting work late: Measures the volume of time lost due to employees starting their working hours late.
Client satisfaction: Every team has an internal/external customer, which is why satisfaction can be a good measurement unit. Improving customer satisfaction will eventually result in a more efficient production process, better service and ultimately, lead to more satisfied external customers. The most important KPI to measure in this regard is the following:
% Customer satisfaction: Measures the level of satisfaction exhibited by the team’s customers (current employees, distributors, vendors, departments, or external clients), towards the inter-functional services provided, be it communication, productivity and/or responsiveness.
Employee retention within the team: A low retention level or a high turnover level is usually connected with low levels of efficiency and productivity, which in the end can lead to a negative impact on an organization’s overall results.
This aspect can be influenced not just by the team performance, but also by the HR department’s performance, the working environment and work policies, the supervisor, as well as the promotion and professional development opportunities for the future. However, high level of employee turnover within a specific team could indicate team-related problems.
The most important employee retention KPIs to measure are the following:
% Employee turnover: Measures the rate at which employees leave the team in a given time period (e.g., month, quarter, year).
% Employee retention rate: Measures the total number of employees retained at the end of the reporting period, expressed as a percentage from the total number of employees that were in the team at the start.
Employee satisfaction: Studies suggest a direct correlation between employee satisfaction, employee engagement and increased performance. Employee engagement can be increased through various company efforts, such as facilitating the development of skills for its employees, giving them a sense of trust and integrity, and clarifying their opportunities for future career development. The most important indicators to take into consideration, when looking to improve or maintain employee satisfaction, are the following:
% Employee satisfaction: Measures the employees’ satisfaction and motivation level, with aspects regarding their job and working environment: job responsibilities, team and management, workplace, and professional development.
# Employee Engagement Index: Measures the engagement level of employees in their work activities and responsibilities, in terms of enthusiasm, commitment and discretionary effort.
Productivity of individuals: Productivity of individuals is a key element of team performance. The following KPIs help measure a team’s contribution to the organizational goals, and the contribution of its members to the general team results:
$ Profit per employee: Measures the team’s contribution to the overall profit pool. It is a particularly important ratio in customer-focused businesses, such as those in the service sector.
$ Sales per employee: Measures a team member’s productivity and efficiency in generating sales.
% Human Capital Return on Investment (ROI): Measures the return on investing in a team’s human capital, after adjusting for the cost of financial capital.
$ Human capital value added: Measures the value added through productive activities, by a team’s members. Reflects the adjusted operating profitability figure, calculated by subtracting all expenses except for labor expenses, from revenue, and dividing the adjusted profit figure by the total headcount.
OKRs or KPIs?
In some specific cases, where the productivity of a team is not directly linked to the organizational revenue or profit (ex. support teams), it is more advisable to use OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), instead of KPIs (Key performance indicators), to measure productivity.
OKRs contain a well-defined objective and one or more key results. OKRs help define how to achieve a goal through concrete, measurable actions. So, in case of the support teams, these results should be measured to track team performance, as they will be able to paint a more accurate picture of their efforts.
It is a complex process to measure team performance; therefore, it should be analyzed from numerous angles, according to each team’s specialization and workload. It should be noted that the aforementioned indicators are not the only ones which can portray a group’s results. However, if you are looking for a quick introduction into this topic, these KPIs will serve as a sustainable foundation on which you can build your employee management system.
Performance management is evolving. Increasingly, organizations are abandoning their annual appraisal systems and moving toward continuous performance management — a more agile and intuitive way to engage and motivate employees.