Stress Management, Well-being and Self-Care

Using Emotional Intelligence to Reduce Employee Turnover

Using Emotional Intelligence to reduce employee turnover By Lynn Thomas, JD

by James Porter January 09, 2020

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is our ability to be aware of, control, and express our emotions as well as understanding the emotions of others. There are many advantages to developing your emotional intelligence (EQ), but the most compelling is it is responsible for much of the success you achieve in life, much more than IQ!  Also, unlike IQ, you can easily increase your EQ.

A recent Harvard Business Review article states, "Whether in the C-suite or on the front lines, emotionally intelligent employees are a critical force driving innovation and enhanced customer experiences that come from a strong culture of empowerment. Emotional intelligence is increasingly and urgently recognized as a competitive advantage for companies that want to cultivate a purpose-driven workforce for the future."

EQ is a key trait that employers should be looking for in employees in 2020. 

  1. According the World Economic Forum EQ is 6th of the top ten skills needed for workers at all levels of organizations in 2020 and beyond.
  2. McKinsey Group predicts that the need for EQ skills will outpace the need for cognitive skills by 2030.
  3. Yet, in a recent article by the Harvard Business Review, only 18% of companies report that emotional intelligence is ingrained in their culture.

Is your business in the top 18% that embraces emotional intelligence or the bottom 82% that does not? Read the following list to find out what  emotional intelligence looks like in an organization:

  1. Feedback easily given and received.
  2. Employees feel safe to take risks, innovate, and admit mistakes.
  3. Employees handle conflict well.
  4. Meetings are engaging and productive.
  5. Employees are skilled at having difficult conversations.
  6. Leaders effectively manage change.
  7. Employees skillfully manage emotions.
  8. Employees listen without judgment or jumping to conclusions.
  9. Employees don’t become defensive when given constructive feedback.
  10. Employees are skilled at managing pressure and tension.

Here are some common experiences that may occur at companies that do not embrace emotional intelligence.

  1. Meetings: Have you ever been bored in a meeting and wishing that it would end? Considering everyone’s compensation for that time, meetings are also very expensive, so they need to be highly productive. If your company’s meetings are not engaging, the leader probably has a low EQ.
  • Leader with higher EQ: would ask people for their opinions, probe underneath each person’s initial response, take a deep dive into the rationale behind each idea, and ask for the pros and cons of any options. This leader will notice anyone who is disengaged and ask what must happen for that person to be engaged. A well-run meeting is an active, alive, vibrant, and powerful discussion that may uncover the seeds for the company’s next service or product that will catapult it over its competitors.
  1. Raised Voices: Have you ever seen a person raise his/her voice in front of others? If so, you have probably noticed that fewer and fewer people around that person will speak up in the future. A raised voice has a negative impact on all the people who witnessed or even heard about the event, created shame for the recipient, and created a less safe and productive work environment for everyone. These outbursts are extremely detrimental since they decrease the trust level and it could take years to rebuild.
  • Leaders with higher EQ manage their emotions and will only speak positively in front of others. If they have a problem with an employee, they will speak to that person in private. They learn to express criticism fairly in ways that encourage the employee to do better next time, while giving them the option to respond to the criticism as well.
  1. Speaking Negatively: Have you experienced a person at work speaking negatively to you? If so, did you attempt to give that person feedback but what they said hurt you, was mean, or was wrong? If so, did that person reply by saying you are too sensitive, you need to grow a thicker skin, or it is your problem that you feel as you do because s/he did not intend for it to have the negative impact? Any such response indicates an individual with a low EQ. Likely result: higher than necessary employee disengagement, satisfaction, and turnover. Over 60% of employees leave a company because of the negative relationship with their boss.
  • People with higher EQ realize they bear the responsibility for how a statement lands on an employee and will ask for feedback or do a check-in to find out how the person is doing after receiving such feedback.
Lynn M. Thomas, JD, CEO Thomas Consulting, Inc. 
65 Staniford Street   Newton, MA 02466
Phone: 781-899-4210 Email:

James Porter
James Porter


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