Stats: Emotional Intelligence Raises Customer Loyalty

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Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBR-AS) has conducted a study on emotional intelligence (EI).

Presented by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, it calls for a resurgence in EI within the corporate world. According to the report, EI was an integral part of corporate cultures, but is now being undervalued. What executives are saying about the importance of company culture and what they are doing are not in congruency. Four Seasons sponsored the HBR-AS study to shine a light on the “EI Advantage” as a pathway to innovation.

Emotional intelligence includes self-awareness, self-control, empathy and social skills. Although crucial for relationships, it is often minimized as a ‘nice-to-have’ soft skill, according to the report. Mental toughness, drive and analytical ability are often prioritized. 

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Alex Clemente, managing director, HBR-AS, says emotionally intelligent employers attract young talent.

“Employers wanting to create the workplace of the future – the one that Millennials are demanding – must understand that ignoring EI not only has grave impact on their human capital, but ultimately on their future success,” said Alex Clemente in a written statement.

Mastery of EI skills are necessary for the reputation of a brand. The study evaluates EI in the workplace to understand why there’s a disconnect between theory and practice, and why it is occasionally dismissed as a "soft skill."

Here are some key findings from the study: 

  • The EI Advantage: Employees with high EI skills are more likely to form creative teams, bring multiple perspectives to challenging issues and find innovative solutions.
  • EI Enhances the Customer Experience: Emotionally intelligent organizations report significantly stronger customer experiences (37 percent vs. 8 percent) and higher levels of customer loyalty (40 percent vs. 12 percent) and customer advocacy (31 percent vs. 8 percent) than companies that do not perceive the value of EI or foster its development among their employees.
  • The EI Deficit and Disconnect: Less than one-fifth (18 percent) of respondents have EI engrained in their corporate culture. Half of respondents are either neutral or uncommitted to EI, and one-third (33 percent) don’t perceive its value to their organization.
  • Millennials Matter: Study after study echoes the refrain: millennials are the future workforce, replacing a generation of baby boomers gradually entering retirement. Twenty–seven percent of survey respondents believe Millennials expect purpose and meaning in their work, and place purpose high on their list of career priorities, well above incentives and rewards (10 percent) and technological advancements (5 percent). 
  • The Gap Between Theory and Practice: While emotionally intelligent companies are making progress on the implementation of practical steps to prioritize EI, there is still room for improvement. A small number embed EI skills into job descriptions and performance reviews (27 percent), and a somewhat larger percentage provide classes, seminars and online courses (40 percent). One-half or fewer provide EI-inspired coaching and mentoring.

For more information, visit https://hbr.org/hbr-analytic-services

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