The importance of emotional intelligence - also known as emotional intelligence quotient (EIQ) - cannot be underestimated in the customer relationship process of finance organisations in the UK and many have already started to invest in EIQ programmes. Understanding personal emotional behaviour and that of others, then being able to analyse and use the data to drive decision making, has become a powerful tool in the customer relationship journey. But exactly what value can emotional intelligence bring to today’s customer-focused finance businesses?
In a world of digital transformation, there’s one area within finance which can’t be automated and that is face-to-face communication with clients and key stakeholders. It’s an area that requires someone with a high level of competency in emotional intelligence – an executive or manager that can positively engage with a range of different individuals.
Emotional intelligence – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management – is a key component when interacting with customers, but what are the other components? Empathy springs to mind as those who display empathy and have high EIQs often tend to be more successful in customer-focused situations. They can quickly make the right judgement on how to interact with an individual or a group of people to achieve the most positive outcome and this approach can create a feel-good factor which tends to drive commercial success.
Even though we know that technical expertise in most areas of finance is integral, this is not viewed by many of our clients as a necessity and it’s the employees that can successfully communicate and influence others, who are achieving career success.
Integrating emotional intelligence competencies into existing training programmes
So how do we integrate EIQ into an organisation? The foundation of having a high EIQ starts with understanding yourself as a person and personality profiling exercises are a good way to do this, Myers Briggs is one example.
You’ll naturally find it easier to engage with those people who have a similar personality type to yourself initially, but in order to create a successful or diverse environment, part of a personality profiling exercise is to provide tools and advice to successfully communicate with those personality types that don’t naturally energise you. Other ideas for integrating EIQ could include, role plays, debating sessions and books on the topic.
Can emotional intelligence be used to improve business productivity?
At its worst, a lack of EIQ in any business can lead to conflicts, such as bullying, demotivation and even illness. An unhealthy and disengaged workforce will reduce productivity levels. Promoting an environment in which EIQ is championed will undoubtedly create a clear communication pathway that will lead to a better understanding of goals, a sharpening of team focus, motivation, and the ability to get the best out of those in your business. Staff attrition rates should decrease as should sick leave, which would have a positive impact on productivity.
Businesses need to think about the best way to utilise EIQ and pairing it with AI might be one solution to improve the overall customer experience.
Lorraine Twist, Director, Professional Services UK at Michael Page Finance says: “I strongly believe that businesses need to be investing in AI to ensure they are early innovators. We have seen very successful businesses in the past shrink and disappear when not moving with the market, so the key is to listen to the customer. Nearly all customers want a streamlined and efficient process that is easy to understand, along with human interaction and understanding. Any business or individual who has a focus on both AI and EIQ will without a doubt achieve success.”
If you’re recruiting right now with emotional intelligence high on your candidate wish list, you should expect to hear the following buzz words from candidates hoping to prove their aptitude for the role:
- team focus,
- influencing, and
- achieving a common goal
Emotional intelligence is a key attribute in most finance roles when recruiting, but it will require a sufficient amount of time to be embedded into any organisation’s culture. It requires training, both theoretical and practical, and needs to be further reinforced through company values, 360 appraisals and company behaviours. However, the benefits will be worth it in the long run.
If you would like any more information or to discuss how we can help with your recruitment processes, get in touch with one of our specialist finance consultants today.