- Training leaders to recognize, understand and consider employees’ emotions may help improve retention and employee satisfaction, according to internal research published Sept. 15 by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
- VTT surveyed 850 of its 2,100 employees on subjects in conjunction with an emotional skills training program involving 200 of its leaders. Since the start of the study in spring 2021, VTT said it observed a 25% decrease in the amount of sick days taken, as well as improvements in satisfaction with leadership, performance and well-being.
- The company said the effort tackled needs including improved psychological safety and emotional agency, the latter defined as the awareness, understanding and consideration of both positive and negative emotions at work. These concepts help to provide a safe environment for workers to learn, take risks and innovate, Kirsi Nuotto, VTT’s senior VP of HR, said in a statement.
At a time when HR teams have tried just about everything to keep quality employees from leaving, some in the industry have called on organizations to look inward and question mindsets that lead to disengagement. That line of thinking connects to concepts such as psychological safety, which may be defined as the shared belief that a team environment is a safe one in which members are able to take interpersonal risks.
Such ideas have only grown in relevance since the beginning of the pandemic as workers across industries have dealt with constant strains on their mental health. Self-doubt and anxiety have also taken hold in some organizations, causing employees to question whether employers are truly supporting them, according to a recent isolved survey.
HR teams may have an uphill battle to climb in terms of helping their organizations recognize the importance of concepts like emotional intelligence. One pre-pandemic study found that fewer than 20% of organizations emphasized emotional intelligence in their cultures, even as those that did reported higher engagement and productivity levels.
Sources who previously spoke to HR Dive have said that learning and development teams play a key role in building support for emotional intelligence training by, for instance, presenting data to senior leaders on the benefits of positive interactions between team members and managers. This type of training may encompass a broad range of behaviors, including managing disruptive or knee-jerk responses to emotional triggers and tapping into positive emotions, such as confidence and enthusiasm, HR Dive previously reported.