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Perfect Partners AI & EQ
Inside Learning Technologies eMagazine December 2019

In our world of digitalization and automation, the tendency could be to forget about the humans that are at the heart and soul of our businesses. Could these technological advances mean that humans are becoming surplus to requirements? Could our jobs eventually all be automated and swallowed up by a bot? Before you start falling down the rabbit warren of despair, it's time to think about disrupting the workforce and our individual roles as we frequently disrupt our other business processes. Just as you would approach a work process that needs to be updated, look at your workforce and ask, what can they do that the machines cannot? The answer lies in their Emotional Quotient (EQ), the measure of their Emotional Intelligence (EI).

The term Emotional Intelligence was originally used in a psychology paper in 1964 and was popularized in Daniel Goleman's book, Emotional Intelligence in 1995 in which he characterized the five elements of EI as:

  • self-awareness
  • self-regulation
  • motivation
  • empathy
  • social skills.
Goleman presented the view that EQ actually matters more than IQ, and more recent studies have revealed that in business, high levels of EQ resulted in increased productivity, employee satisfaction, and profitability.

The need for an increase in EQ in the workforce has never been as important as it is today. As AI and automation take over more of the everyday workloads adding a new level of efficiency and productivity to businesses, the one thing that machines have not yet mastered is the ability to replicate and emulate human emotion. The World Economic Forum's list of 'The 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution' saw Emotional Intelligence ranked sixth, confirming that the ability to understand and manage emotions, both your own and others, plus the capacity to use these skills effectively at work is vital. Companies should be focusing on this non-cognitive skill-set and develop it in their workforce, and individuals must nurture their own EQ in order to stay relevant.

In recent history a high Emotional Quotient (EQ) was seen as something needed by senior members of staff and HR, however, employees at all levels need to develop their skill-set to make themselves more valuable in the workplace, therefore, more employable. A recent report from Capgemini said that 'every job level will benefit from an increased emotional intelligence quotient'. The workforce will need to have the ability to adapt to the ever-changing workplace; as tasks and roles are disrupted, changed or removed the employee with a high EQ will be better placed to resolve conflict, make good decisions, solve problems and work better within a team.

The good news is that Emotional Intelligence is not just a skill that comes naturally; in fact, it has been proven that it can be learned and that EI training increases a person's EQ. The appreciation of EQ as a factor in the success of a company is becoming more widely accepted; companies are introducing EQ assessment during the interview process and EQ training features within companies' Learning and Development policies.

High EQ is currently most in demand for jobs that are customer-facing; sales, retail, banking, insurance, etc. A great salesperson relies on a large knowledge base and negotiation skills but they also need to be highly perceptive, have good social skills and can recognize other's motivations. As the EQ concept becomes more commonly accepted, there will also be a rise in the need for EI in non-customer facing roles - complex problem solving, concept interpretation, curiosity, and creativity, for example, are all skills that cannot currently be replicated by AI.

Bridge Learning Tech's holistic approach to problem-solving for our clients means that we realize that the implementation of technology must go hand in hand with incorporating a focus on EQ in the workforce. Digital transformation needs to be driven and sustained by a multifaceted workforce who has more than just technical knowledge. Our clients are increasingly seeking out ways to further improve their business' performance both by applying innovative technological solutions and by cultivating a productive and emotionally intelligent workforce; a wise and reassuring move for everyone, human and robot!

Inside Learning Technologies LONDON, January 31, 2020