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Emotional intelligence undervalued in the workplace

One in four (25%) UK business leaders say that emotional intelligence (EQ) is undervalued in the hiring process, according to research by Robert Half

This is despite the majority of businesses (60%) citing EQ as a very important skill for their employees to have.

The study also identified the benefits of hiring employees with high EQ. Business leaders listed increased motivation and morale (46%), improved leadership (45%) and better collaboration between teams (37%) as the primary benefits. Only 4% said that employees with high EQ offer no additional benefits to the business.

Despite these advantages, managers still believe there is too little importance attached to EQ during the hiring process, with more than half (54%) saying they place ‘just enough’ importance on EQ, but that more could be done.

The findings reinforce a recent World Economics Forum report that predicted emotional intelligence will become one of the top 10 skills for employees by 2020.

Matt Weston, UK managing director at Robert Half, said that finding candidates with both the right skills and personality traits should be prioritised in the war for talent.

“Identifying skills gaps and securing the right talent is crucial for long-term success in today’s competitive recruitment environment. Businesses must prioritise the skills and qualities they expect from potential candidates,” he said.

“In the current war for talent, employers must find the right balance between skills and personality – evaluating what characteristics are required within the team and what skills can be taught.”

Weston added that the future workforce will also be more concerned with company culture and values.

“The workforce of the future will value their fit within an organisation and be more inclined to evaluate the company culture, working environment and employer brand. It has therefore become hugely important that business leaders are aware and mindful of employees’ needs and desires. This will effectively expand their candidate pool and help to identify, secure and retain top talent in the long term.”

Robert Half's study was based on more than 400 interviews with general managers from companies across the UK.