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The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Workplace Culture

  • 4 Min Read

What is emotional intelligence and why is it important in the workplace?


Organizations are constantly finding ways to automate routine tasks. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are being interwoven with our everyday lives and there’s now a premium on emotional intelligence (EI) skills in the workplace.

These uniquely human skills have come into high demand, and for good reason. More than 83% of organizations believe that a highly emotionally intelligent workforce will be a key driver for success in the next three years.

Many leading companies have already started to invest in EI, but what exactly is it? And why is emotional intelligence important in the workplace? Let’s break it down.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer first coined the term EI in 1990. They defined it as “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.” People use EI skills in many different ways throughout their lives—whether to strengthen personal relationships or become successful in their careers.

There are five key components of EI, which were developed by Daniel Goleman, science journalist and bestselling author.

1. Self-Awareness

The ability to recognize and understand our own moods and emotions and how they affect others.

2. Self-Regulation

The amount of impulse control we possess over our own actions and moods; the ability to think before acting.

3. Internal Motivation

The ability to stay motivated and passionate with only intrinsic rewards, such as learning curiosity, joy in our work, and inner vision or mission.

4. Empathy

A skill and an ability to understand the emotions of other people and treat them in a manner consistent with their emotions.

5. Social Skills

The ability to manage relationships and build rapport within our network.

A person with strong EI skills can more easily understand and manage emotions, create positive social interactions and discover what brings happiness. Developing strong EI can also help improve someone’s ability to deal with stressors and negative emotions, resolve conflicts and make difficult decisions.

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important in the Workplace?

The skill and talent shortages that the labor market is experiencing are due in large part to the lack of emotional intelligence skills. Historically, EI skills such as empathy, sensitivity and self-awareness were perceived as weaknesses. Today, with the major rise in AI and automation, the corporate world not only views EI skills as strengths but also lists them as top priorities for their business. Why is that?

1. Emotionally Savvy Employees Build Better Relationships

AI systems and automated roles are performed based on logic and processes. While it’s not possible for a computer to make decisions based on emotion, humans work simultaneously using both logic and emotion.

There are many roles in a business where human skills and emotional connection are critical. These include leadership, sales and human resources, to name a few. For ongoing success, corporations need to invest equally in developing EI skills and automation.

2. Holistic Skills Development Means Higher Productivity and Satisfaction

It’s been proven repeatedly that professional skill development in the workplace leads to higher employee satisfaction and productivity. Including a focus on EI skill development in addition to hard skills can lead to lower turnover, enhanced market share and improved revenue generation.

3. Stronger Leaders Create Stronger Teams

Leaders with strong EI skills understand what motivates them, how they work best and what triggers to avoid. They also see these traits in their teams as well. Being able to read this information allows leaders to leverage their teams’ strengths to deliver stronger results.

Promoting an empathetic, self-aware and motivated workplace will encourage more team members to develop these skills. It’ll also promote learning from one and another, leading to higher rates of productivity and lower overall turnover rates. For businesses to close the skills gap and win the talent war, developing a workforce with strong emotional intelligence skills will be a key driver.

Interested in simplifying how employees access professional development and build the skills that your company needs? Check out D2L Wave! As a free-to-use upskilling education platform, employers pay for only the courses their employees take. D2L Wave streamlines how employees search, request, register, and pay for professional development activities.

Learn How You can Develop Emotional Intelligence Skills in Your Workforce

Written by:

Devon Yakabuski

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Table of Contents

  1. What is Emotional Intelligence?
  2. Why is Emotional Intelligence Important in the Workplace?