Employee Retention is Higher When Managers Have Emotional Intelligence

Employee Retention is Higher When Managers Have Emotional Intelligence

Employees who work with managers with high levels of emotional intelligence (EQ) are less likely to want to leave their organization than employees who rate their leaders as having low EQ, according to a recent study by a researcher at the University of Dallas.

Published on August 30 in the SSRN Electronic Journal, “Emotional Intelligence: Helping Managers ‘Turn Over’ a New Leaf in Leadership Behaviors,” was written by Emmanuel Dalavai, a doctor of business administration. Dalavai observed that because the costs of organizational turnover are high, scholars and practitioners often look for ways to reduce employees’ turnover intentions, in part by promoting EQ in managers.

To investigate the question of whether leader emotional intelligence influences employee turnover intentions, the study examined leaders and followers at a health care institution based in the southwestern U.S., focusing on the followers’ perceptions of their managers’ leadership behaviors. The study sample consisted of 71 hospital administrators, clinicians, and other employees. The researchers tested four hypotheses of employees’ perceptions of the EQ of their leaders on their turnover intentions using two scales: Trait EQ and the TIS-6, or the shortened form of the Turnover Intentions scale.

Overall, the results indicated that higher levels of leader EQ had an inverse effect on follower turnover intentions, and thus reduced followers’ inclinations to leave their organization. Specifically, the findings of the analysis confirmed the first hypothesis, showing that the leader’s ability to exercise self-control by pulling back on negative behaviors had a residual impact on followers’ desire to leave the organization. The second hypothesis on the effect of a leader’s well-being was also confirmed, thus demonstrating that leaders’ ability to take care of themselves mentally and physically had a direct influence on followers’ likelihood of leaving.

The third hypothesis regarding the importance of the leader’s sociability was also supported by the data, indicating that leaders’ ability to apply networking skills and to influence the feelings of employees affected followers’ turnover intentions. Finally, the fourth hypothesis on the level of a leader’s “emotionality” was confirmed, thus showing that the followers of leaders who can communicate their feelings to their followers and are empathetic to others’ perspectives were less likely to report a desire to leave.

Dalavai concluded by offering several suggestions for how companies and human resources departments might apply these findings to tackle engagement issues and turnover rates. For example, he said, organizations should consider adopting altruistic models of leadership, like servant leadership approaches, rather than relying on the traditional transformational and charismatic leadership models. He also recommended that companies’ HR departments invest more concentrated resources in human capital investment, such as soft skills training that includes EQ-based programs.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 61, Issue 12

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2018 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Women in Tech Report Facing Ongoing Challenges

Women in Tech Report Facing Ongoing Challenges

Companies are increasingly pursuing initiatives to raise the number of women working in information technology, but women who are currently employed in IT continue to report that struggles with pay inequity and work-life balance are holding them back, according the results of a survey conducted by talent recruitment firm Harvey Nash.

The survey of 681 female and male IT professionals from U.S. companies across a broad range of industries was conducted in August 2018. Nearly one-third (31%) of the professionals surveyed said their organization provides career development programs for women after they have been hired, and 29% of respondents reported that their company offers programs to support recruiting and hiring women in technology. In addition, 43% of the women surveyed said that the attention paid to gender equality in the workplace in the wake of the #MeToo movement has been making the technology industry more welcoming to women.

However, while 46% of all respondents said that diversity and inclusion are integral to their company’s strategy, 39% said that their company’s diversity efforts seem more like “checking a box.” The findings also showed that the share of female respondents who claim their work environment remains unwelcoming appears to be increasing, rising from 30% in 2017 to 35% in 2018.

Researchers observed that although many companies are moving in the right direction on some gender issues, more needs to be done, particularly to close the gender pay gap and improve the working conditions for women in technology. For example, they noted, while 51% of the women surveyed in 2018 said they find working in technology financially rewarding, up from 35% two years ago; large differences in the perceptions of men and women remains, with 68% of male respondents, but just 30% of female respondents, saying they believe their company pays men and women equally.

In addition, the survey found that failing to pursue recruitment and career development programs for women can have far-reaching business implications for companies, and can directly impact retention. For example, 33% of female respondents, but 23% of male respondents, said an unsupportive environment was a deciding factor in their decision to leave their last job; and 23% of female respondents, compared to 13% of male respondents, reported that they had left their last job in part due to unfair treatment.

Researchers also noted that the technology industry’s reputation for high-pressure assignments and long hours are reflected in the survey, as both female and male respondents ranked the demanding work environment as one of the top challenges of working in IT. The findings indicated that 44% of the men and 48% of the women surveyed perceive that family responsibilities threaten to slow their careers. However, 57% of the women, but just 28% of the men, surveyed said that having a family translates into lost opportunities for advancement or equal pay.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 61, Issue 11

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2018 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Companies Should Seek To Leverage the Digital Workplace

Companies Should Seek To Leverage the Digital Workplace

Employees who work in digital workplaces tend to have relatively high levels of productivity and motivation, but organizations should be alert to security risks associated with these technologies, and to the emergence of a gap between employees who are and are not technologically adept, according to a global study conducted by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

The results of the study, “The Right Technologies Unlock the Potential of the Digital Workplace,” were based on interviews conducted in April and May 2018 with 7,000 employees working at organizations based in 15 countries across the globe, including the U.S. The findings revealed that a more digitally-driven workplace has both business and human benefits, and that companies that are less technologically advanced are at risk of falling behind the competition and failing to attract top talent. The study also warned that a clear chasm in employee performance and sentiment is emerging between more advanced digital workplaces and those that use digital technology to a lesser extent, and that companies must be vigilant as more digital-savvy employees are taking greater risks with data and information security.

Specifically, the analysis showed that “Digital Revolutionaries,” or employees identified as those who work in fully-enabled digital workplaces where new workplace technologies are in widespread use, were 51% more likely to report having strong job satisfaction and were 43% more likely to say they feel positive about their work-life balance than “Digital Laggards,” or those who have less access to workplace technology. The findings also showed that Revolutionary employees were also 60% more likely to say they are motivated at work, and 91% more likely to praise their company’s vision.

The study also found that rather than perceiving advancements in digital technology and automation as a threat to job security, most of the employees surveyed are enthusiastic about these technologies, with 71% saying they would welcome a fully automated workplace in the future that allows their employer to build a smarter, more effective working environment. The results further showed almost all of the respondents (93%) think their workplace would be improved through greater use of technology, and large shares are confident that digital technology will result in a more efficient (56%), more collaborative (52%), and more appealing (47%) work environment.

While confirming that the benefits of digital workplaces are wide-ranging, the study also cautioned that cybersecurity remains a challenge for employers. The study recommended that companies seek to adapt to leverage the benefits of new digital workplace technology while simultaneously minimizing security risks organizations by adopting a digital workplace strategy, building collaborative digital workspaces, and incorporating security into the workplace from the ground up.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 61, Issue 7

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2018 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Millennial Workers Report Higher Stress Levels Than Older Workers

Millennial Workers Report Higher Stress Levels Than Older Workers

Younger workers experience stress more frequently than their older colleagues, and employee stress in general has physical, behavioral, and cognitive side effects that can lower productivity and increase employer costs, according to a survey on the effects of stress in the workplace released by employee benefits provider Unum on April 26.

The survey of 1,232 U.S. adults conducted in January 2018 found that 39% of workers aged 18-34 report that they experience stress daily to several times a week, and just 33% said they experience stress infrequently or never. By contrast, the older baby boomers surveyed appear to be the least stressed of the age groups, with only 11% of workers aged 65 or older indicating that they experience stress daily to several times a week, and 79% reporting that they experience stress infrequently or never. The values for middle-aged workers were closer to those of the youngest than the oldest group, with 29% of respondents aged 35-64 saying they experience stress daily to several times a week, and 48% indicating they experience stress infrequently or never.

The results also showed that working women of all ages report more frequent exposure to stress than working men, with 54% of female respondents, but only 47% of male respondents, saying they experience stress on a daily to weekly basis.

Among respondents of all age groups, the top causes of stress were found to include financial stress (49%), home life and family relationships (43%), personal health (35%), job responsibilities (33%), and the health of family members (33%).

Researchers cited a recent estimate from the American Institute of Stress that stress costs the U.S. economy over $300 billion annually in absenteeism, presenteeism, turnover, lower productivity, accidents, and medical costs. They emphasized that while most stress originates outside of the workplace, it is in an employer’s best interest to provide resources that proactively support employees in managing their stress before it escalates and affects their ability to do their job.

While acknowledging that stress can manifest differently from person to person, researchers pointed out that the common signs include a significant change in an employee’s quality of work, professional demeanor, or personality. They recommended that employers watch for short-term responses to stress, including avoidance behavior or lack of participation in group activities, reduced reasoning or difficulty making decisions, and a tendency to work long hours; as well as for signs of long-term responses to stress, including a loss of concentration or confidence, outbursts of irritation or anger, panic attacks, and a loss of energy.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 61, Issue 6

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2018 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

A Strong Value Proposition Can Boost Employee Engagement

A Strong Value Proposition Can Boost Employee Engagement

Whether a company brings out the best in its workers depends on the health of the organization’s engagement ecosystem, including the value proposition companies offer current and prospective employees, according to a report released by The Engagement Institute, a joint venture of The Conference Board, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Mercer I Sirota, ROI Institute, and The Culture Works.

The report, “The DNA of Engagement: Moments That Matter Throughout the Employee Life Cycle,” was released on March 1. The authors used data from surveys, focus groups, and interviews to examine the interconnected factors that attract employees to organizations, keep them engaged, and encourage them to stay. Researchers also looked at the critical moments that affect the employee experience at work, and recommended strategies that organizations can implement to attract, retain, and engage employees.

According to the report, the most critical components that shape an organization’s engagement ecosystem is the employee value proposition, or the tangible and intangible deal that organizations provide in exchange for employee effort, commitment, and performance. The authors pointed out that the employee value proposition is a product not only of the explicit statements made by employees and actions by the organization, but of the implicit assumptions and observations employees make over time.

Researchers emphasized that individual employees have their own “personal ecosystem” that changes over the course of their career, and that is shaped by numerous moments they experience. The authors observed that when faced with critical moments in an employee’s life cycle that may affect his or her level of engagement, key stakeholders, including the employee’s managers, and coworkers, may struggle to respond adequately, and to ensure that the employee’s experience remains positive.

The report recommended that organizations take three key actions to strengthen overall employee engagement. First, researchers encouraged employers to promote an employee value proposition using empathy in the workplace. Specifically, they advised organizations to design and implement programs that support employees in how and where work gets done, prepare leaders to respond to employee concerns with an authentic tone of support and solidarity, and support supervisors who support employees in difficult circumstances by showing sensitivity to their workload.

Second, the study’s authors advised organizations to provide programs to assist employees at every stage of the career life cycle. They encouraged organizations to engage individuals from the start of their career to retirement by providing robust onboarding programs for new employees, training and development for junior-level employees, and processes to enable later-stage employees to connect with leaders and voice their concerns. They added that employers can make all employees feel valued by offering them training in newer technologies and other skills.

Third, researchers recommended that employers prepare for and seize upon “the unscripted moments.” The study’s authors observed, organizations can shape a favorable experience by ensuring that leaders are approachable, show heightened awareness during daily interactions, and demonstrate behaviors that build trust.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 61, Issue 4

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2018 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Boredom, Main Motivation for Looking For a New Job

Boredom, Main Motivation for Looking For a New Job

As the job market picks up, many professionals report that their primary motivation for looking for a new job in 2018 is feeling bored with their current job and wanting a new challenge, according to the results of a recent survey by executive search firm Korn Ferry.

The survey of 4,900 professionals was conducted in December 2017. When those respondents who said they are planning to look for a new job in 2018 were asked to identify their top reason for jumping ship, 33% said they are bored with their current job and need a new challenge, 24% said the culture at their current company does not align with their values, 21% indicated they have either lost their job or expect to lose their job, and 19% said they are hoping to get a higher salary.

The vast majority (89%) of the professionals surveyed said they believe networking is important during every period of their career, and not just when they are in job search mode. By contrast, a mere 7% of respondents said they see networking as important only when they have a job but are considering other options, and just 3% said they believe networking is essential only when they are out of work and looking for a job.

When respondents were asked what their usual first step is when searching for a new job, the top response was networking, cited by 44%. Another 23% of respondents said updating their resume is their typical first step toward landing a new position, while 19% indicated that they start their search by taking an inventory of what kind of job would make them the happiest. Smaller shares said their usual first step when looking for a new job is reviewing the online job postings (12%) or engaging in social media activity (2%).

The professionals surveyed were also asked to name the top strategy they use to network. One-third (33%) of respondents said they seek to reconnect with current and former friends/colleagues, 31% reported using LinkedIn, 27% said they ask current friends or colleagues to introduce them to others in their network, and 9% indicated that they attend networking events.

When asked about their job search history, 53% of respondents described their past interviewers as, on average, only somewhat to very ill-prepared. Moreover, 46% reported that they had been turned down for a job because the interviewer did not take the time to fully understand their qualifications.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 61, Issue 3

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2018 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.