Ever wondered why the emotional dimensions find their place in the apex of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? It is indeed a reiteration of the ‘human’ aspect.
‘People’ form the axis of a business around which the processes and profits revolve. To spell success, a product must be customer-centric, and a software application must be user-centric. No wonder ‘Human-centric’ strategies and methodologies work wonders time and again. Not to forget, these strategies have an underlying ingredient – emotions.
Defining Emotions in Business
“Are emotions detrimental to a business?”
If frustration and dissatisfaction are the widespread emotions in a business, then that statement holds good.
Emotions are an indispensable part of a business. How would business advertisements and sales pitches work without the emotional factor? How would the targets be met without employee motivation? How would we claim customer service excellence without empathy? What lies beneath the success of the numerous ‘and they happily lived ever after’ stories? What about the umpteen emoticons available in chats and messengers? Human beings strive to fill any void in their existence with gratification and happiness, which indeed is the ‘human experience’.
These very emotions that constitute the ‘human experience’ are what sets us apart in the areas of effective leadership, the decision-making process and the instillation of a meaningful identity to the members of the organization.
The ‘People’ Aspect
Gone are the days when business was based on merely rational strategies. Be it in customer service or employee engagement, success in today’s business world depends primarily on the people aspect. Attracting, retaining and motivating talent has become a prime area of focus. A stronger affinity towards employee engagement, recognition and reward has brought about a widespread culture of appreciation in organizations.
The increased attention to the Emotional Quotient in hiring and developing talent has directly translated into success for companies. This may be the first step that is necessary in the development and acknowledgement of new, specialized skills in the workforce in order to differentiate ourselves from machines and stay relevant. Emotional intelligence itself facilitates an individual’s adaptation to radical change, especially in an era of business where Artificial Intelligence can replace and, in some cases, overwrite human capability. Empathy and motivation are two such skills that can prove to be key differentiators. Without fighting the progress that such new technology brings about, we can treat these skills as catalysts for the complementary integration of AI and EI which is unprecedented and crucial to the future-oriented development of companies.
The Surge of Intelligences
Imagine sitting in a cutting-edge clinic facing a smart machine doctor who is all charged up to diagnose an illness. You receive a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Job done!
Will the machines lend an ear to learn about each patient’s life story, family or finances in order to empathetically optimize the experience, and will they have the ability to truly understand, motivate and interact with patients in the perspective of personal experiences? Will a patient be treated as just another medical case or a human with valid emotional justifications?
Sometimes we as humans underestimate the importance of personal experiences in understanding, motivating and interacting with people, be it employees or consumers. Emotional and interpersonal intelligence are key factors in enhancing this ‘human’ experience. For proof, consider a case study carried out by Amadori, a supplier of poultry to McDonalds in Europe, which showed that 76% of the variation in organizational engagement was predicted by managers’ EQ. Generally, units that exhibited higher organizational engagement achieved better performance results, while employee attrition dropped by a whopping 63%.
Engage rather than manage
Human beings have an innate desire to be engaged rather than being managed. A sense of purpose, gratification, belonging and motivation drive them to succeed. In the perspective of what we might call ‘human’agement, people are to be engaged and empowered rather than simply used as a channel to facilitate profits. The efforts of an employee and the buying decision of a customer can surely send the profit curve soaring high, but the motivation of an engaged employee and the bonding of a loyal customer to the brand, boosts not just the profit curve but the reputation of the entire organization. This is the emotional profit in business.
About the author:
Global marketing and communications executive with over 15 years of work experience in Europe, North America and Asia.
This article first appeared in the Drucker Forum Series on Linkedin Pulse.