Glenn Jones is a freelance HR consultant and has worked with Bank of America, HSBC, Ecolab and Imperial Brands in multi-discipline strategic and operational roles across the world. 

His new book ‘Human Resources Changes The World’ aims to disrupt the field of HR and change the traditional approach to who becomes a CEO.

We caught up with him to get his view on understanding emotional intelligence in business – why knowing your employees is crucial to success now and in the future.


“In the 21st Century having Emotional Intelligence (EI) must be as critical to companies/organizations as selecting people who have great Intelligence Quotient (IQ) scores or just high intelligence. Why?


The machines haven’t taken over yet (I have a view on this too) and whilst we still have a huge employee base around the world, understanding people who work for us, partner with us and lead us, getting the best out of our employees is linked dynamically to innovation, from innovation to creativity, from creativity to products and services and of course this has a major impact on the bottom line and many other things.


Before I go any further, I always like to make sure that when people are reading my articles they have a clear definition of what I am talking about so if you weren’t sure of the meaning of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ then here you go:


‘Emotional intelligence (EI), Emotional leadership (EL), Emotional quotient (EQ) and Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ), is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).’ (1)


If Line Managers and the Leaders of the company don’t have EI then they won’t release the benefits from their employees.  This should be the ‘da dah’ moment…….


One of the main bi-products of this will be the impact on employee engagement (employees will feel that their input and ideas truly mean something) and your employer value proposition will increase because of it. An indicator of this would be how you are measured today on vs how you will be measured in six to twelve months-time. If this isn’t on your HR departments radar then it should be!


If you are a CEO, a member of a Board, a People or Line Manager, an employee or guess what, even a spouse or parent having great EI has many advantages.  First and foremost, adapting and knowing the people that we engage with day-in and day-out and having the mental and emotional dexterity to read and understand someone is a pre-requisite of EI.  However, a word of caution insomuch that this must be authentic and if forced, it just doesn’t come across well and can be seen by employees and family members as being disingenuous.  It has to be part of the companies DNA and something which invariably can be taught to some, but not all. Daniel Goleman’s quote sums this up very well when he said:


‘If you are tuned out of your emotions, you will be poor in reading other peoples’


So where does Human Resources (HR) come in; this is something that the Learning and Development (L&D) department should be looking at and dealing with today in their strategic deliverables and action plans. If HR aren’t looking on this then something is very wrong, and you need to be speaking to your HR Director/Chief People Officer.


Natural born-leaders can do great things when IQ and EQ are in-tune with each other; you’ve only got to look at sport to see what Pep Guardiola has achieved at Manchester City and I bet that he has high EI and IQ. Can you think of others in business, sport and politics who you admire not only for their intellect but for how they take people with them too?


When I manage people, or I am at home I don’t simply use a ‘one-size fits all’ style and that’s exactly what we need from our employees and managers to.  The ability to turn intelligence into something tangible like a product can only be achieved with one eye on the consumer. So, if our people managers and CEO’s of today don’t have EI, how can they get the most out of their teams, and in-turn increase their bottom line.


If you look at your company today or the organization that you work for, your Human Resources function must be key exponents of this. In my book, I touch on the word ‘HRness’ which I will leave you to look at.  However, essentially this in principle is all about bringing the Human element back to work; getting the most out of employees should be front and center to any company, but without truly knowing employees, how can you get the best out of them?


With more and more companies around the world downsizing, without EI companies will become stagnant and linear in their thinking, growth and evolution.  Also, imagine the employee experience; instead of being told what to do and their People Manager treating them one way, can you imagine the difference and the sense of belonging to a company if all People Managers changed their approach and became agile in their style of management and understanding people?




If companies think they can just ignore EI then they should in my opinion, stop and think about what their company is doing. EI is as important in the 21st Century as Artificial Intelligence and Robots. It’s my opinion that whilst we live and work in a world of humans, knowing and understanding employees is a pre-requisite of the modern company.


Managers and CEO’s must change/evolve and get onboard before the train leaves the station.  Getting this wrong does cost euros/pounds/dollars so, imagine if your company changed its approach and your HR teams trained out EI, what you might get out of it?  Furthermore, imagine the sense of engagement and change your employees would feel too as they feel valued, listened to and actually want to come to work knowing things will be different (for the better of course).


Remember that in the war for talent employees our ‘Millennials’ in particular will want to know that they are going to employers who value their contribution, or they just won’t stick around. So, what are you going to do next?