When focusing on the health and well-being of their workforce, employers are still working to solve a key piece of the puzzle — emotional intelligence. The ability to identify and manage one’s emotions and the feelings of others, emotional intelligence can have far reaching effects on the productivity and effectiveness of an organization. In fact, the American Psychological Association found that companies with highly engaged employees generate 19 percent more operating income.

Now is critical

While corporate America has long considered how to hire and cultivate an emotionally intelligent workforce, it’s become even more critical in this period of record unemployment when attracting and retaining employees is even more challenging. We’re encouraged to take actions to promote an emotionally intelligent organization.

Building organizational and individual capacity for emotional intelligence is foundational to improving job performance, decision making, relationship quality and broader well-being. At its worst, a toxic workplace can have significant consequences to the health and performance of its individuals and overall workforce dynamics. However, organizations that focus on building emotional intelligence skills across their business will realize reduced stress while fostering improvements in mental and physical health. Additionally, these skills aid in matters such as diversity and inclusion. Optimally, this can unleash peak performance, teamwork and flow within the workforce.

Lifelong solutions

Marc Brackett, Ph.D., founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence at Yale University and a leader in this field, has found that some of the same issues that confront our schools are also prevalent in the workplace. He is now working with large companies to integrate the principles of emotional intelligence into training and product design. These principles include social resolution tools to resolve online conflict and development of bullying prevention strategies.

To help our member coalitions and employers add these key pieces to the puzzle, we’re expanding our well-being agenda, and considering the latest research and strategies to develop emotionally intelligent organizations. These efforts are key to ensuring that organizations are incorporating all the puzzle pieces to build a culture of health and performance.