SalesSpire Blog

IQ and EQ: The Impact on Hiring and Employee Retention

Nov 28, 2017 9:40:00 AM / by Bill Waham

employee retention-1.jpgHave you ever wondered why two new employees who seemed identical on paper ultimately turned out to be quite different performers for your enterprise? While you might think it's just a matter of serendipity, studies have shown that more often than not there's something at work here that is far from just random chance.

HR professionals across a wide spectrum of industries have come to discover that while most job candidates today are quite similar in terms of IQ, there are frequently significant – job performance impacting - differences among them when evaluated for their emotional intelligence – or EQ. 

Is EQ a Measurable Job Skill?

IQ is, of course, a generally accepted indicator of a person's mental aptitude and can be determined by administering a series of standardized tests, whereas EQ is something that at first glance strikes most people as a more or less subjective characterization.

But actually, EQ is measurable through the observation of a number of problem solving skills that enable the assessment of such things as:

  • self-awareness 
  • self-regulation
  • social skills
  • empathy
  • motivation

Commonly referred to as the Big Five personality skills, being aware of them can dramatically facilitate your ability to predict future team dynamics and how prospective new employees will ultimately work out for your organization once they're brought on board. Adapting your sales management training around seeking new employees with these skills can have a dramatic impact on your company's turnover rates.

Why Does EQ Matter?

The question remains, though, why would assessing someone's EQ be important to your hiring process?

The answer is that in evaluating a candidate's EQ, you can gain a fairly good sense of vital job performance indicators such as:

  • Ability to understand & cooperate with others – helps you determine if they are likely to be “team players” or “lone wolves”

  • Ability to handle pressure in a balanced manner – allowing you to assess it they will be able to handle the inevitable pressures of the workplace and manage the resultant stress in a healthy way

  • Good listeners – knowing that a future employee actually pays close attention to what people are saying is a trait that is highly valued – and hard to find. Employee engagement is vital

  • Value constructive feedback – openness to receiving evaluative comments aimed at improving job performance is definitely a sign of emotional maturity that is going to make every manager's job much easier

  • Empathetic – having an employee who can put themselves in another's shoes and see the world in a different way can only make your staff stronger – and improve your relationship with your most valuable asset; the customer

  • Careful and meticulous decision makers – high EQ people are thoughtful and careful in the conclusions they reach

  • Role models – take all these characteristics together and you have a person that garners co-workers respect and admiration – which tends to make other employees want to mimic their conduct. 

It's not hard to see that high EQ employees strengthen the fabric of any organization, helping generate a positive work environment that boosts performance and contributes to an atmosphere conducive to long-term employee retention.


Topics: leadership, employee retention, voluntary turnover, team dynamics, risk mitigation

Bill Waham

Written by Bill Waham

Bill founded SalesSpire after a successful career in sales spanning more than 35 years. During this time he never missed a sales target and ran a $2.5 billion sales organization with incredible results. His teams saw a rate of voluntary turnover of less than 1% and the highest customer satisfaction scores in their class. His expertise is not theoretical—it is a lived experience. Before his career in sales, Bill served in the Marine Corps and earned a BS in computer science via the GI Bill.