The importance of Emotional Intelligence in Human Resources


What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence refers to having the ability to recognize and understand emotions and their impact on behavior and attitudes. Those who have a high degree of emotional intelligence are in tune with both their own emotions and the emotions of other people with whom they come in contact.

Emotional intelligenceEI tableWhat Does Emotional Intelligence Have to Do With Business?

Emotional intelligence involves being sensitive to and perceptive of other people’s emotions, and having the ability to intuitively facilitate improved performance based on this knowledge. The modern workplace is characterized by open communication, team work, and a mutual respect among employees and their supervisors. Possessing emotional intelligence allows managers to better understand and motivate people they supervise.

Emotional intelligence bears an important impact on self-development of the manager and his leadership qualities. Practicing activities that support EI behavior illuminates positive effects that can be observed and measured by higher productivity. Its impact is visible in building positive relations and gaining emotional commitment of employees. At a higher level this strengthens organizational culture, sharpens its resilience and stretches its flexibility, both in the long run lead to greater competitive advantage in the market. Empathic communication between CEOs and employees develops a culture of trust that increases synergy among team members. Synergy stimulates employees’ creativity, which is essential in developing new solutions and forming innovative responds to the increasingly complex demands of learning society.

Individuals who come from the old school philosophy of management by intimidation often find it challenging to adapt their management style to the demands of today’s workers. In the modern business environment, authoritarian managers are much less likely to be successful for the long term than those who utilize a democratic style of management. If you want to succeed in the business world now and in the future, it’s important that you understand the role of emotional intelligence in business today.

Management and Emotional Intelligence

Managers who possess emotional intelligence approach supervisory responsibilities from a different perspective than authoritarian managers. They understand the importance of communicating effectively with staff members, and of treating each employee with respect. Those who want to be effective 21st century managers are well served by developing a deeper understanding of the concept of emotional intelligence and applying it to their management strategies.

Intelligence emotionalLeadership and Emotional Intelligence

Managers who have outstanding leadership qualities tend to possess emotional intelligence. It’s important to realize that leadership isn’t an inherent part of being in a position of authority. Leadership is something that employees bestow upon the most effective managers, and is reserved for individuals with high standards of integrity and outstanding communication skills.

An individual who is in tune with his or her own emotions is much more likely to be able to understand and empathize with the emotions that impact the attitudes and behaviors of others. This is why emotional importance is so valuable for managers. It’s essential for managers who want to be viewed as leaders to remember that actions speak louder than words. This is something that individuals who possess a high degree of emotional intelligence seem to inherently understand.

Supervisors who take the time to get to know and really listen to their employees are utilizing emotional intelligence as a management strategy, whether or not they realize they are doing so. Most employees respond best to managers who treat them as individuals who deserve respect. When you take the time to focus on an employees’ needs and make yourself accessible to them, that’s exactly what you’re doing.

What is the Role of Emotional Intelligence in Business Today and in the Future?

It’s likely that emotional intelligence is going to continue to become even more important in the business world in the future than it is today. As the baby boomer population approaches retirement age, companies are going to find themselves dealing with labor shortages the likes of which have never been seen before.

In an economy characterized by scarce labor, it’s going to become increasingly important to hold on to the good employees. At the same time, competition for the best employees is going to become even more fierce, and good workers who feel they aren’t treated fairly at work will have an easy time finding employment elsewhere.

The best way to hold on to the employees that you want to keep is to incorporate emotional intelligence into your personal and organizational management philosophy. Managers and business owners can’t let themselves lose sight of the fact that their employees are people, with real lives and emotions that impact how they think, feel, and act. Managers with emotional intelligence understand that their staff members are people first and workers second.

Borja Burguillos

Why Total Rewards?


Total Rewards can be defined as “All of the tools available to the employer that may be used to attract, motivate and retain employees. Total rewards include everything the employee perceives to be of value resulting from the employment relationship”.

There are five elements of total rewards, each of which includes programs, practices, elements and dimensions that collectively define an organization’s strategy to attract, motivate and retain employees. These elements are:

  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Work-Life
  • Performance and Recognition
  • Development and Career Opportunities

Total RewardsThe elements represent the “tool kit” from which an organization chooses to offer and align a value for both the organization and the employee. The elements are not mutually exclusive. Total rewards strategy involves the art of combining the five key elements into tailored packages designed to achieve optimal engagement. An effective total rewards strategy results in satisfied, engaged and productive employees, who create desired business performance and results.

In a globalize world where local laws and regulations change constantly the impact of C&B becomes more important, so the corporate strategies and remuneration systems need to be adapted to different industries and countries in order to provide the best social and fiscal optimization possible for both the company and the employees.

What do you do in a Total Rewards role?

  • Never stop learning.
  • Never do exactly the same thing twice (no, not even for your annual processes such as salary reviews or bonus pay-outs).
  • Creativity to design and implement solutions that will truly support your company and its employees
  • Negotiate with providers to get the best conditions and prices possible for Social Benefits (Health & Life Insurance…) to all employees of the organization.
  • Learn and know about Tax & Regulations in each country in order to apply the benefits in the best way for the company and employees.
  • Get involved in many aspects of running the business, and through it, get real exposure to the organization, with Finance, Sales and Marketing obviously, but also with the business… and the rest of HR.
  • Simulations and multiple scenarios analyses, and the legal, cost and fiscal implications of your decisions.
  • At the forefront of the organization, in good times (distributing bonuses and introducing new rewards and recognition practices) and in bad times too (figuring out cost control mechanisms and redundancy plans).
  • Interact with people at all levels of the organization, from the junior staff through to line managers, to top Executives and the Board members.

Borja Burguillos

Changing the HR Game: How Gamification is disrupting Human Resources


Following my previous posts “Why Digital is radically disrupting HR?” and “Digital Will Give Power to the People” about how digital is changing the human relations today I would like to write about how gamification will change labor relations as we know until now.gamification_HR StrategySince the first Nintendo sets arrived in homes in the mid-1980s, the workforce has become increasingly populated with employees who have grown up with computer games. For many people entering the workforce now, such games are more than just an occasional pastime. Games form the very backdrop of their lives. These individuals do much of their socializing through computer games and use the vocabulary of gaming even in conversations that have nothing to do with games.

What is Gamification?

HR StrategyWith gaming concepts and terminology gaining prominence among young employees, it’s probably not surprising that companies eager to attract, engage, incentivize and retain members of this generation have been taking games seriously. Gaming concepts have begun working their way into key HR processes in two distinct forms, often called serious games and gamification. Whereas serious games are actual games used in the workplace whose purpose is beyond merely providing entertainment, gamification is the weaving of game mechanics such as virtual currency, leaderboards (boards that display leaders in a competition), badges, or leveling up (progression to the next level in a game) into existing work activities or processes without the development of a full-fledged actual game.

You can find more information in the report Trends Reshaping the Future of HR: Digital Radically Disrupts HR by Accenture Digital.

Why now?

The idea that gaming elements can be useful in the workplace is not new. For example, sales groups have long used leaderboards and other gamification-like mechanisms to foster friendly competition. And organizations as serious as the military have used war games and their civilian equivalents to train soldiers and leaders. What is new is that more and more workers are familiar with and enjoy gaming.

In addition, the commercial platforms that have industrialized the development of games and gamification are more widely available to organizations. These factors have made it much more affordable for enterprises to create serious games and to incorporate gamification into business processes. For example, some serious games leverage general which provide graphics, game editors and artificial intelligence functions to achieve high levels of sophistication and create simulated characters.

Likewise, vendors such as Bunchball and Badgeville have created cloud-based gamification engines, which deliver key gamification functions as web services. This greatly reduces the cost and complexity of incorporating gamification into enterprise web applications. These developments have given rise to a varied set of applications that have transformed various HR processes.

badgeville-dashboard-100051744-origWhat is next? The road ahead

Gamification of HR is still in its early days. Still, games and gamification have begun to alter the way HR professionals and employees experience various HR processes. Some of the changes are incremental. Others could prove disruptive, such as use of gamification to replace occasional, private top-down feedback with real-time, public 360-degree feedback.We’re just beginning to understand which game-related transformations are most beneficial to organizations and how to estimate the degree to which workers may embrace these changes. As games and gamification—along with insights into how they can help organizations generate valuable business outcomes—continue to improve, this trend will likely become more important.gamification

We may never get to the point where the experience of going to work is as exciting and engaging as a great game. But high-performance enterprises will likely push the boundaries to see just how close they can get.

Borja Burguillos

Why Digital is radically disrupting HR?


Digital technology is continuing to evolve at breakneck speed, and it permeates nearly every aspect of our working lives. In the coming years, digital will empower people to take significantly more responsibility for talent management and HR activities. As digital enables talent management to become less of a centralized HR activity and more of an activity that is embedded in the fabric of everyday business, it will fundamentally change HR as we know it.

HR StrategyDigital Advances Promise to Reshape Work as We Know It

Digital is fundamentally changing the way businesses and governments operate—from how they interact with customers, citizens and suppliers, to how they manage their employees. New digital technologies enable not only greater integration and flexibility than ever before, but also the ability for employees to have a greater share of voice and ability to participate in defining and even creating their own work experiences. Digital is thus poised to radically disrupt HR as usual and redefine the future of the human resources function in the next decade. Eventually, HR and talent processes and the technology that enables them will no longer constitute their own domain or even be primarily performed by a central HR function. Rather, many aspects of HR and talent management will become fully embedded in how work gets done throughout an organization, thereby becoming an everyday part of doing business. HR departments that ignore this transformation could face obsolescence.

In this point of view, we explore five recent digital developments that we believe will conspire to transform HR:

  • Data and integration will be king
  • Digital will give power—and people management—to the people
  • Consumer applications will find a home in the enterprise
  • Digital will enable customized talent management
  • Cloud computing will enable new flexibility and agility

Borja Burguillos

Highest salaries around the globe by country


It’s results always interesting to know where globally speaking we can get “as employees” the highest salaries. I got very interested to know the answer so I decided to start to look for it. We can find an immense biography about this topic with millions of research and statistics and different potin of view about how to measure it.

I got a report from Mercer called “International Geographic Salary Differentials report” which showed what exactly I was looking for. An index with a relative pay levels worldwide. For sure this index can help employers make informed salary decisions to control costs and ensure competitive pay across markets but also to employees to make their own decisions.

All multinational organizations compete diligently for specialized and skilled talent, they can’t afford to misalign salaries with local market standards. In the era of the globalization be equipped with accurate and timely geographic salary differentials is a must. Organizations can guard against under- and over-paying key positions — either of which would have serious ramifications for operations.

See below a very interesting infographic about what are the countries who best pay.

Pay Differs Significantly by CountryBorja Burguillos

Analysis of Maternity leave around the world


The ILO –International Labour Organization- created the first global standard about maternity leave in 1919 aimed at protecting working women before and after childbirth: the Maternity Protection Convention. The standard was revised in 1952 and now calls for a minimum 12-week leave although a 14-week leave is recommended. In countries which provide cash benefits through social security, the ILO standard says that a woman should be paid at a rate of not less than two-thirds of her previous insured earnings, with full health benefits.

More than 120 countries around the world provide paid maternity leave and health benefits by law, including most industrialized nations except United States.

“In all parts of the world, working women who become pregnant are faced with the threat of job loss, suspended earnings and increased health risks due to inadequate safeguards for their employment,” says F. J. Dy-Hammar, Chief, ILO Conditions of Work Branch, who oversaw the report, Maternity Protection at Work.

The countries that provide the most paid maternity leave by law include: the Czech Republic – 28 weeks; Hungary – 24 weeks; Italy – 5 months; Canada – 17 weeks; Spain and Romania – 16 weeks each. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden all provide extensive paid leave which may be taken by either parent, although a portion is reserved for the mother.

Global Maternity Leave Map

HR Strategy_Global Maternity leave map
HR Strategy_Global Maternity leave map

Currently, 119 countries meet the ILO standard of 12 weeks with 62 of those countries providing for 14 weeks or more. Just 31 countries mandate a maternity leave of less than 12 weeks. More than 120 countries around the world provide paid maternity leave and health benefits by law, including most industrialized nations except United States.

A minimum length of service with the same employer is the most common condition of maternity leave. Some examples include a minimum of three months of employment in Switzerland; six months in Libya, Syria (in agriculture) and Somalia; six months during the year preceding the birth in Egypt and the Philippines; one year in Australia, Bahamas, Jamaica, Mauritius, Namibia, New Zealand and United Arab Emirates, and two years in Gambia and Zambia.

Employment Protection: The ILO says that an essential element in maternity protection is a legal guarantee to pregnant women and young mothers that they will not lose their jobs as a result of pregnancy, absence on maternity leave or the birth of a child.

The guarantee is an essential means of preventing maternity from becoming a source of discrimination against women in employment. Loss of continuity in employment is a major handicap for women’s career advancement and is costly in terms of lost seniority and reduced pensions, paid annual leave and other employment-related benefits.

Summarizing, we can say that there is a long way to run in relation with the maternity leave in order to standarize this benefit as a global level. Even in some industrialized countries as United States is not still a benefit required by law.

In addition, I would to add another point to consider how is the paternity leave fro men. Where and How is the paternity leave around the globe? Don’t you think it could help to get the work equality of opportunities for women?

Anxious to hear your views.

Note: Information provided by ILO & Wikipedia.

Borja Burguillos & Maria Lopez

Analysis of annual leave around the world


The interest in the issue work/life balance continues to grow. From the employee’s and company’s perspective, health creates wealth. Companies recognize that a healthy, happy workforce is a productive one and this feeds directly into the bottom line. How companies interpret holiday regulations provision is a major factor. With pay rises muted and often below the rate of inflation, companies are searching for other ways to motivate their staff. Flexible working and a good employee work/life balance helps improve employee engagement when the usual financial tools are unavailable.

Holiday entitlement is often more complex since actual holiday provisions often depends on company contracts and the number and treatment of public holidays.

Workers in Western European countries, on average, have access to the greatest amount of statutory paid holiday in the world. In contrast, employees in Asia Pacific have the lowest levels of statutory paid holiday. Workers in the UK have, on the face of it, one of the most generous statutory holiday entitlements (28 days) while workers in the United States of America have the least with no statutory holiday entitlement.

Employees with the potential for most holiday time is Austria with 25 days statutory holiday entitlement and 13 days public holidays and Malta with 24 days statutory holiday entitlement and 14 days public holiday. In both countries employees have the potential for 38 days holiday a year. The Philippines and Canada have the lowest possible entitlements with 20 and 19 days, respectively. Employees in Columbia have the greatest number of public holidays (18 days) while those in Mexico (7) have the least.

HR Strategy_Annual leave around the worldWhat are the main differences among regions?

Western Europe
UK employees receive the most generous statutory holiday entitlements in Western Europe (28 days) followed closely by Greece, Austria, France, Sweden, Luxembourg, Finland and Denmark (all 25 days). Employees are slightly worse off in Malta (24), Spain and Portugal (both 22) and Norway (21). In Italy, Belgium, Germany, Cyprus, Ireland, Switzerland and the Netherlands employees are entitled to 20 days statutory holidays. Cyprus offers the highest number of public holidays (15) followed by Malta and Spain (both 14) and Austria and Portugal (both 13). The UK and the Netherlands have the lowest number of public holidays in Europe (8).

Central and Eastern Europe
Poland (26 days) offers employees the most generous holiday entitlements in Eastern Europe, followed by Hungary (23). Latvia, Russia, Slovenia, Serbia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Romania all offer 20 days statutory holiday. The Ukraine offers 18 days and Turkey has the region’s lowest entitlements at 17 days. Across the region there are more public holidays on offer compared to Western European countries. Slovakia offers the highest number of public holidays (15) with Serbia offering the least (8).

Middle East and Africa
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 22 days make provision for the greatest amount of statutory holidays in the region, followed by Morocco (18), Lebanon (15) and South Africa (15). The Lebanon offers the highest number of public holidays (16) followed by Morocco (14), South Africa (12) and the UAE (9).

North and Latin America
The two North American states, Canada and the United States are amongst the least generous nations when it comes to statutory holidays. US Federal law does not mandate pay for time not worked and holiday policies vary widely. Many organisations in the US provide three weeks of vacation after five to ten years of service and unionised employees generally have vacation time specified under collective agreements. In Canada, mandatory vacation entitlements vary between provinces and companies typically supplement statutory requirements and some organisations provide up to six weeks’ vacation after 20 or 25 years of service.  The story is markedly different in Latin America. Employees in Venezuela receive 24 days holiday followed by Brazil and Peru (both 22), Argentina (20) and Mexico (16) with Colombia and Chile both offering employees the region’s least generous entitlement of 15 days. However, employees in Colombia also receive the regions most generous public holiday allowance of 18 days a year, followed by Chile (14), Argentina (12), Peru (12) and Venezuela (12). Canada and Ecuador have amongst the continent’s least generous public holiday allowance (9), with Mexico coming at the bottom with 7 days.

Asia-Pacific
Employees in Asia fare poorly when their statutory holiday entitlements are compared with the rest of the world. Japan, Australia and New Zealand offer employees the region’s highest levels of statutory holiday entitlement (20 days) equal to many countries in Western Europe. These are followed by South Korea (19), Malaysia (16) and Taiwan (15). Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Pakistan all provide 14 days followed by India and Indonesia (both 12) and China (10). Thailand (6) and the Philippines (5) offer the region’s lowest holiday entitlement.

After read all of this I only can make question, Why are there these differences among countries? even if they are relatively close each other? This is a good point to analyze

Note: Information provided by HRSDC, Mercer & Wikipedia.

Borja Burguillos & Maria Lopez

Pension Plans in Europe 2013: looking for the stability


There remain powerful incentives for pension plans to reduce equity-related volatility, in particular the regulatory environment and a desire on the part of corporate sponsors to mitigate the impact of pension plan volatility on their balance sheets. In addition, rising equity markets over the course of 2012 and early 2013 will have generally lifted funding levels, providing some of those plans on a path to a lower risk position with an opportunity to reduce equity allocations.

As Nick Sykes says -European Director of Consulting in Mercer’s Investments business- the Pension schemes across Europe, but particularly in the UK, remain on a path towards a lower-risk investment strategy.

This approach in reducing risk will not simply mean increases to government bond allocations and simple swap strategies. Instead, there would be increasing interest in assets that offer a relatively stable and inflation-sensitive income stream, such as ground lease property and infrastructure. Sophisticated LDI strategies are also proving essential for providing a greater degree of flexibility and responsiveness to changing market conditions

What is LDI strategy?

Liability-driven investment policies and asset management decisions are those largely determined by the sum of current and future liabilities attached to the investor, be it a household or an institution. As it purports to associate constantly both sides of the balance sheet in the investment process, it has been called a “holistic” investment methodology.

In essence, the liability-driven investment strategy (LDI) is an investment strategy of a company or individual based on the cash flows needed to fund future liabilities. It is sometimes referred to as a “dedicated portfolio” strategy. It differs from a “benchmark-driven” strategy, which is based on achieving better returns than an external index such as the S&P 500 or a combination of indices that invest in the same types of asset classes. LDI is designed for situations where future liabilities can be predicted with some degree of accuracy. For individuals, the classic example would be the stream of withdrawals from a retirement portfolio that a retiree will make to pay living expenses from the date of retirement to the date of death. For companies, the classic example would be a pension fund that must make future payouts to pensioners over their expected lifetimes (see below).

Below you can find a nice infographic elaborated by Mercer about how is the current situation of Pension Plans in Europe and what are the expectations.

Europe pension fund-MERCER-91

Borja Burguillos

What is HR Strategy?


Below you can see a infographic prepared by Maria Lopez & myself about how we understand should be the best way to implement a HR Strategy succesfully in order to get the goals proposed by the Business Strategy.

HR Strategy

Borja Burguillos