How to Increase Employee Retention With Emotional Intelligence

March 14, 2023

Employee retention is an essential factor to consider when running a successful business. 

One report suggests that a turnover rate of close to 19% can be expected in many industries. Since finding and keeping talented employees can be challenging, understanding how best to retain them should be a priority of any employer.   

Over the next five years, 87% of respondents surveyed by Kronos consider improved employee retention a high or critical priority. An analysis of 34,000 responses to the Work Institute’s Retention Report found that 75% of the reasons for employee turnover can be prevented. 

One way that businesses can increase employee retention is by utilizing emotional intelligence (EI). Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your emotions and those of others. 

Proper implementation can lead to increased job satisfaction and improved morale among employees, resulting in higher levels of engagement and better long-term performance. 

When it comes to increasing employee retention with emotional intelligence, there are several steps employers should take:


Communicating effectively with team members is vital in the workplace. After all, if our top talent doesn’t feel seen, heard, and valued, they won’t feel incentivized to stay.

Some ways we can communicate with employees include:

  • Having open conversations about expectations and goals
  • Being clear on feedback, both positive and negative
  • Listening attentively without interruption or judgment
  • Expressing empathy toward colleagues’ struggles and successes
  • Giving constructive criticism whenever needed while remaining supportive

Creating an environment where communication between all parties is encouraged will help build trust within the team. 

Creating A Positive Workplace Culture

A recent survey found employee recognition was most important to 37% of employees. This is important because teams scoring in the top 20% of engagement experience 59% fewer turnovers. 

A positive work culture starts at the top level but needs support from everyone involved to take effect. Here are some examples of how you can demonstrate positivity at work:

  • Fostering respect among staff members regardless of seniority/positioning within the company
  • Providing opportunities for growth through professional development courses
  • Offering incentives like bonuses/raises based on merit, not just length of service
  • Recognizing individual achievements publicly

These examples all contribute to building a healthy work environment that encourages employees to stay engaged and committed longer.

Encouraging Teamwork and Collaboration

Working collaboratively helps foster greater understanding between colleagues and promotes problem-solving initiatives that lead to better results, no matter what you’re working on.

The idea isn’t “competition” but rather “cooperation” – something we need more than ever, given that COVID-19 has changed how many companies operate remotely. 

With teams working together across multiple countries and time zones, collaboration is even more essential nowadays if teams want success over distance.

Encouraging teamwork among staff also allows employees to feel valued by their peers and managers, leading to higher job satisfaction rates, which helps keep people happy enough to stay around long-term instead of jumping ship elsewhere.

Offering Emotional Support & Understanding

Showing genuine care for one another’s feelings goes a long way in creating stronger bonds between co-workers and helping prevent issues arising from stress-related causes like burnout.

Providing access to resources such as coaching services may also prove beneficial, especially during times of upheaval and change. 

Taking a proactive approach to identifying and addressing potential problems is always more strategic than waiting until the damage is done and then trying to fix everything afterwards! 

Additionally, showing appreciation for hard work done formally and informally throughout the year will significantly help boost morale in most cases, simply because recognition is often overlooked.

Showing people that we see, recognize, and appreciate their efforts is a potent motivator for them to stay.

Develop Your EQ and Retain Your Top Talent

Emotionally intelligent leaders play an essential role in employee retention. They can create trusting relationships with their teams and ensure everyone feels heard, valued, and respected. 

Applying emotionally intelligent leadership practices when managing staff members can dramatically improve existing relationships while strengthening new ones. 

Investing in developing “soft skills” like emotional intelligence creates more cohesive, happy, and productive teams, ultimately leading to more successful work environments. This, in turn, leads to increased job satisfaction and engagement, which helps reduce turnover rates. 

To help equip yourself with the skills needed to become a more emotionally intelligent leader, register for our next EQ-i2.0 & EQ360 Certification today!