Recruiting for the front line: EI is required for Industry 4.0

29 Aug Recruiting for the front line: EI is required for Industry 4.0

Top of the agenda for leaders today is talent engagement and retention. Why? Because in the digital economy, talent represents strategic advantage to a business. This is particularly the case when it comes to performance on the front line – where human interaction happens and brand loyalty is built.

Industry 4.0 refers to the smart operational systems of the future that will include autonomous robots, big data and analytics, augmented reality, simulation and the cloud. With this kind of disruption on the horizon, leaders need to start thinking about recruiting for the new skills required to engage with customers in the digital economy and futureproof their workforces for the changes ahead.

While the push to automate transactions with customers using technology continues, it’s important to avoid solely focusing on technology as the key driver of success. Just as much attention needs to be given to the human factor: people, and their level of Emotional Intelligence (EI). EI is a set of skills that employees can develop to enhance their ability to understand, connect, and engage with others, whether customers or colleagues. EI makes all the difference on the front line. Refer to our industry report here [link].

3 reasons why leaders should recruit for and develop EI on the front line

1. Employees with high EI drive customer advocacy.

Emotionally intelligent employees are more highly engaged in their roles, meaning they give that ‘plus one’ in the customer interaction that drives customer advocacy. They do this by building strong relationships and meaningful interactions with customers on the front line. A customer’s level of engagement is directly determined by the quality of service they receive from a front line employee – so the more empathetic, self-aware and switched-on that employee is, the more likely the customer will be to become a brand ambassador.

2. Front line employees are the leaders of tomorrow.
Leaders who recruit for and develop emotionally intelligent front line people are empowering future leaders with the tools to succeed. Many great leaders started out on the front line. So focus on sourcing the right front line talent: people with high EI who demonstrate a positive mindset, emotional resilience, trust and genuine care for others.

3. A human touch is fundamental to the customer experience.
As customer service becomes increasingly automated and reliant upon technology, a human touch will be an important differentiator for businesses. EI is an ideal skillset for embracing the human touch in business. Technology cannot display empathy or solve a problem in context of the customer’s unique circumstances. Developing EI will give your employees the problem-solving skills, resilience, energy and focus necessary to deliver a highly personal and ‘human’ front line experience to customers.

Forward-thinking leaders should focus on recruiting for and developing EI among front line talent. Professional development in the area of EI will ensure that employees have the resilience, relationship-building, and problem-solving capabilities necessary to meet future demands head-on. EI is not something you’re born with. It can be learned. To find out more, sign up for our next EI workshop here.