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How the New Emotional Workplace Affects Hiring, Retention and Culture Now more than ever to recruit top talent and keep your best employees motivated it's imperative to focus on personal relationships .

By Jason Wesbecher Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Do you want to attract and retain top performers? It might be time to start looking more closely at how you foster relationships. Candidates are driving the job market in 2016 and they are increasingly making professional decisions based on emotional compatibility with their prospective employer. In fact, according to a recent survey of American office workers, positive emotional connections and work relationships are no longer just a luxury for employees and job seekers -- they're a necessity. This priority on relationships is forcing employers to rethink their strategic approach to hiring, candidate retention and growing corporate culture. Relying on emotional intelligence factors and personality data are driving the American workplace to become a new emotional workplace.

Applying the science of personality and emotion.

Survey data shows that compensation alone is no longer enough of a singular selling point for top performers and job candidates. There needs to be a promise of connection and autonomy, coupled with responsibility on behalf of the employer to identify what can be controlled and improved when problems arise. When asked to rank the top three reasons they look for a new job employees cite friction with managers, poor internal communication and lack of empowerment via workplace/cultural policies. The theme of problems arising through strained relationships can be heard loud and clear.

So how can employers guarantee solid relationships between employees and a collaborative, productive work environment? Getting actionable insights, like the business world has grown so accustomed to, out of these three pillars may seem like a daunting task. But there is one critical though often overlooked tool employers can employ: personality data.

Related: Four tips to land top talent for your company.

If used properly, personality data gives the employees extremely valuable insight into their colleagues, managers into their reports and executives into their companies as a whole. This allows employers to re-think their strategic approach to hiring, candidate retention and growing corporate culture for lasting success.

Personality assessments that are built to hone in on an employee's work style, examining workplace motivators, triggers, etc. are a valuable first step for gaining insights into employees. Taking an analytical look into these traits can make it easier to implement a meaningful, proven strategy for improving the emotional intelligence, corporate culture and bottom line of a brand. Here are a few ways this data can be used to a business' advantage.

Make sure each employee feels company-wide respect.

Employers need to understand their employees unique work style, habits and environmental needs. Taking into account how employees derive satisfaction and view accomplishments on the job will go a long way, as not everyone translates achievement, success or failure in the same way. With personality data, you can parse out how each personality style responds to a spectrum of job factors, and use that data to inform business structure and build a better emotional workplace.

Related: The CEO's checklist to keeping employees happy and fulfilled.

Re-think team structure, based on personality and work style.

Don't forget to think about how you can help employees build strong relationships with colleagues. Top performers place a lot of value on having a cohesive team that works well together and understands each other's needs. Making sure they are matched with peers who balance their style or jive well -- even if they're a different personality type -- will increase productivity for individuals and teams and mitigate avoidable job snafus.

Learn the difference between management style and preference.

Train managers to know and take into account how each of their direct reports works best, and acknowledge the differences. Place importance on matching the right mentee with the right mentor. Having a strong rapport with their boss and/or supervisors will make employees more satisfied and lead to better business outcomes for all involved.

Related: The strengths and weaknesses of your leadership style.

Employee retention will be defined by emotional connection.

50 percent of American office workers have stayed at an unsatisfying job because of positive emotional relationships. Conversely, 65 percent say they would look for a new job because of poor internal communication. The unifying factor in both of these responses is the importance connections played for workers. It's a strong indicator that companies need to re-think how executives, managers, and employees convey emotional intelligence in the workplace.

In the candidate-driven market this becomes especially important, as companies will live and die by emotional intelligence. They will increasingly need to learn what makes their employees feel emotionally fulfilled at work on both an organizational and personal level -- and implement policies, processes and technologies that can help facilitate such experiences.

Jason Wesbecher

Executive VP, Sales/Marketing, Corel

Jason Wesbecher is executive VP of sales and marketing at Corel, the provider of ClearSlide, CorelDRAW, MindManager and WinZip. He leads global field operations across sales, retail, OEM, marketing and enablement to support clients and partners using Corel software to transform how teams do work.

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