All organizations aim to improve their operations and increase their productivity. However, problems can be experienced in the operation of an organization and they may lead to a decrease in productivity. Being able to identify these problems and come up with good solutions is important to the organization’s success. I worked at Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) five years ago as a trainer for 3 months. In my duration with the company, I witnessed some significant problems. These problems reduced the efficiency of individual employees and therefore the overall productivity of the company. In this paper, I will highlight the organization of the company, the problem I identified, the topic under which the problem falls, and specific recommendations that can help solve the problem.
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Etisalat is an international telecommunications company based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The company has millions of local and international customers. At the Abu Dhabi headquarters, the company serves local and international clients. The company has a large number of employees who work in the customer service department. Etisalat considers itself a leader in offering quality service and as such, the company emphasizes providing high-quality service to its many customers. The employees are therefore expected to treat the customers in the best way possible and offer services in a timely manner. The company encourages quality practices by its employees to achieve improvements in services.
The employee base in the company is multicultural and employees come from Saudi Arabia and other countries. The organization considers the value differences across cultures and encourages an understanding and respect of other cultures by each member of staff. However, most of the employees are from the UAE and their proficiency in English is low. On the other hand, most of the international customers who require customer service do not understand Arabic but can communicate in English. These customers, therefore, have to be served by the employees who have English communication skills.
During my time with the company, I noticed that the company showed a great commitment to customer service. However, I saw one major problem in the company. Many of the customers were from different nationalities around the world. However, there were not enough workers who could communicate effectively in English, which was the language most often used by international customers. The customers had to wait for the employees who were fluent in English to serve them. This created a lot of pressure for the English-speaking employees since their workload was significantly increased.
There was also a perception by the English-speaking employees that they were being overworked since they had to sometimes handle the clients for the non-English speaking workers. Because of this perception, most of the English-speaking employees expressed frustration, especially when dealing with emotionally challenging situations. They were also not able to deal properly with the other employees and this created a hostile work environment. To me, the English-speaking workers were not able to handle the stress they experienced at work constructively. The output of the customer service team was reduced because these workers took more time serving international customers than the average time.
Topic: Emotional Intelligence
The concept of emotional intelligence (EI) has gained greater attention in the organizational context because of the realization that it plays a role in how individuals develop their professional lives. Yaghoubi and Hadi define EI as the capability of a person to “perceive correctly, evaluate, and express emotion; access and generate feelings when they facilitate thought; comprehend emotion and emotional knowledge; and the ability to regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth” (120). Research indicates that when employees have high EI, they are able to cope better with the stress experienced at work. This reduces the negative effects that stress has on an individual’s work performance.
EI influences the ability of a person to coexist with others and dictates how he/she will deal with stress and frustrations in the workplace. It also determines the level of control that a person has over his emotions. Individuals with high EI demonstrate greater social awareness. They are more aware of the emotions, concerns, and needs of others. Yaghoubi and Hadi suggest that a person’s response to an emotionally challenging situation is determined by their EI (120).
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EI moderates the impact of stress on the individual and people with high EI are able to deal with job stress constructively. The individual with high EI will experience stress without letting it affect his/her work performance. Research suggests that some individuals with high EI will actually view stressors as a challenge and therefore perform even better in their work (Moon and Hur 1089). Individuals with high EI demonstrate initiative competence, which is the ability to act before being forced to do so by external events. Employees demonstrating initiative competence will take action to avoid problems before they happen. They will not wait to be asked to serve customers by their supervisor but will show great self-drive.
The emotions that employees feel might affect their attitudes towards their duties and the company as a whole. Moon and Hur note that workers who have low EI will develop a negative attitude towards their duties and experience job dissatisfaction (1087). Such workers are also likely to experience emotional exhaustion and burnout, which will lead to decreased individual performance.
Emotional Intelligence should be one of the main factors considered when the company is hiring new personnel. Etisalat is a large company and the HR department is constantly hiring new staff. The problems highlighted can be mitigated if the company makes high EI one of the measures for selecting candidates for new positions. By giving Emotional Quotient tests, the company will be able to explore the EI of an individual. Candidates with high EI will be given higher consideration since they will have better interpersonal skills and emotional awareness. While factoring EI in the selection process can be costly, it is the quickest way to obtain EI competencies in the workforce.
The company should engage in training efforts to develop the EI of its staff. While EI may be natural in some people, it is possible to develop it through training. There are training and development programs for EI that can help in the development of emotional competence within the company. The employees in the service center should be trained and enrolled in these programs to help develop their EI. With higher EI, the employees who feel overworked and underappreciated will be able to cope better with the job stress. They will also experience greater work satisfaction and this will contribute to higher productivity. By taking steps to increase the EI of its employees, the company will increase its productivity.
The organization should engage in team-building activities to enhance internal communication. Activities such as retreats will help build chemistry among the employees. The hostility experienced in the workplace will be reduced as the workers develop a value for each other. When employees are able to relate to each other as friends, they will be more likely to appreciate the challenges and stress that they go through.
The company should establish procedures and routines, which are emotionally intelligent. As it was, Etisalat did not have any well-established procedures or norms that employees could follow when dealing with each other. Specifically, the company should come up with emotionally adaptive routines and procedures. Rules should exist on how to treat and lead others with respect to their emotions. Established behavioral patterns will lead to a regulation of emotions in interactions among employees for the benefit of the organization. By embedding EI within organizational procedures and norms, the company will have greater control of the interactions and collaboration among employees.
This paper has addressed a problem that I identified while working in the customer care department of Emirates Telecommunications Corporation five years ago. The problem arose from the presence of many international clients and a few English-speaking employees. I have demonstrated that the problem can be addressed under the concept of emotional intelligence. Low EI among the company’s customer care staff led to poor handling of stress and increased workload. I have recommended a number of measures that the company can engage in to increase the EI of its workforce. By using the recommendations given in this paper, Etisalat will avoid the negative impacts of poor EI such as hostility, job dissatisfaction, and decreased productivity.
Moon, Tae, and Hur Won-Moo. “Emotional intelligence, emotional exhaustion and job performance.” Social Behavior and Personality 39.8 (2011): 1087-1096. Web.
Yaghoubi, Esmaeil and Hadi Abdollahi. “An Analysis of Correlation between Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) and Emotional Intelligence (El).” Modern Applied Science 5.2 (2011): 119-123. Web.