PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — How can companies make workers happier and more productive? A Bucks County construction company is embracing emotional intelligence to help their employees. This kind of intelligence goes beyond IQ smarts. Emotional intelligence is about being aware of and understanding how other people feel. Experts say it usually makes for a better work environment, not matter what you do. There is a stereotype about people who work in construction, being tough guys — yes, it’s physically challenging — and there’s something else. “We are constantly surrounded by conflict and stress,” Ian Pollini said. It’s an emotional powder keg, a simple measurement flaw can throw a whole job into chaos. There is a lot of job burnout and substance abuse.
EDA contractors in Bensalem, Bucks County, has a solution — emotional intelligence training. “The construction industry is extremely demanding. It is very hard work and people are emotionally stimulated often, there is a lot of screaming and yelling,” leadership coach Pat DeAngelis said. “We want to give them the skills to be able to handle those situations.” DeAngelis is known as Aunt Pat because she is the boss’s aunt. “I really wanted to make this company more like a family, like a community,” EDA Contractor’s CEO Ed DeAngelis said. “Emotional intelligence was a big part of how we’re going to make people be happier and it’s more satisfying and calmer while they’re doing their work.” “Yeah, it’s definitely made things more productive and just a better work environment in general,” EDA’s Superintendent Vinny Marino said. Marino, who’s a lifelong union carpenter, never thought job training would include lessons on breathing. “It’s just, it’s mind-blowing,” Marino said. “If they simply remember to take a breath, it literally puts us into relaxation mode, our heart rate goes down, our blood pressure goes down and we become calm and think more logically,” Pat DeAngelis said.
The company says the emotional intelligence training has paid off financially, with improved productivity and fewer delays and mistakes.