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IQ plus EQ

How technology will unlock the emotional intelligence of the workforce of the future


Companies have long known that emotional intelligence (social skills, empathy, self-awareness) is strongly correlated with star performance. Relationships, or social capital, can be just as important as intellectual capital.

However, until now, the ability to collect real-time, precise data on people’s emotions and relationships at work and turn those into improved performance has been difficult at best. Without good data, little can be done to move the dial on performance. Now machines are on the cusp of entering brave, new and surprising territory: partnering with people to radically improve the emotional intelligence (EQ) of the workforce of the future.


Key Findings

A new generation of personal and environmental technologies can collect unprecedented levels of information about social and emotional states at work. Watches, headbands and rings detect physiological data such as heart rate, skin temperature and brain waves to accurately read a person’s mood.

To capitalize on this emerging opportunity and sharpen employees’ emotional intelligence, organizations can use technology to:

  • Provide real-time feedback to employees to increase their social and emotional self-awareness.

  • Predict the emotions and behaviors and provide insightful interventions to improve performance.

  • Teach people how to improve their social and emotional skills.

  • Change people’s emotions or social behaviors at work.

According to Accenture Strategy rese​arch, 52 percent of business executives expect a moderate to significant change in work practices due to wearable devices.


Companies have the opportunity to use technology to drive altogether new customer and employee experiences that produce bottom line business results.

Specifically, customer-facing workforces can become much more perceptive regarding the emotions of their customers and radically improve their interactions with them. To get started boosting EQ through technology, companies need to:

  • Get employees on board by educating them on the benefits.

  • Overcome privacy concerns. Explicit, opt-in, informed consent is one important way to approach privacy issues.

  • As smart sensors continue to penetrate the workplace, organizations will be best served if they start with the least intrusive technologies first before moving to the next level.


45 percent of leaders say privacy issues are a major concern with respect to digital transformation.


Brian Payne
Managing Director
Accenture Strategy
Talent and Organization

Colin Sloman
Managing Director

Himanshu Tambe
Managing Director
Accenture Strategy
Talent & Organization