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Careers.jpgEmotional labour is the management of emotions in the workplace. The term was coined by American sociologist Arlie Hochschild who defined it as “emotion regulation that creates a publicly visible facial and bodily display within the workplace.”

Emotional labour is playing an increasingly important role in the workforce globally, especially among professionals in the service sector as these professionals are required to deal with third-parties (clients). Furthermore, research indicates that the management of emotions impacts employee productivity, which is why it is all the more relevant for line managers to ensure that their employees’ emotions are not left unchecked.

Here are six techniques that HR departments and line managers can use to ensure that their employees’ can manage their positive and negative emotions:

1. Customer relationship management training helps improve negotiating skills when it comes to dealing with clients. It also teaches employees to stay calm, collected and maintain a positive attitude at all times.

2. Soft skills training emphasises ways to improve ‘soft skills’ which pertain to employees’ EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) and ability to interact effectively with co-workers and clients.

3. Counselling assists employees in learning how to gauge work situations better as well as manage their emotions more efficiently.

4.Behavioural learning techniques focus on the need to remain positive, motivated and stress free. These techniques encourage employees to share their thoughts and feelings with their co-workers and managers.

5.Employee engagement techniques include learning opportunities (e.g. conferences and training sessions), incentives (e.g. paid holidays, appreciation and recognition) and perks (e.g. club memberships and office gyms). In the long run, these opportunities and incentives boost employees’ commitment and loyalty to the company and serve as motivators.

6.An open door policy provides employees with the opportunity to discuss their work related problems, grievances and impediments with their line managers without hesitation.

– Monica Peter
The writer is an HR Consultant and trainer. monica@talentexperts.biz.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on August 25, 2013.