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July 17th, 2018

Addressing The Challenges Of Emotional Labor

The Term Emotional Labor, Tracing Back To 1983 By Arlie Hochschild , Deals With The Act Of Managing And Regulating One’s Own Feelings And Not Expressing Their Full Emotions So As To Fulfill The Emotional Requirements Of A Given Role. While Emotional Labor Is Applicable To Many Areas Of Business, The Consequences Are Probably Greatest In Traditional Service Roles. In An Increasingly Demanding And Competitive Market Environment, Customer Service Is Essential. How Does An Employee Provide Excellent Customer Service In A Time Of Feeling Anything But Excellent?

Often Times, There Is The Tendency Of The Employer To Be Concerned With Employee Presence On The Job 8-5, Minding Their Whereabouts After Hours In The Event Of Brand Image Being Tainted But Not Concerning Themselves With The Emotions An Employee Switches Off/On When Coming Into The Work Environment Daily.

When Employees Daily Have To Interact With Angry Clients Or Generally Unpleasant Individuals In The Workplace, A Challenge Is Presented. The Employee Is Expected, As Per The Company Values, To Smile And Nod And Patiently Respond To The Customer. There Is Also The Expectation For Employees To Work In Teams, Adding To The Emotional Labor An Employee Undergoes To Constantly Work And Communicate With Team Members Whilst Handling Their Own Emotional Battles.

Consequences Of Emotional Labor Vary From Stress And Frustration To Anxiety And Even Depression. According To Researchers, Burnout And Emotional Exhaustion Result From Emotional Labor On A Regular Basis That Requires One To Hide Their True Emotions Whilst Dealing With High Levels Of Stress And Can Result In Disconnecting From Close Relationships.

Customers Are Far More Demanding Now Than They Were 15 Or 20 Years Ago And Competition Has Increased. Organizations That Are Able To Thrive In The Midst Of The Changing Market Environment And Customer Interactions Undoubtedly Realize A Competitive Advantage. It Is Also Reasonable To Believe That Helping People Deal With The Consequences Of Emotional Labor Will Improve Staff Morale And Reduce Staff Turnover.

Personnel

Employing Personnel For The Front Desk Or Reception Who Not Only Have A High Level Of Emotional Intelligence But Are Also Generally Happier And More Cheerful. Such Traits Enable Them To Deal With A High Pressure Environment. These Personnel Have Daily Direct Contact With The External Customer And Directly Impact Customer Service.

A Human Resource Officer That Is Sensitive To The Environment Would Be Able To Notice When An Employee’s Behavior Has Been Off And Create A Space To Walk Them Through Their Emotions. The HR Department Should Be Able To Recognize Employees In Personal Distress And Creating An Outlet For Them.

Have A Heightened Awareness Of The Employees Within Your Workforce That Are Generally Negative In Nature, Introverted Or Possess A Lower Social Awareness As There Is The Possibility Of Them Having A Harder Time Dealing With Emotions And Reach A Point Of Emotional Exhaustion In The Workplace Faster Than Their Positive Counterparts.

Offer Staff Assistance Programs

Organizations Invest In The Care And Development Of Their Workers By Providing Access To Stress Management And Emotional Health Services. This Strategy Recognizes That Emotional Labor Can Be Hard Work And Trains Employees On Emotional Intelligence, Recognizing Signs And As A Result Reduces The Burden.

Equip Your Employees With Problem Solving Skills And Useful Problem Solving Techniques That Prepares Them To Handle Different Situations And Reduces The Degree Of Negative Emotions That Would Surface Due To Unfavorable Work Outcomes.

Create A Supportive Environment

Development Of A Positive Culture Will Be Key In The Creation Of A Supportive Work Environment, Allowing The Release Of Negative Emotions And An Outlet For Employees To Air Their Concerns As Well As Gain Peer Support. The Release Of The Negative Emotions Removes The Barriers That Hinder Innovation And Increase The Likelihood Of Creativity .Internal Or Outsourced Empathy Building Training’s Also Provide Employee With Emotional Skills And Reduce Emotional Exhaustion.

Strive To Provide High Quality Customer Service To Your Internal And External Customer Through First Addressing The Needs And Emotions Of Your Internal Customer. Employees Are Not A Means To An End And Ensuring The Emotional Needs Of The Internal Customer Are Met Leads To Them Thereafter Taking Care Of The External Customer Needs. They Are Able To Better Navigate Through Stress And Anxiety Related To Their Job, Improve Their Job Satisfaction And Better Achieve Excellence In Customer Service.
Note 1: Hochschild Is A Professor At The University Of California At Berkeley Who Has Established The Sociology Of Emotions As A Field Of Study.

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