Hero photograph
Anne, in aged care in rural Victoria
Photo by Oliver Gouldthorpe

Carers who care

Lesley Brook —

Emotional intelligence has a positive impact on job performance and job satisfaction for aged care staff.

The aged care industry is facing a staff shortage, struggling to attract and retain health professionals to work in aged care as a career. One factor is that, like health professionals in other sectors, many staff working in aged care suffer from stress and burnout. So does emotional intelligence help with the job performance and job satisfaction of employees who provide care to aged care residents?

Meena Rani investigated this issue for her Master of Applied Management research, at our Auckland International Campus. Meena conducted a survey inviting participants to self-evaluate their job performance and job satisfaction, and report on 16 measures of emotional intelligence. Forty aged care workers completed the survey online, and 60 completed a hard copy distributed with permission to staff at several aged care facilities. Regression and descriptive statistics data analysis techniques were used to analyse this quantitative data. Seven participants were also interviewed, then thematic data analysis was used to identify the themes from the interview data.

This mixed methods research found that there was a relationship between emotional intelligence, job performance, and job satisfaction. Findings include:

  • Participants' ability to be aware of their own and others' emotions and manage and use those emotions are positively associated with their job performance. 
  • Employees' ability to understand patients' emotions positively impacts the quality of care delivered to patients. 
  • Regulation and management of employees' emotional skills positively impact employees' job performance and support them in managing conflict in the workplace. 
  • Leaders' ability to perceive and understand their own and other emotions, and regulate and use of emotion, were positively associated with employee job performance and job satisfaction.
  • An employee's emotional intelligence has a positive impact on their job satisfaction, the main factor being assisting patients by understanding their emotions.

Meena recommends that the aged care industry should provide training to build staff capability in emotional intelligence, to enhance employees' job performance and job satisfaction.