Presented as the offspring of business continuity planning, emotional continuity management has been around for a few years now. The concept links emotional distress in the workplace with a negative impact on productivity, and conversely emotional wellbeing with a positive impact. People who feel good perform better. People who don’t fall apart emotionally when disaster strikes a company are more likely to ensure that a business continues to function. The reasoning is plausible and the logical extension is that ways of reinforcing positive emotions are to be encouraged and applied. Yet there’s something missing.
Business continuity planning itself is already challenged by the need to produce data to show how much it benefits an organisation. Emotional continuity management is in the same boat. Hard data on how much it contributes to bottom line profitability is difficult to come by. In the opposite sense, data exists to show the losses that emotional turmoil can do in the workplace, on a case by case basis. Incident by incident, for example for cases of emotional upset cause by feuding or bullying employees, it might be possible to pick out events such as an apology offered or counselling given that changed the course of events. However, trying to induce a general rule about quantifying the value of such actions is optimistic, to say the least.
So where does that leave things? On the one hand, there’s the “obvious truth”, that emotions can make a significant difference to employee wellbeing, job satisfaction, productivity and ultimately business continuity. On the other hand, the only tools to manage those emotions are approaches that statistically have been shown to work, and a good dose of intuition. Would controlled experiments shed more light? Companies may feel they have better things to do with their resources. For the moment, intuition and case studies are the best emotional continuity management tools there are.