How to Assess the Emotional Needs of Employees

Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

As a manager, you have many hats to wear. One is to provide a safe place for employees to have and express emotional needs. This requires understanding and strategies, and we discuss these in this lesson.

The Need to Assess Emotional Needs

You create your plan for the day, identifying all of the tasks you need to accomplish. As a manager of a team of 30 people, you try to connect with each person and have a trusting, professional relationship with each employee. You've learned that each person wants connection, and each brings different emotional needs to the workplace.

To be an effective manager, you need to understand and respect each of these needs. One of the challenges you face is balancing time and effort to support emotional needs while keeping your team positive and productive. Each person has a different level of comfort in expressing their emotional needs, and you must know and try to understand each in order to relate to them.

Ways to Evaluate Emotional Needs

Open Communication

The most important step for understanding your employees is to have frequent dialogue in a non-threatening environment. This requires a combination of one-on-one interaction and team meetings. By creating a positive, supportive environment, your employees will be open to sharing their emotional needs with you and trust you with aspects of their lives that affect the work place.


When you know your employees, you can see changes in their demeanor and attitude. If you observe that someone is sad, discouraged, frustrated, or struggling, you can provide more support during difficult times.

As in the previous example, when you manage an office of professionals, you see them daily. If you take time to relate to each person, you will notice changes in behaviors and attitudes. Your observation helps identify problems and create opportunities for dialogue.


When you have a trusting relationship with your team, your employees will give you feedback when they have concerns about their co-workers. This is not the same as gossip or complaints. Constructive feedback is given out of compassion and support, wanting to help rather than judge a fellow teammate.

Creating Win-Win Situations

Have you worked for a boss that only cared about your work productivity? Or one that punished people for showing emotions at work? If you want to get the best from your team, demonstrate support and encouragement to all of its members, especially those who are struggling. While offering help to one team member, you create more trust and loyalty from others who observe your sincere concern. Not only are you strengthening your relationship with the employee who needs help, you are strengthening the entire team.

Determining What Employees Want

Each employee will have different needs and wants. When it comes to emotions, there is not a 'one-size-fits-all' solution. Take time to get to know each person, understand what their needs and wants are, and determine how you can feasibly support everyone.

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