Integrating Emotional Intelligence: A Competence Model for European SMEs in Industry 5.0

As Europe transitions into the era of Industry 5.0, the REVIVE 5.0 project is leading the way by integrating Emotional Intelligence (EI) into Human Resource Management (HRM) practices within Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). This initiative, involving six countries—France, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, the Netherlands, and Türkiye—aims to blend advanced technologies with human-centric approaches to boost creativity, sustainability, and productivity.

The REVIVE 5.0 project recognises the growing importance of EI in dealing with Industry 5.0 challenges. Despite different economic and cultural backgrounds, all participating countries agree that HRM practices must adapt to keep up with technological changes and foster more collaborative and flexible work cultures.

Country-Specific Insights

France: French SMEs are balancing technology with emotional skills. Significant government investment in R&D and training highlights the need for EI to develop a creative, empathetic, and innovative workforce. Key skills include empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, and adaptability.

Greece: In Greece, the focus is on managing digital transformation and improving employee engagement through EI. Customised training programs and strategic integration of EI into HRM frameworks are crucial. Important skills are motivation, conflict resolution, and adaptability.

Cyprus: Cypriot SMEs see EI as vital for competitiveness and managing digital changes. Comprehensive EI training programs and a culture of continuous learning are emphasised. Key skills include conflict management, teamwork, and leadership.

Italy: Italian SMEs recognise EI’s role in promoting a human-centred approach, enhancing organisational resilience, and fostering collaboration. They focus on self-awareness, self-management, and social skills.

Netherlands: Dutch SMEs prioritise societal contributions over just productivity. They adapt technology to meet workers’ needs while ensuring their rights. Important skills are empathy, teamwork, and emotional resilience.

Türkiye: Turkish SMEs are increasingly aware of the need for EI to manage digital transformation effectively. Tailored training programs and integrating EI into strategic HRM practices are crucial. Key skills include self-regulation, empathy, and cultural intelligence.

Strategic Recommendations

To guide SMEs through Industry 5.0, the REVIVE 5.0 project provides several strategic recommendations. Customised EI training programs should be developed to address specific organisational and sectoral needs, focusing on relevant competencies such as cognitive flexibility, stress management, empathy, and interpersonal skills. These programs should apply interactive workshops, simulations, group discussions, and e-learning modules for flexible, on-demand access to training resources. Furthermore, EI should be embedded into core organisational practices, influencing hiring, promotions, and daily operations. This includes incorporating EI assessments into recruitment processes and adjusting performance review systems to evaluate how employees handle emotional challenges and interpersonal interactions. Leadership development is another critical area, with targeted programs to enhance leaders’ self-awareness, empathy, and ability to manage emotions. Coaching and mentoring should be implemented to develop these skills among leaders, focusing on real-life challenges within the organisation.

Continuous learning and feedback are essential to foster an environment where EI is continually developed. Regular feedback mechanisms, including 360-degree feedback systems and reflective practices, should be employed to help employees understand their emotional responses and learn from their experiences. Additionally, promoting a supportive EI environment involves creating an organisational climate that supports EI development and application, recognizing and rewarding efforts to improve emotional skills. This can be achieved through recognition programs and establishing peer support networks or EI champions within the organisation

Overcoming Challenges

Developing EI competencies is not without its challenges. Resistance from employees uncomfortable addressing emotional issues and organisations undervaluing soft skills in favour of technical abilities are common hurdles. Overcoming these involves:

  • Regularly communicate EI’s tangible benefits, such as improved teamwork, lower turnover rates, and better conflict resolution.
  • Leaders should model excellent EI behaviour, demonstrating practical benefits in interactions.
  • Connect EI training to real business outcomes, helping employees see the direct impact on their work and the organisation’s success.

What We Offer

The REVIVE 5.0 project offers a comprehensive EI Competence Model to support SMEs in their transition to Industry 5.0. Our offerings include:

  • Tailored EI Training Programs: Customised for specific organisational needs, focusing on essential skills.
  • Interactive Learning Experiences: Workshops, simulations, group discussions, and e-learning modules for flexible and accessible training.
  • Integration Strategies: Guidance on embedding EI into core practices, including hiring, promotions, and daily operations, as well as recruitment and performance reviews.

The insights and recommendations from the REVIVE 5.0 project offer a strategic blueprint to develop an EI Competencies Model that addresses shared challenges and diverse needs. This approach fosters a resilient, innovative, and empathetic organisational culture, helping SMEs thrive in the Industry 5.0 era.

As European SMEs move forward, the REVIVE 5.0 project stands as a guiding light, helping them integrate emotional intelligence to build a workforce that is both technologically proficient and emotionally resilient.

For more information on the REVIVE 5.0 project and to stay updated on its progress, check out