Case Study


Case Study: Strengthening Relationships with EQ at HSBC

Project Description

How do quantitative, analytical bankers become more effective at building strong relationships? An immersion in emotional intelligence proves to unlock new awareness.


Headquartered in London, HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. HSBC's international network comprises around 7,500 offices in 87 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. As in other successful financial institutions, most managers are hired and promoted for their financial intelligence and IQ skills.

While HSBC's managers have been highly successful, the bank saw an opportunity to position themselves for the future by developing the "EQ side" as well. In 2008, under the leadership of the South-East Asia SVP for Learning and Development, a project was initiated to pilot and then disseminate an emotional intelligence program with the goal of increasing managers' capacity for people leadership.


A customized workshop was created to meet these needs. EQ for Building Relationships ("EQBR") is a 2-day workshop on emotional intelligence meant for the whole bank, including new employees, to become more effective at understanding and using emotions (their own and others') to build strong connections.

Using Six Seconds' learning methodology, the course is highly active so participants don't just "learn" at an intellectual level, they experience new ways of interacting and put these competencies into practice. The program includes orientation to the neuroscience of emotional intelligence and a clear theoretical model so it makes sense to highly rational participants.

After building the business case for EQ and the scientific basis, the course goes on to illustrate the key competencies of EQ that drive relationship effectiveness. Participants learn numerous practical tools for understanding their own reactions ("Know Yourself"), making more proactive and careful choices in their interactions ("Choose Yourself"), and ensuring they are aligning their own choices with a clear sense of purpose and values ("Give Yourself").

Six Seconds' method "A best-in-class process to bring EQ concepts to life. - Cynthia Ng, SVP Learning and Development

The pilot program included the Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment to provide clear and actionable feedback to participants and to increase the engagement of these quantitative experts. After the pilot was run for a mix of Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, trainers and line staff in 2008, a 4-day train-the-trainer program was launched to develop an internal team from the Learning and Development department.

Senior leaders in the department attended the Six Seconds EQ Certification in order to have a deeper understanding of the Model and methodology to support the team's effectiveness in rolling out the program. The internal L&D team has continued to deliver "EQBR" with support and supervision by Six Seconds. In 2011, two additional trainers were certified to run the program.


The EQ for Building Relationships has become a very popular program within HSBC Singapore, and is now being run bank-wide in the country. The internal L&D team has been highly successful, and the program was expanded in 2011. Participants are deeply engaged by the content and the delivery method. They experience a greater awareness of their own reactions, and now have a range of tools for building even better relationships.

After attending the EQ Certification course, Cynthia Ng, SVP Learning and Development, called Six Seconds' method "A best-in-class process to bring EQ concepts to life."

Link to article published on Six Seconds Global

Client: HSBC

Tags: EQ, Performance

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