SEL, Social-Emotional Learning in Corporate Training

Feb 05, 2023
Suresh Kumar D N
SEL, Social-Emotional Learning in Corporate Training

Intro Summary

It’s a fact that people have different learning capabilities, and no two life journeys are the same. Each has its own set of challenges. Varied personal or professional reasons can lead to stress and behavioral problems. These, in turn, impact the learning process and task execution at work. Managing emotions is critical for excellence. This article will explore Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and its relevance in corporate training.


Response to events in the work environment and otherwise as well, impacts one’s attitudinal and behavioral outcomes.

A research paper called “Current Emotion Research in Organizational Behavior” by Neal M. Ashkanasy and Ronald H. Humphrey. It shares insights on emotion in the field of organizational behavior at five levels. These levels include within-person, between-persons, dyadic interactions, leadership and teams, and organization-wide. In a nutshell, it posits that positive moods increase creativity, job satisfaction, and job performance.

Several factors determine the intensity and duration of moods that one experiences, whether positive or negative. These factors could be personal or a result of interaction with people outside or within the organization.

There is a lot involved in determining a positive spectrum of emotions. It is the organization’s onus to create a positive emotional climate. Leaders play an important role as mood managers. During the job, emotions are inhered within the communication with colleagues, customers, and clients. This is referred to as emotional labor. Eventually, the onus depends on every individual to manage their emotions and moods as they go through the rigors of life, including the workplace.

It is in this context that social-emotional learning gains significance.

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

So, what is social-emotional learning?

SEL refers to a process where the learners gain social and emotional skills, behaviors, and values which help them to manage emotions, empathize, and make responsible decisions.

SEL helps to create trusting and collaborative relationships. People have a better understanding of themselves and those around them.

It equips people to improve skills for:

  • Managing emotions
  • Solving problems
  • Making empathetic decisions
  • Fostering healthy relationships
  • Having self-knowledge
  • Gaining self-control

Social-emotional learning promotes self-awareness, positive behaviors, and personal and organizational excellence.

SEL involves five core competencies per Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). It is an organization working towards the development of academic, social, and emotional competence for all students. These competencies are:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship skills
  • Making responsible decisions

However, it would be erroneous to think that its purview is only the children’s classroom. It is relevant to organizations – corporate, government and others.

SEL skills influence how businesses will:

  • Communicate with clients, customers, and employees
  • Create marketing messages
  • Adopt Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace
  • Create safe and effective redressal and grievance pathways
  • Articulate the company’s mission and values effectively
  • Make training a priority because the employees are valued and respected

A deep understanding of customers, stakeholders and themselves has helped many companies achieve their goals in good times and keep their ships steady in turbulent waters. Some of the benefits of socio-emotional learning in the corporate environment include:

Positive Company Culture

People are social beings whose lives are interwoven in a mesh of interdependence. This leads to emotional friction and, thereby, the need for its management. Socio-emotional learning helps to lubricate the conflict and promote healthy company culture.

Higher Happiness Quotient

Employees who can manage their minds and emotions are happier. They are more aware of themselves and others and can respond adequately.

Goal Setting and Task Allocation

A team with high awareness quotient can draw realistic goals. Tasks are aligned by assessing the strengths and limitations of each team member. This maintains team harmony. Employees are more focused and enthusiastic about reaching their goals. There is role clarity, peer support, interdependence, and positive relationships.

Organizational Success

SEL skills promote the efficiency of processes and organizational behavior, which in the long run, makes the company stay ahead of the curve.

How do we learn social-emotional learning skills such as self-awareness, empathy etc., within the flow of work?

Social-Emotional Learning and eLearning

Digital learning provides short and standalone modules on various SEL skills. One can author SEL skill courses on a learning management system and/or access a library of these courses from a dynamic digital learning solutions provider.

Courses for SEL

Here are some broad categories of courses that one can look for under the socio-emotional learning umbrella.

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Communication
  • Active listening
  • DEI
  • Empathy and leading with empathy
  • Leadership
  • Decision making
  • Relationship skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Change management
  • Mental health
  • Stress management
  • Code of conduct
  • Many more…

It is not just life skills, SEL can also make learning at the workplace turn a new leaf. Let’s know how.

eLearning Modules Drawing Upon SEL

An effective digital learning program can draw upon several principles of socioeconomic learning.

Scenario and Role Playing

From perception (cognitive) to action (conative), the path is bridged by the affective component, which comprises the subject’s emotions, feelings, and preferences. Any action one does, is for themselves – it relates to their feelings, likes, and emotions.

An impactful storyline will include scenarios for the learner to recall a known experience. The scenarios will then create the context to present the new information. The emotional connection with scenarios and roleplaying help the learners to understand the concepts better.

They are used in several skill training programs, such as code of conduct, compliance, security, self-awareness, DEI, leadership, onboarding, and more.


Gamified learning too helps boost the affective or emotional quotient of the learners. Gamification elements such as scores, badges, and leaderboards keep the learner enthused.

Collaborative Training

Collaborative learning enhances social and emotional learning. It fosters relationships and inculcates empathy. An impactful training program allows the learners to discuss the course with each other. Additionally, webinars or videos of the experts greatly aid the learning process.


The design and flow of instruction also touch upon the affective element. A balanced visual, aural, read/write, and kinesthetic usage of the VARK model can simplify learning. Deft application of colors can go a long way to keep the learner’s emotions balanced.


Social and emotional learning has made inroads into corporate and government training programs. Developing social and emotional skills is important for an organization’s success.

Access digital content for SEL skills. You can author your courses related to SEL on our learning platform KREDO or get customized eLearning solutions. You can also select from our library of courses.

If you wish to know how our services and learning platform can give an edge to your corporate training programs, write to us at

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