University of Nebraska, Lincoln Extension

About Our Client

University of Nebraska Extension brings the university’s expertise and research in 8 key areas of impact directly to Nebraskans from all walks of life in each of the state’s 93 counties. Nebraska Extension provides a variety of community-based programs designed to strengthen families, inspire communities, empower young people, conserve and protect natural resources, and advance Nebraskans’ farms, ranches and businesses. 

The Challenge

The work of Nebraska Extension is to serve the needs of Nebraska citizens, and they employ a large staff to conduct the outreach and provide these critical services. They are fundamentally a people-driven organization and focus on developing connections and relationships both within the organization and with the people they serve.  

While they invest in significant training for their employees, the development team at Nebraska Extension identified emotional intelligence (EQ) as the missing component to a critical need around helping people improve their interpersonal and relationship-building skills. They specifically identified communication, conflict, and stress as areas where EQ could make a significant impact. They saw EQ as a way to help their employees manage their emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate more effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict. 

“Because we are connected to a university, continued learning and growth of our people is highly supported and encouraged,” said Lisa Kaslon, PhD, Professional Development Coordinator. “People may be knowledgeable about their areas of discipline, but they also need people skills because everything we do is based on relationships and so much of it relies on their emotional intelligence.” 

The Solution

The team at Nebraska Extension selected TalentSmartEQ based on the company’s years of experience, research-backed solutions, powerful assessments, extensive trainer resources and support, and practical EQ strategies.  

Lisa had done her PhD research on the transfer of training and knew first-hand that training doesn’t stick if it is not reinforced and sustained over time. As a result, Lisa designed a year-long program to implement TalentSmartEQ’s Assessments and Mastering EQ program, Level 1 and Level 2, throughout the organization. This impactful program includes the following: 

  • Emotional Intelligence Appraisal – Self Edition – The program starts with a self-assessment, which provides participants with personalized information about their current EQ level, including their natural strengths and opportunities for development. 
  • Mastering EQ – Level 1 – Participants participate in an in-person Level 1 training, which provides an understanding of emotional intelligence and the 4 core skill areas – Self Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management. Based on their assessment results, participants create individualized skill development plans to improve their EQ skills. 
  • Monthly Check-Ins – For the next six months, the cohort of participants convene every month either with a facilitator to revisit EQ strategies and tools, or with their accountability partner who provides help and support on their EQ journey. 
  • Emotional Intelligence Appraisal – 360 Multi-rater Edition – After 6 months, the participants have their colleagues complete the 360 multi-rater assessment, which provides them with valuable feedback on how they are perceived by others and identifies gaps between their self-perception and the perceptions of their colleagues. These differences help them to recognize their blind spots and prioritize key areas to develop. 
  • Mastering EQ – Level 2 – The participants then come together again for an in-person Level 2 training which provides advanced practice of the cornerstone strategies in each of the four core EQ skill areas. 
  • Monthly Check-Ins – Following the Level 2 training, they continue with the monthly check ins with the EQ facilitator or accountability partner for six months. 
  • Survey – At the end of the year-long program, participants complete an exit survey to gather feedback on the program and its impact. 
  • Booster Sessions – The learning and development team will also be providing optional sessions, covering specific EQ strategies or how to address key challenges, to keep EQ top of mind and provide additional support. 

The certified trainers at Nebraska Extension have implemented this year-long program over the past two years, training over a hundred employees to date. 

“Managing your own emotions and those of others is an ongoing process, and the year-long program really gives our employees time to practice new EQ strategies. The cohort approach has also made a big difference. Working in a small group over the course of a year, they are able to share where things went well and where they didn’t, and help each other with strategies to try next time,” said Lisa. 


The EQ training program at Nebraska Extension has had a significant impact on the interpersonal communications and relationships both within the organization and with the people they serve throughout Nebraska. Participants reported that the increased awareness of their own and others’ emotions has been extremely valuable, contributing to a sense of gratitude, empowerment, and greater resilience in handling tough emotional situations. 

Lisa summarizes the impact of their EQ program, “We believe that ‘you’re better for us, when you’re better for you.’  This program helps people to recognize their emotions and then decide how best to manage them for their own benefit first, and then for the benefit of our organization. Our employees are doing things differently and are happier, and they bring that to their work.”