How to Establish a Suitable Work Environment for Introverted Employees
Is giving a presentation in public a real challenge for you? Are you in trouble when you ask for support from a colleague? Does interacting with other people make you feel uncomfortable? Are you oftentimes tired of crowded places? If you answered yes to the above questions, there is an increased chance that you belong to the introverted employees category. Don’t worry, it’s not just you in this situation. According to The Myers-Briggs Company study, about 56.8% of the global population is formed of introverted individuals.
But have you stopped at least once to think about why it’s so difficult to be an introvert in modern organizational culture? Currently, the workplace is built around ideas and activities that encourage brainstorming and teamwork. Such extroverted characteristics are often the very foundation of the current professions, causing difficulties when integrating introverts in companies. Because people are different and diversity has its own set of benefits, as an HR specialist or manager, it’s helpful to know certain practices that can positively influence the experience of introverted employees at work.
What is introversion?
The terms introvert and extrovert were introduced to public opinion by psychiatrist Carl Jung in 1921. The main goal is to make a distinction between people who are deeply connected to their inner thoughts and feelings and those who focus more on the outside world.
Later, in 2013, Harvard Law School graduate Susan Cain, a former lawyer, and negotiator published her bestseller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Through this writing, Susan documented situations from her professional experience, namely her calm and reserved nature, often understood as a disadvantage. But as she began to explore introversion as a personality trait, she realized that the distinctive note that most people perceive as a weakness is actually an asset.
Thus, Susan Cain defines introversion as the preference for quiet, less challenging environments compared to extroverts who crave a high degree of stimulation.
What characteristics do we encounter in introverted employees?
Over time, specialists in the field have researched introverted personalities, reaching a common ground on certain fundamental elements.
Consequently, the introvert:
- Prefers to spend time alone, and needs alone time to recharge.
- He or she is not a follower of stimulating activities. For example, going out with a friend is generally a good way to relax compared to a party.
- He or she tends to have strong concentration skills.
- Doesn’t like small talk, but often researches topics that he/she finds interesting.
- Think before they speak, often characterized as a good listener.
- Feels tired from attending group meetings where he/she has to be “active” for long periods of time. Their energy for social activities is usually limited.
How can we improve the experience of introverted employees at work?
With the popularization of concepts such as “personal branding”, brainstorming, and open spaces, we can easily say that many work environments are modeled around extroverted personalities. Contrary to this, in the right environment, introverts are confident, innovative, and can hold leadership positions. Therefore, in the upcoming paragraphs, we have presented some recommendations with a positive impact on the experience of employees who are prone to introversion.
Encourages the occasional need for solitude
With constant noise and other frequent distractions, working in an open-space office can be overwhelming for an introvert. In this context, employees should be able to work outside the team occasionally, if they feel that their productivity can increase in this way. This is especially important for tasks that require deep concentration or creativity. Why not, you can opt for the implementation of a hybrid work system that involves a mix of interaction with other colleagues and individual work.
Provides time and space for generating ideas
Usually, introverts like to analyze the topic in detail before presenting an idea. These types of personalities also tend to gather information from multiple sources to support their decisions. In other words, introverted employees will always appreciate the processing time between a request for an opinion and its transmission. At the same time, they can choose to communicate various issues during individual meetings or through a written message. All things considered, many introverts prefer to express themselves in this way.
Distribute tasks according to the typology of each employee
Depending on the nature of the activity carried out, daily tasks should fit into the skills of each employee. In general, people with introverted traits tend to enjoy tasks that can be solved independently.
Don’t forget about feedback
Extroverted colleagues feel at ease when they share opinions freely. For some introverts, this can be a difficult task. To ensure that you receive feedback from all employees, try to implement different ways of communication/feedback.
As an introverted employee, in what kind of environment do you think you can do your job better?
- At the office