Engaging introverted workers

Just reading the brilliant well researched book Quiet by Susan Cain about introverts in the Western workforce that mostly encourages extrovert behaviours.  These workplaces are designed to support extrovert behaviours including open plan offices, team working, group away days, reward for certain behaviours.  For example, introverts are less favoured for leadership positions even though research shows they are more likely to enable employees and encourage their innovation.  Introverts are more likely to be thoughtful and contemplative leaders whilst extroverts are people of action. Organisations need both types of people.

To me, the main implication of Susan’s research is the importance of developing workplaces, HR and engagement strategies that allow different employee personalities to flourish.    The subtleties of what drives employee engagement can be lost in employee surveys that seek to generalise results and look for one range of ‘key drivers’.  Instead, we’d recommend seeking to understand how different groups of employees in your workforce engage with their environment.  To do this, we look at motivation and what people seek from the workplace and then explore differences between these groups.

See a summary via this TED Talk.