Advantages of Introverts in the Workplace (And How to Retain Them Long-Term)

Advantages of Introverts in the Workplace (And How to Retain Them Long-Term)

Advantages of Introverts in the Workplace (And How to Retain Them Long-Term)

The stereotypical image of the introvert is hardly complementary.  Unfortunately, there is a tendency to overlook such individuals, not just at the application stage of the process, but also in the workplace itself. In the majority of corporations, quiet equates to unfriendly, unengaged and, even in some cases, standoffish; with the individual left feeling as if their reticence is somehow contagious, and at odds with the corporate culture.

Yet if the workplace comprises only of blustery Barbaras alone, no one will be able to get a word in edgeways; or, for that matter, will the vital listening skills be readily available to acknowledge the merit in extrovert ideas, and reflect on their suitability for purpose.

Moreover, introverts bring a variety of skills to the table that prove invaluable even in more traditionally extrovert professions, such as Sales. This is where shyer Sandras definitely come into their own.

Although extroverts will inevitably flourish in these roles, listening skills are just as imperative for ensuring client satisfaction continues; a key trait that introverts possess in abundance to the benefit of a firm.  It can be all too easy to let age-old stereotypes do the talking-and let highly skilled candidates fall through the net. 

Even in cases where an introverted candidate may not be the best suited to the role they applied for, an astute manager will have a crystal clear overview of all aspects of the business, and consider whether another part of the business might benefit from an introvert’s talents instead.

Of course, attracting top talent  is only half of the story; the actions taken to retain employees is just as crucial, if not more so-with many a hiring headache averted by ensuring the needs of staff are considered, accommodated and accounted for.

With the above in mind, here’s 5 key ways to put your people at the top of your agenda-and earn their loyalty long-term:

ACTIONABLE INSIGHT NO.1: CREATE CONDUCIVE CONDITIONS FOR INTROVERTS:

So…you’ve hired the right people for your firm-but how can you ensure that they remain content? It’s an age-old question, and one which elicits a variety of different answers. However, one clear takeaway from the research available is that the corporate conditions themselves have a direct bearing on employees’ level of engagement with the task at hand.  To create a set up that satisfies the needs of an introvert, quiet is key-as well as minimal disruption. If this isn’t always physically possible, additional tools, such as headphones, enable them to block out background sounds and preserve the peaceful ambience where they feel at their most productive.

ACTIONABLE INSIGHT NO.2: PRIORITISE THEIR PREFERRED COMMUNICATION:

Extroverts certainly talk the talk…but when it comes to walking the walk, introverts tend to take the trump card. Promises are all too easy; the devil is definitely in the detail-as well as the overall delivery. A practiced Manager will give outgoing employees the opportunity to speak their spiel-whilst simultaneously allowing introvert co-workers to take care of the follow up, such as the written contracts, and details of a deal.  Introverts prefer to communicate in writing, so by prioritising this form, you’ll ensure you play to their strengths.

ACTIONABLE INSIGHT NO.3: ASSIGN SOLO PROJECTS WHERE POSSIBLE:

Despite teamwork being an integral part of most roles, solo projects also have their place; resource should be assigned accordingly to achieve the best results. Introverts thrive when working alone and are far better suited to any solo projects that need completing (which inevitably require long periods of working alone-a panic-inducing prospect for an extrovert, where the mere mention of the word silence is sure to elicit a shudder!)  Moral of the story? Assign, and let them shine!

ACTIONABLE INSIGHT NO.4: ALLOW ADEQUATE TIME FOR THOUGHT AND REFLECTION:

Foreshortened turnaround time is a Manager’s longstanding lament, with action the name of the game. Yet it is imperative to note that reflection also has its place-especially when it comes to making company defining decisions where the stakes are raised higher than a game of Russian Roulette. Action is prized, yet reflection is vital to prevent acting on impulse, rather than considering a situation from every available angle. Allow adequate time for thought and reflection and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the insights from introvert members of staff!

ACTIONABLE INSIGHT NO.5: ACTIVELY PROMOTE INTROVERT SKILLS IN THE WORKPLACE:

As a manager, the importance of leading by example should not be undermined-especially in terms of your people.  If staff members witness you actively promoting introvert skills in the business environment, the traditional norms of extroversion being prioritised exclusively will be challenged, creating an inclusive, company culture.

 

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