As you probably already know, introverts and extroverts are quite different on the personality scale. They operate differently in various situations and environments, including the workplace.
Today we’re talking about introverts, those lovely individuals who would rather work alone than in groups. But don’t fault them for it—it’s when they’re most productive and do their best work.
Introverts deserve to be recognized in ways that resonate with them and their personality, and here are a few ways you can do it:
Write a personal email or note. Instead of sending a mass email to your whole staff, or even just to their immediate team, send them a personal email or give them a thoughtful note thanking them for the work they’ve done and explaining why you appreciate it. An introvert’s worst nightmare is being the center of attention, so even though your intentions are good with recognizing in front of people (even if it is through an email), it brings attention to your introverted employee that they most likely don’t want.
Take them out for lunch or coffee. Instead of always doing a team lunch, take your direct report out just by yourselves or with a couple people. Whereas a team lunch may get loud and boisterous, a quiet lunch with just a couple people creates a low-key environment that will facilitate better conversation, allow them to give their input, and communicate your appreciation.
Encourage peer-to-peer recognition. Peer recognition is a great way to help your employees notice each other’s contributions, whether big or small. Integrating recognition into your everyday routine ensures that quiet performers are more regularly recognized and allows extroverted coworkers see how valuable their introverted counterparts really are.
Let them work from home. Introverts tend to be quiet, private individuals who prefer to work alone rather than in groups. Workplaces and busy offices can often be a distraction for employees who need a quiet environment to be their most productive. Letting your employee work from home as a reward for a goal being met or a job well done shows that you value them as an individual and have taken the time to get to know them and their needs personally.
Get them a gift. If allowing them to work from home isn’t possible, getting them a small gift is another option. And rather than a gift that’s gaudy, eye-catching, or a display-piece, get something a little more understated. Or better yet, gift them an experience (gift card, sports tickets, etc.) versus something tangible.
One-on-one vs. on stage. This one stems from the others, but deserves more explanation. While an introvert’s preferred method of recognition is one-on-one, there are two things to keep in mind if you’re planning to recognize them in front of your entire company—say at a year-end celebration, award ceremony, or company picnic. First, keep it short. The less time they’re on stage or in front of others, the better. And second, don’t put them on the spot. If you expect employees to give acceptance speeches or say a few words to their colleagues, let them know ahead of time. Though you spill the beans on who won the award, you show your employees you care by giving them the time they need to process what they’re going to say.
Lead the Way!
While it’s natural to give appreciation in the way you’d receive it best, be cognizant of your employees’ personality types and give it in the way that means the most to them. By recognizing your introverted employees in the ways we mentioned above, you’ll lead the way in creating a more cohesive workplace where all your employees are aware and respectful of each other’s work preferences, habits, and productivity.