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Introverts are easily misunderstood as shy or are often neglected due to their non-attention seeking nature, as opposed to extroverts who strive to be the centre of attention. In the following article, we will take a look at what being an introvert means and how human resources practitioners can create an environment and culture that allow them be their best selves.
Renowned Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung described introverts as the ones who prefer minimally stimulating environments and need time alone to recharge, while extroverts refuel from others’ presence.
Therefore, it is not surprising that introverted employees prefer working alone and demand a higher quality of emotional support, and they tend to be highly focused mavericks who are independent, introspective and empathetic to people’s needs.
Introvert archetypes proposed by US professor Jonathan Cheek:
Social Introverts prefer to socialise with just a few people at a time. They are not shy nor do they feel anxious in social situations. They just prefer to be alone.
Thinking Introverts are capable of handling most social events. They are thoughtful and introspective. They like to self-reflect and use their imaginations.
Anxious Introverts feel painfully shy, awkward and anxious around other people. They want to be alone and worry a lot about past or future events.
Inhibited Introverts think a lot before speaking or taking action. They might take longer than normal people to move forward on things.
Keep in mind that introversion and extroversion is just one of the ways to differentiate people. Based on the conceptual theory proposed by Jung, the Mental Muscle Diagram Indicator (MBTI) sorts people into 16 personality types according to four dichotomies— extraversion and introversion; sensing and intuition; thinking and feeling; and judgment and perception.
Find out your MBTI personality type through this quiz.
What you can do as HR
Glassdoor shares four ways human resources practitioners can create an introvert-friendly work culture:
Many introverts respond better to planners, and they like to be able to grasp an idea of what they’re going to be working on the next day, the next week, and so on. Be a manager who can help them visualise their tasks so they can determine how they will tackle each one early on.
Group meetings may be intimidating to some introverts. Promote platforms such as group chat and email that allow introverts to work independently and communicate in writing.
Be upfront with all newcomers of their job responsibilities and work routine. So they will assess whether they are comfortable to go to networking events on a frequent basis.
Regarding facilities, if possible, offer them an office with a door or an environment that allows them to have their own space. Smart companies will also offer multiple workspace options such as work from home or a co-working space.