Category Archives: Behaviors

Employee Recognition Ideas for Introverts and Extroverts | Recognize

Employee Recognition Ideas for Introverts and Extroverts

Since Susan Cain’s bestselling book, Quiet, was released in 2012, the internet has exploded with articles on how introverts and extroverts operate differently in just about every setting – parties, classrooms, parenting, and the workplace.

The thesis of Cain’s book says that while much of our society is set up to reward extroversion, introverts contribute their own quiet strengths to make everything from an award-winning movie to a Monday morning meeting a success.

As a manager, you’ve no doubt learned or observed that introverts and extroverts approach work differently. It’s usually pretty easy to identify who on your team is an introvert and who is an extrovert. Broadly speaking, the extroverts tend to send more meeting requests, volunteer for more team-based projects, and prefer open-plan office spaces. In contrast, you’ll find your introverted employees tucked away in their office or cubicle, wearing headphones while they work, and never requesting a meeting when an email would do.

Many of the articles about introversion/extroversion in the workplace focus on directing introverts on how to thrive in an extroverted office by using their introversion to their advantage or advising extroverted employees on how to relate to their introverted colleagues. Yet very few address how introversion should impact employee recognition.

Not all employees work in the same way, and not all employees like to be recognized in the same way. What is meaningful and flattering to one employee might be mortifying or uncomfortable to another.

If recognizing your employees is important to you (and it should be!), you should understand how personality differences come into play when giving employee recognition. An employee’s personal preferences will dictate how they receive recognition, so they should also dictate how you offer recognition.

Introversion vs. Extroversion: The Basics

Employee Recognition Ideas for Introverts and Extroverts | Recognize

Understanding what it means to be an introvert or an extrovert will make it easier to determine which forms of recognition each type of employee will find meaningful.

Essentially, the difference between introversion and extroversion is that while extroverts draw energy from their surroundings, introverts draw energy from within (and are easily drained by too-stimulating environments).

This fundamental difference is why you’ll see extroverts drawn to social settings like moths to a flame while introverts seek spaces within the office that are calm, quiet, and as secluded as possible. It’s why introverts tend to despise the trend toward open-plan offices and extroverts rejoice in it.

These definitions may seem straightforward, but they’re expressed in a wide variety of different ways throughout life. Here are a few examples:

  • Introverts prefer one-on-one conversations to group discussions
  • The phrase “the more the merrier” was without question coined by an extrovert
  • Introverts tend to be more private and will share personal news with a select few rather than making an announcement
  • Extroverts post more on social media platforms
  • Introverts are less active on social media and follow fewer people
  • Extroverts think out loud, while introverts prefer to process their thoughts completely before speaking
  • Introverts are less likely to raise their hand in class, even when they know the right answer
  • An extrovert might raise their hand even if they’re not sure they have the right answer
  • An introvert would prefer to go out to dinner with a close friend rather than attend a party
  • An extrovert would enjoy having dinner with a friend, but would plan to attend a party afterward
  • Networking events are an introvert’s worst nightmare
  • Extroverts are more engaged when they’re working collaboratively
  • Introverts are more productive when they have uninterrupted stretches of independent work time

Considering how introverts and extroverts respond differently to the same situation will help you think through which employee recognition techniques are appropriate for your introverted employees versus your more extroverted team members.

For example, while an extroverted employee might greatly appreciate a party thrown in honor of their 5-year work anniversary, an introvert would probably prefer a one-on-one lunch with their supervisor and perhaps one or two close colleagues.

Now that we’ve established the fundamental difference between introversion and extroversion and looked at various ways those differences get expressed, let’s explore some ideas for how to reward different personality types in the office.

Employee Recognition Ideas for Introverts

Employee Recognition Ideas for Introverts and Extroverts | Recognize

In general, you should avoid public recognition when rewarding introverts for good work. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that introverts don’t want to be recognized at all just because they don’t enjoy more public forms of employee recognition. Everyone wants to be recognized for their hard work and accomplishments. Introverts just appreciate recognition in different forms.

  1. Second a personal email. When an employee does something deserving of recognition, it might seem like an email sent to the entire company would be a great way to let everyone know about their achievement. However, that mass email is likely to prompt a stream of congratulations from well-meaning coworkers. What could be wrong with that? Well, too much attention is an introvert’s worst nightmare! You’re better off sending a personal email to the employee letting them know you appreciate their good work.
  2. Recognize them in front of their immediate team. If you do want to make sure that others are aware of your employee’s achievement, you can recognize them in front of a small group of people that they know well and are familiar with, such as their immediate team. Keep it simple, such as a quick “Good job” at the weekly standup. Congratulations from those they work closely with will mean more to an introvert than well wishes from colleagues they only know by sight.
  3. Send recognition via your company’s employee recognition platform. Employee recognition apps are perfect for introverts. Because recognition is sent through the platform, it feels more private even if other employees can see it. The employee is able to respond in their own time, without being put on the spot. With apps like Recognize, employees can also redeem recognition points for rewards that are most valuable to them, such as a gift card or paid time off
  4. Give thoughtful feedback. Many introverts are strong critical thinkers, and appreciate when others demonstrate that they were also paying attention to the details. Instead of just telling them “Good job,” describe what challenge you saw them overcome and why you admired how they handled it. They’ll really appreciate that you noticed their hard work and took the time to recognize them for it.
  5. Take them out for coffee. An introvert might not enjoy a group lunch or a party celebrating their latest achievement, but taking them out for coffee is a nice way to make a gesture of appreciation that’s more in line with an introvert’s preference for low-key, one-on-one social interactions. A coffee date also comes with a more predictable duration; many introverts dislike the ambiguity of a social event with no definitive end time. Just make sure to schedule the date in advance – most introverts appreciate warning prior to a social engagement.

Employee Recognition Ideas for Extroverts

Employee Recognition Ideas for Introverts and Extroverts | Recognize

The biggest difference between providing employee recognition for introverts and for extroverts is the execution. While introverts are uncomfortable being called out in front of a group or taken by surprise, extroverts are quite the opposite!

  1. Public recognition. Being called out in a large meeting – even for a positive reason – might make an introvert want to hide under their chair, but it will make an extrovert glow with pride. If appropriate, save your words of praise for a setting when others are around to applaud and congratulate them. The brains of extroverts are actually wired differently to be more responsive to praise, so words of praise will go a long way.
  2. Work party. Because extroverts thrive on socializing, a work party thrown in their honor on the occasion of a work anniversary or promotion is a great way to make them feel appreciated and recognized for their hard work. Being the center of attention and receiving compliments from well-wishing coworkers are just the kind of validation that motivates an extrovert to keep doing their best.
  3. Surprise lunch outing. Along with being more responsive to praise, the increased dopamine levels linked with extroversion also cause extroverted brains to crave and respond more strongly to novelty. A surprise reward is like a rush to the system for an extrovert! Because they tend to seek out both novelty and reward, they will work harder know their company understands and appreciates them.
  4. Experience-based reward. Extroverts tend to get more enjoyment out of experiences than tangible gifts. So if, for example, you’re partnering with a social recognition platform, make sure to include options to redeem points for experiences, not just gift cards or a better parking space. Extroverted employees would be more excited to redeem their points for tickets to a concert or sporting event, a flight upgrade on their next business trip, or a spa package.
  5. Ask them to share their achievement. While it’s better to let your introverted employees savor recognition in private, extroverted employees enjoy showing off a little. If you start a meeting by recognizing them for a recent achievement, ask if they’d like to say a few words about it to the group. Sharing their accomplishment allows them to relive the success, bask in their pride, and receive positive reinforcement from their team – all of which will motivate them to repeat the experience in the future.

Every employee on your team is unique, and it can be hard to learn how to manage everyone’s different work styles and preferences. But learning how to give employee recognition in a way that’s meaningful to each employee will increase job satisfaction, productivity, motivation, and overall employee retention. In other words: recognizing your employees pays off in both the short- and long-term, and is well worth the investment.

16 Must-Answer Employee Engagement Questions for Your Staff

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When was the last time you or your HR initiated an employee engagement survey at your company? In Recognize, we provide a way to ask these questions when you start the program and six months later.

Employee Engagement Survey Statements

The following statements are answered on a 1 to 5 scale, 1 being most disagree and 5 being most agree.

  1. I feel connected to my employer.
  2. I feel encouraged to come up with new and better ways of doing things.
  3. My work gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment.
  4. Supervisors encourage me to be my best.
  5. I am rewarded for the quality of my efforts.
  6. I am valued by my supervisor.
  7. Overall, I am satisfied with my job.
  8. Overall, I am productive in getting the job done.
  9. The company clearly communicates its goals and strategies to me.
  10. I have a clear path for career advancement.
  11. My job requirements are clear.

Additional Employee Engagement Questions

  1. How long have you worked at your company? (Less than 3 months, Less than 6 months, 6 months – 1 year, 1-3 years, 3-5 years, More than 5 years)
  2. Do you feel that employees are recognized as individuals? (Yes, No)
  3. How motivated are you to see the company succeed? (Very motivated, Somewhat motivated, Not very motivated, Not at all motivated, Not sure)
  4. Would you advise a friend to apply for a job at your company? (Yes, No)
  5. Overall, how satisfied are you with your position at your company? (Very Dissatisfied, Dissatisfied, Neutral, Satisfied, Very Satisfied)

Incentivizing Behavior Changes in Employees

Leaders of organizations must shape their company’s culture. Incentivizing behaviors is one of the best ways to handle culture change. You cannot afford to jeopardize the overall morale of the employees and affect the overall productivity, because of fractured values of your company culture.

You can help your employees overcome unaligned behavior by incentivizing behavior changes with practical steps without affecting productivity.

Focusing on Inward Employee Improvement

Vineet Nayar is the former CEO of HCL Technologies and an author of a book considered a revolution in management, “Employees First, Customers Second“. His company has succeeded the challenge of tripling its turnover ($4.2 billions today). He agrees focus on inward improvement will lead to strong company culture and high employee retention.

Appreciated employees handle business differently. When you have a happy team of workers, your customers will be happier too. Happy customers means more sales and higher revenue.

Incentivizing behavior changes in the employees is the new frontier for optimizing enterprises. Instead of pressuring employees to do their work, smart companies come up with creative ways of reenforcing positive behaviors.

For instance, a company that struggles with employees who report to work late may decide to focus on what it means to go above and beyond. In this case, the management may introduce rewards for those who get to work early. This is a simple way of incentivizing behaviors towards the exceptional. At the end of the day, the company will have a more aligned culture, one directed away from coming in late.

incentivizing behavior

Employee Recognition for the Win

Incentivizing behavior changes has proved to be effective and quite rewarding. Besides getting your employees to be in sync, the productivity levels and the morale increase significantly. While bonuses are good, there are other practical ways to recognize and incentivize behavior change in employees. For instance, if an employee is named in customer feedback as exceptional, reward them with a special experience, a job title change, or a monetary gift such as a Kindle Unlimited subscription (If you haven’t tried it, the Kindle is awesome).

Peer-to-peer Employee Recognition

The coveted form of employee recognition is peer-to-peer, or when staff recognize each other for great work. A quality peer-to-peer program is one that is based on the goals and values of your company. In Recognize, staff send badges based on company values. Staff can receive points for those badges that can be redeemed. If an organization is seeking to improve customer experience, they can reward high-value employees in customer service with a field trip to Disney, where they have a program to learn more about customer care.

Act like One of the Top 100 Places to Work

How about setting up a kid’s center where employees can bring their children? This will create a work/life balance for the staff. You could get on-site medical practitioners to keep checking on the overall well-being of your employees. By providing these perks, staff feel like they are in a special club and can take their mind off other life issues.

yoga class for employees

Introduce relaxing services like manicure, laundry, yoga, massage sessions and any other thing that will reduce stress levels. You can provide passionate employees access to a mentor.

Incentivizing behavior changes will generate great results for businesses and make employees’ lives better. Contact us to tell us your story.