If you’re running a business, it’s great to think about your staff, but it’s even more important to consider your bottom line. This page has a few numbers which may help you realise you can do both at the same time.
The information on this page is mainly from surveys I’ve completed between 2019 and 2022 and draws together some of the points made in other articles on this site.
It covers surveys where I looked into
- Working from home
- Team meetings
Your productivity problem
Your firm is probably not as productive as you would like. In my survey of over 450 businesspeople, over 40% admit to not being fully productive. Statistically speaking, that’s likely to be the same for your team.
Digging further into those numbers showed that for 75% of the less productive people there were three common issues:
- They’re introverted.
- They’re uncomfortable with the communication style in the business, how they’re spoken to and asked to do things
- They don’t like culture in the firm they work for.
That’s what I call the “introvert productivity gap” a gap problem created unknowingly by leaders. Why do I say it’s created by leaders? Both company culture and communication styles are a leadership choice.
Company cultures are generally designed for extroverts and measure success in an extrovert manner. The result, your firm may not be as productive as you want.
Let’s be honest the problem isn’t only team meetings, but I focused some questions on team meetings.
The way team meetings are run, leave 65% of people I’ve asked feeling uncomfortable and not fully contributing. Those not liking your meetings are more likely to be at the introvert end of the spectrum.
Working from home, or the office.
The Covid-19 pandemic radically shifted the way that many people worked, for some months people were all working from home. Since the pandemic working patterns haven’t fully returned.
Between early Feb 2022 and May 2022 (according to ONS figures) the percentage of people working exclusively from home has fallen from 22% to 14% and hybrid working has increased (risen from 13% to 24%).
84% of workers who had to work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic said they planned to carry out a mix of working at home and in their place of work in the future
It’s often been stated that introverts prefer working from home, which isn’t true. Of course there are some people (introvert AND extrovert) who prefer home working. During the pandemic I asked 250 introverts about home working, 45% said they miss interacting with their colleagues.
From the same survey 30% of introverts didn’t state a preference for home or office and 50% like the idea of flexible working.
I don’t know what the future of “the office” will look like, but it’s likely to involve hybrid working and that has important ramifications for how you manage your team. A lot of that’s around communications, which affects many introverts.
Are introverts less authentic?
Three interesting points from surveys I’ve completed:
- Introverts are often more private and extroverts more likely to “let it all hang out there”. If being more private means less likely to tell everything, then they’re less authentic; but that’s not what authentic really means.
- Introverts tend to be the quieter people in a group and may not always bother to say what they think, if they see no point in pushing into an already overloaded loud discussion.
- Most introverts I’ve surveyed value being part of a close community, or team (yet not “tribe”), where they feel valued and that they can add value. When part of a close community introverts do share information about themselves. The concept of psychological safety comes to mind here.
It’s an introvert myth that introverts are less authentic. Creating a psychologically safe workplace appears to come before expecting everybody to “be authentic”.
Understanding the third of your staff who are probably introverted and making some small changes in the way you manage them will improve productivity, creativity and staff retention. If you want ideas about how to make those small changes, I’d love to talk.