Employee Engagement

6 tips to boost engagement among introverts in the workplace

Less than half of the US population is extroverted. Yet it often feels like the working environment caters to people who like loud, busy spaces and people all day, every day, everywhere. Which can be really challenging for introverts in the workplace.

On top of that, qualifying for promotions often requires socializing with colleagues. Those who don’t risk being seen as weird, looked down on, or treated differently.

So why are extroverted personalities valued more in the workplace if most of the population is introverted?

When you consider that a study of over 900 CEOs found that introverts were more likely to exceed investors’ expectations more often, and studies showed that introverts made better leaders, why aren’t we supporting employees who like the quiet life more often?

Why don’t we design more processes and spaces around the needs of introverts in the workplace?

What is an introvert?

Before we go any further, let’s dispel some common myths about introverts.

Many people assume introverts hate people. But introversion and misanthropy aren’t the same thing.

A lot of introverts actually like socializing. They just need time to recharge on their own or with people they’re close to.

The best way I’ve heard it described (and seen it demonstrated by other people) is that extroverts get their energy from other people. Introverts get it from alone time.

For an introvert, this might mean reading a book, watching TV, walking the dog—whatever works for them. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to recharge.

An introvert might have enough energy for work, but not have any left for post-work socializing. Or they may find an open-plan office overwhelming.

So, with that in mind, how can you boost engagement among introverts in the workplace? 

Allow for flexible working

Different types of working suit different types of personalities. Over 80% of extroverted employees want a hybrid work model, with 15% preferring full-time remote work.

Three-fourths of introverts also want to be in the office at least part-time.

This could be because work is often a place where we socialize. Introverts may not speak to many people if they don’t go out of the house. Plus, it takes extra effort to go out (speaking from my own experience and that of my introverted friends).

Everyone is different, though, and allowing for flexible working helps you create a more diverse workforce from every direction. It can go a long way towards boosting engagement among introverts in the workplace.

Have a quiet space/ time

Open-plan offices can be extremely noisy, overstimulating places.

When I used to work in an office, someone would be playing music, someone else would have a really loud voice that carried across the room, another would be boiling the kettle, someone else would be washing their mug, cars would be driving past…it was nonstop for eight hours a day. And that was only the noise.

It usually wouldn’t take long before I needed to either get away from my desk because I was feeling fidgety, or I needed to be on my own as I was overwhelmed by being surrounded by so many people. But there was really nowhere for me to go and work quietly.

Offering a quiet place for employees to focus helps them recharge while still getting work done.

For remote businesses, allowing employees to turn off email or Slack/Teams notifications for a couple of hours is the digital equivalent.

In both instances, employees can focus on what they’re trying to do, rather than draining their energy blocking out what’s going on around them. Cutting it out can give introverts in the workplace more energy and boost their mental health.

Avoid forced/ mandatory socializing

For introverts in the workplace, socializing with coworkers can present challenges. It may instill fear that they’ll get overlooked for promotions or their colleagues won’t like them as much because they didn’t go out for drinks on a Friday night, or wanted to go for a walk on their own instead of going for a group lunch.

And the unspoken requirement to go, even if it’s not actually mandatory.

Employees need to feel like they can say no to workplace drinks without someone trying to talk them into it. Or that their career will suffer because of it. They shouldn’t need to justify not wanting to socialize with their colleagues outside of work.

Show different kinds of leadership

The stereotypical idea of leadership is often more extroverted and focuses on traits that are considered masculine.

However, studies have shown that introverted and female leadership styles are actually more effective.

This includes showing empathy and actively listening to your employees.

The more you demonstrate different kinds of leadership, the more it will benefit your employees, managers, and future hires.

Introverts in the workplace will also see a possible career path for themselves, even if they don’t fit into a typical extroverted management style.

Managers won’t feel the need to live up to false expectations, mask who they really are, or hide how they feel.

Future hires will see a business that celebrates and supports diversity, making them want to work there.

Offer different ways to communicate

Every business has its preferred way(s) to communicate. Considering individuals’ preferences enables them to get the most from a conversation.

For example, some people prefer written feedback because they can take their time to digest it. But for the person giving the feedback, a video can sometimes be quicker.

The solution? Transcribe the video!

Technology makes it easier than ever to combine different types of communication so that everyone can benefit. Including and especially introverts in the workplace.

Embrace active listening

Sometimes, someone will look like they’re not paying attention in a meeting, but they’re actually listening actively. This can have long-term benefits, allowing for other perspectives.

However, there’s often the assumption that someone isn’t paying attention because they’re not speaking up during a meeting.

Sometimes people genuinely lack the confidence to speak up—especially if they’re a minority in the room.

Other times, they’re percolating.

But it’s important to give people the space to listen, and that one person—or one group of people—doesn’t hog the conversation. Quieter members of the team should feel able to share their opinions without judgement, but likewise should be able to listen without comments that they’re too quiet.


When more than half the working population is introverted, it doesn’t make sense to exclude them or expect them to behave like the minority.

The most successful businesses celebrate and support employees’ differences, as these can be turned into strengths that help the business grow and develop.

In turn, this benefits employees’ productivity and confidence, improving engagement and retention.

How is your organization supporting introverts in the workplace? If you’re looking for ways to ensure employees can get and stay connected on their terms, Workrowd can help.

With employee groups, personalizable settings, automated feedback surveys and more, everything you need is in one place. Want to see how our tools could improve outcomes for introverts in the workplace at your organization? Visit us online or email us at

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