When designing wellness programs, organizations rightly worry about whether they address a diverse range of factors, such as employees’ ages, their work arrangements, or even socioeconomic barriers they may face. After all, personalization is the key to a successful wellness program.
But have we put enough thought into personalities? If you come up with examples of wellness activities at work, group challenges, lunch ‘n learns, and leader boards may come to mind. But are we doing enough for people who wouldn’t describe themselves as “joiners”? What are we doing to include the introverts?
Introverts in the workplace
In the past, introverts have been described as shy, antisocial, unenthusiastic, or “not a team player.” Note that most of those descriptions have negative connotations. But more recent psychology research has found that introverts can be frequently sociable and assertive. The only difference between them and extroverts is that they require some alone time to recharge after extensive or deep interactions with other people. Extroverts commonly feel energized from socializing.
However, forced socializing at work can be draining and counterproductive for some employees. If not done right, the same could be said for wellness programs. So what is the right way to engage introverted employees?
Wellness and introverts
There are a number of ways you can support the well-being of introverts.
Don’t give up on group activities, but create some balance. Positive peer pressure and social interactions can give your program’s participation levels a boost. But remember not to overdo it; otherwise, you may overwhelm employees who could use a break.
Consider wellness activities that look inward, such as meditation, mindfulness, and journaling. If introverts need to recharge from time to time, why not help them find ways to do just that in a healthy way?
Implement different types of motivators into wellness programs. Since the social aspects of wellness programs (e.g., competition, formal recognition, leader boards) may not be equally rewarding for everyone, remember to provide a variety of rewards and incentives, such as group health benefit incentives, gift cards, charitable donations, or additional vacation days.
Provide learning opportunities about understanding personality and communication at work. Fostering a sense of purpose in employees is something I feel strongly about. Offer training that educates workers about different personality types and communication styles. It can help people appreciate their strengths, as well as undo harmful stereotyping (e.g., introverts can’t be leaders, extroverts aren’t deep thinkers).
Build some private spaces into the workplace environment. Despite the popularity of open office design, employees may need a quiet or private space now and then. For example, huddle rooms, privacy booths, or quiet lounges could be incorporated into a workplace layout.
For additional insights about wellness programs, visit HumanaWellness.com.
These non-insurance services are provided by Humana Wellness.