For many companies, employee engagement is an important metric that not only helps determine how motivated employees are to contribute to the organisation, but also their productivity and overall performance.
Employee engagement is an essential aspect of the work environment and is especially important for organisations that rely on employees to deliver high-quality products and services to their customers.
In this article, we’re going to examine how employee engagement can be better improved for hybrid and remote work scenarios, and how managers can foster a sense of belonging in the workplace.
remote work & Employee engagement
Throughout the pandemic, many studies were performed on how employees adjusted to new remote work scenarios, and results between studies were often contradictory.
Some studies, for example, found that remote work increased employee motivation and engagement. Other studies concluded the opposite. What was rarely talked about, however, was how different personality types might adapt to remote work scenarios, as employees in these studies were generalised into one category – the workers.
Overall, we know that nearly 90% of the world’s Fortune 500 companies rely on the MBTI assessment for employee selection, or in team-building exercises. And while it’s often recommended that job applicants don’t include their MBTI type while creating a perfect resume, many businesses still incorporate an MBTI assessment during the hiring process.
And yet, this was rarely a consideration in many of the studies conducted on remote work satisfaction throughout the pandemic.
When we consider that MBTI personality types are categorised by Introverted and Extroverted, along with other parameters, we can begin to form some initial theories as to how different personality types may adapt to remote work.
Introverted workers who work from home or from a remote location may be more likely to work in silence and be less likely to communicate with their coworkers. Those quiet types in the office may seem even more invisible in a remote work scenario.
On the other hand, extroverted workers who work from home or from a remote location may be more likely to frequently communicate with coworkers through chat apps – and these are the personality types who most likely expressed dissatisfaction with remote work initially, as they needed to adjust to the lack of face-to-face interaction.
With this theory in hand – and it actually has been touched on in a few papers that specifically address this topic – we can begin to understand how managers can influence how their individual employees respond to a remote work scenario.
engaging based on personality types
Since we know that there’s no “one size fits all” approach to employee engagement, and managers love uniformity and team cohesion, remote work poses some unique challenges for managers.
If your company assesses employee personality types, however, you can begin to form a more comprehensive strategy for addressing these challenges. First, it’s important to understand how different personality types react to different environments and situations.
Introverted personality types, such as INTPs, INTJs, ISFPs – they all start with “I” – may certainly adapt to remote work a lot more naturally than their extroverted peers, who may feel more isolated in a remote work scenario.
However, we also need to consider how each personality type is unique, even though they may fall under an “Introverted” or “Extroverted” category.
INTPs, for example, work much better when facing abstract problems and plenty of time to think through their decisions. These are your “Engineers” who enjoy working alone to come up with solutions to complex problems, and tend to jump between projects. While their work habits can seem erratic, they also have incredible eyes for details that others miss.
INTJs, on the other hand – while also introverted – can be a bit more impulsive in decision-making, and enjoy having stricter routines and schedules. These are your “Architects” who enjoy planning out the design of entire projects, and like to jump straight to the planning stages of a grand idea.
So while both of these personality types are introverted, and may more easily adapt to remote work than their extroverted peers, they also have completely different approaches. And this should be taken into account when developing an effective remote work engagement strategy.
Creating Tailored engagement strategies
Taking into account these different personality types is not an easy task. In fact, it’s one of the more complex things managers can do with their team in order to keep their team content and motivated.
For the introverted personality types, it may be a better choice for managers to allow for a wider degree of autonomy. These are the types who won’t be thrilled to join team video calls, but will happily use that time to focus on their projects. They still require feedback and direction from managers, but you don’t have to worry about “motivating” them through video chat meetings.
Likewise, for the extroverted types, it’s better for managers to develop more routine communication – something that requires the presence of their colleagues. These are the types who gain some motivational boosts from those team video calls.
Of course, this is still trying to apply a “one size fits all” approach, just to two different categories. That’s why it’s still important to consider employees as individuals, and tweak your engagement strategies for each employee’s particular preferences.
One thing you can do is simply ask employees what sort of environment and workload they feel most engaged in. By asking them this question, you’ll be getting a direct snapshot of how satisfied your team is with the work they’re doing.
Let’s say you have 10 introverted employees, and 10 extroverted employees. You know that your extroverted employees will appreciate more team video calls, but that your introverted employees will groan and consider it a waste of time.
Create a situation that suits both types, and let them try it out. If you find out that extroverted employees can get re-energised by team video calls, then implement that for all extroverted employees. If, on the other hand, the introverts can get things done in the meantime, while managing their own time, then maybe allow the introverts to skip unimportant team video calls.
The risk you’ll run here is that the introverted types may become more “invisible”, so you should still periodically check in on them one-on-one, and provide them with feedback on their individual accomplishments.
Why should we care about this pseudoscience?
It’s true that many people regard MBTI assessments as pseudoscience, but the MBTI is often misused by individuals as something akin to zodiac astrology, trying to determine “key traits” of their personality that uniquely fit them.
What MBTI assessments really do is give you a general overview of an individual’s approach to different tasks and environments. And it’s that overview that can guide your management team to make more informed decisions to engage employees, and ensure they’re well-rewarded for their work.
When a company implements more varied feedback mechanisms, this means that managers will be able to determine what type of employees are most engaged, and which can best benefit from certain working environments.
They can also use this knowledge to determine which employee groups are most qualified to be called “performance centers”, to improve the quality of your team’s output. When the goal is to improve employee engagement in remote work scenarios, taking a more personality-based approach will certainly help unlock new strategies.
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