Flexible work opportunities are becoming increasingly important for building a diverse workforce. Flexibility can increase job satisfaction, improve mobility by ensuring the most capable people get promoted and help you build the best possible team.
According to Truity’s research on personality type and career achievement, there are clear relationships between personality type and job satisfaction, salary, and larger career decisions like whether to become a stay-at-home parent. Caregiving responsibilities tend to fall disproportionately on Introverted personality types, including those who type as INFP, ISFJ and INFJ on a personality test based on Myers and Briggs' system. At the same time, Introverted Perceiving (IP) types are most likely to earn the lowest salaries of all the personality types. This imbalance continues in managerial positions with Extraverts managing more people than Introverts and also having higher job satisfaction.
However, every personality type has a unique skill set that your business stands to benefit from, be it creativity, work ethic, problem solving or more. The introduction of flexible work opportunities can help you attract and retain more Introverts and in turn, you will reap the rewards of having a more diverse team.
Read on to find out how flexible working opportunities can help you to hire more Introverts and increase the job satisfaction of all your employees.
What are flexible work options?
Flexible work options have become a popular tool for businesses seeking to attract and retain key talent. Opportunities for flexible work can be particularly effective in helping mothers return to work after having children, allowing more families to balance work and childcare commitments.
What is flexible work? Put simply, flexible work options are company allowances that enable employees to alter the traditional 9-5 structure where individuals are required to be on site, in the office, for a set number of hours per day. Workplace flexibility is more than just working remotely, however. It can encompass a wide range of working solutions that can each have significant advantages.
Flexible work options include:
- Part-time work from home
- Remote work (also known as location independence)
- Flexible arrival and departure times
- Taking hours out on certain days
- Job shares - two or more individuals sharing the same job on a cooperative basis
Note: To determine the flexible work options that are most beneficial to your workforce, you might consider conducting an anonymous survey or structured feedback session. These results can inform which flexible work options you introduce, with instant, positive results for your team.
How can Introverts add to your team?
While every personality type is different, there are certain traits associated with Introverts that can be enormously helpful to employers. Introverts tend to be independent and don’t crave the attention that many Extraverts do, meaning they require less support than many of their colleagues. Introverts tend to be happy to get on with their work, completing tasks individually or within a small team. As a result, they are often easier to manage and more efficient workers overall.
Within the Introvert group, there are also many individual qualities that make Introverts excellent employees. INFPs tend to be imaginative and flexible, able to come up with innovative solutions to problems. On the other hand, INTJs are highly analytical and brilliant at strategy making, whilst ISFJs are organised and supportive team players who excel at structured tasks requiring attention to detail. These diverse traits make Introverts invaluable to any organisation.
How can flexible work options help Introverts?
According to our research, Introverted personality types, especially combined with Perceiving preferences, are more likely to earn lower salaries than their colleagues. The research also indicates that they’re disinclined to take on managerial positions with Introverts managing just 2.8 individuals on average and ISPs supervising only 1.0 individual.
In conjunction, research has shown that women are 12 times more likely to take a career break to become full-time caregivers than their male counterparts. This is mirrored in Truity’s career study, which indicates that INFP women overwhelmingly take on the responsibility of being stay-at-home parents, followed by ISFJ women.
These results add up to a serious disparity between income, career advancement and professional achievement among Introverted groups. This can lead to inequality in the workplace and companies can become increasingly swayed towards Extraverts and Thinking Judging personalities as managers hire individuals similar to themselves.
On the other hand, flexible work options can help to reduce some of the personality-related challenges that prevent Introverts from participating and advancing in the workplace. INFJs typically prefer to work independently in a quiet space making them particularly suited to remote work. Similarly, ISTPs dislike being confined to an office and thrive on flexibility and freedom. By introducing the option to work remotely, choose working hours and take paid leave, businesses can help different individuals work in a manner that is best for them. Through the introduction of flexible working, it becomes easier for mothers to return to work after having children, enabling families to balance work and childcare. It can also have a significant effect in reducing stress and increasing productivity across the board.
How to change hiring techniques
With this in mind, your hiring process will be most effective if it reflects any flexible work opportunities your business offers, helping to attract a wider range of candidates. There are a number of methods you can use to promote this aspect of your company culture from the very start, including:
Job listings: Highlight the flexible work options available to candidates in the initial job listing and description, helping generate more interest for the role.
Interview discussion: Introduce candidates to future flexible work opportunities in the interview stage. This can help to sway their decision-making process and increase the likelihood of encouraging top individuals to join your team.
Champion opportunities online: Use marketing channels such as your company blog and social media profiles to go into more detail on the flexible work options available to current and prospective employees.
Mentorship: Introduce a remote mentorship program to equip new employees with the tools they need to succeed, ensuring they have access to support and advice even when they are not in the office.
Interact with other businesses: Participate in discussions, conferences and other forms of communication with like-minded businesses to build up your company’s reputation and keep informed on best practice for flexible working allowances.
At every stage of the hiring process, it is important to highlight the flexible work options your company offers. Furthermore, it is crucial to ensure managers are included in the introduction of flexible work and that they take an active role in supporting staff who wish to work flexibly. This is a key step towards reducing negative judgment and implicit bias against flexible work, particularly in relation to promotion and salary decisions.
From day one, aim to provide employees with a structured career development program that includes performance reviews and established Key Performance Indicators; this provides new candidates with a definitive path of progression, regardless of whether they choose to participate in flexible working. This is especially key for helping Introverts succeed and reduce income disadvantages.
The benefits of flexible work
Overall, improving the number of flexible work options available to your employees can help you to attract and hire more diverse professionals to your team, boosting the variety of skill sets available to you. In doing so, you can leverage the strengths of the different personality types and create the most effective workforce possible.
For Introverts, flexible work can help them to climb the corporate ladder in a manner that works to their individual strengths. It can also be invaluable to parents trying to balance work and family commitments. Over time, this can help to reduce income disparities and gender inequality, whilst improving job satisfaction.