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Introverts and Extroverts: Best Practices in Recognition

June 11, 2019

Some employees thrive in a bustling environment where there’s always excitement, team collaborations and discussing new ideas in a group setting. Others prefer a quieter setting where they can focus on the details of a project they are working on, talk one-on-one with a colleague or gather their thoughts ahead of a meeting.

Both extrovert and introvert personalities bring unique attributes that benefit the workplace, however there are characteristics that are more associated with each personality type. Generally speaking, extroverts are revitalized by spending time with others, whereas introverts recharge through taking some time for themselves. With that said, many individuals don’t fall distinctly in one category or another, but are often a blend of the two to a certain degree.

It’s important for managers to consider the role personality can play in how an individual prefers to be recognized and rewarded. For example, an introvert may be more comfortable with being acknowledged for a large accomplishment in front of their team, as opposed to the entire company during a meeting (whereas some extroverts might be thrilled with the latter option).

By taking time to get to know your employees’ personal preferences for being recognized, you’ll validate their achievements in a way that makes them feel valued and understood. You may also find that many employees like a blend of both introverted and extroverted recognition styles, depending on the situation.

When recognizing people, remember to make statements about specific accomplishments or contributions instead of obvious traits. If the recipient is a graphic designer, everyone knows they’re creative, but they may not know about the recipient’s keen attention to detail or how they specifically helped on a project.

Here are four opportunities to tailor your recognition to align with your individual employees.

Work Achievements

When an employee does a spectacular job on a project or goes above and beyond to help the team, there are multiple ways you can let them know that you noticed and appreciate all of their hard work.

Introvert: May prefer being recognized during a weekly status meeting amongst their closest colleagues or receiving a personalized memento to keep at their desk.

Extrovert: May enjoy being recognized in front of a larger group, such as during a department meeting, and may even be comfortable getting up in front of the group to say a few words as well.


How people chose to celebrate their birthdays can be as unique as the individual. Once you’ve determined if an employee wants to celebrate their birthday at work, the options can range from a group card and balloons to an after-work outing.

Introvert: May prefer keeping it simple, where a group card with a gift card to a favorite restaurant would suffice. They may also like having their birthday celebrated along with others who share their birthday month with cake or a catered lunch for the office.

Introverts may like:

  • Personal recognition message via email or recognition platform
  • Being recognized one-on-one or with their immediate team
  • Receiving recognition from peers on a recognition platform
  • A thank you card with gift card to a favorite coffee shop or fast casual restaurant
  • Being treated to coffee or lunch

Extrovert: May prefer a surprise, such as a decorated desk or office before they arrive in the morning, having flowers delivered to the office or having a surprise lunch or cake in their honor.

Extroverts may like:

  • Recognition in front of a large group
  • A team lunch or after-work outing
  • Direct recognition from leadership
  • Being awarded a gift card or award during a meeting
  • An interactive or video message from the whole team

Service Anniversary

An employee celebrating 10 years with a company or retiring and starting their next chapter are major career milestones that can be commemorated in ways that are both personal and congratulatory.

Introvert: May prefer personalized messages from their team and co-workers, a personalized award, and being allotted extra PTO or points to pick out a memorable gift to acknowledge their years of dedication. Those retiring may prefer a casual get-together planned off-site or a mini-party with afternoon cake and coffee served.

Extrovert: May prefer something more interactive such as a video compilation of messages from their co-workers, recognition during a company-wide meeting, or a planned team activity to honor their milestone.

Recognition can (and should) be reflective of the preferences and personalities of the individuals that make your team dynamic. Discovering how your employees like to be acknowledged and rewarded not only brings more meaning to the act of recognition, but also fosters a greater understanding of the diverse talent that contribute to your organization. By taking the time to get to know employees’ recognition preferences you’ll be able to honor their achievements in ways that authentically resonate with them.

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