How to Encourage Introvert Employees to Participate in the Innovation Process

When it comes to sharing ideas and concerns, many feel uncomfortable sharing what's on their minds - which can cause the organisation to suffer. While extroverts are usually comfortable sharing their views and debating a concept, introverts typically prefer to gather their thoughts before engaging in a discussion. So how can leaders nurture their introvert employees to participate in innovation?

The success of an organisation is determined by its ability to innovate and keep moving forward. A strong, creative workforce is a key component of this. 

Employees play a crucial part in the innovation process and it is often junior and mid-level workers that truly understand the issues an organisation faces as they are on the frontline dealing with these issues on a daily basis. 

In order for innovation to take place, the workforce must be willing to make leadership aware of problems and possible solutions. Supporting an innovative mindset is crucial to any organisation that wants to thrive. Employees are able to take the initiative to find new ways of doing their job and come up with ways to improve the organisation with new or improved products, services and solutions. 

However, when it comes to sharing these ideas and concerns, many feel uncomfortable sharing what's on their minds - which can cause the organisation to suffer. While extroverts are usually comfortable sharing their views and debating a concept, introverts typically prefer to gather their thoughts before engaging in a discussion. 

So how can leaders nurture their introvert employees to participate in the innovation process?


1. Create an Innovative Culture

Creating an innovative culture gives employees a clear roadmap of your company’s goals and mission. It encourages every employee to contribute ideas and enables organisations to progress through the innovation cycle and move ideas forward.

This culture helps employees understand their core roles and responsibilities in the organisation. This way, they can work towards helping you achieve the ultimate goals and even surpass them. 

>> Learn how to create a culture of innovation in your organisation, here.

 2. Welcome Ideas from Every Level

When creativity is your culture, excellent ideas will come from unexpected sources. For example, a mid-level employee who has never been offered a chance to make suggestions might bring a revolutionary idea the management team would have never thought of. 

Welcoming everyone’s input, regardless of how good their ideas are, will encourage a spirit of enquiry from multiple levels. This is also a great way for leadership to determine how different levels of the organisation feel and learn from a variety of different perspectives. 

3. Don’t be Forceful

It’s important to respect introverted employees and draw out who they are. A quiet employee may tend to be a strong thinker but not someone who typically wants to share their input. Encouragement to participate in innovation shouldn't be forceful and a more relaxed environment is conducive to getting these employees involved.

Good leaders understand these employee strengths and personality styles. It’s important for managers to strike a balance between emphasising the value of the employees’ ideas, without putting pressure on them to come up with ground-breaking solutions to problems. Innovation can be incremental or radical, and both types are equally crucially important to an organisation. Every idea, big or small, is worth sharing.

4. Harness Technology to Capture Ideas

An introverted employee may be uncomfortable sharing their ideas in group settings - whether it be in-person or on group video calls. These employees are typically more of an internal processor and they need time and space to process their ideas before they are comfortable sharing them. 

By harnessing the right technology, employees that tend to be more reserved can participate in innovation whether they are working from home or the workplace. This removes the pressure of on-the-spot questions in traditional brainstorming sessions and allows employees to think and share their ideas in a way that feels comfortable to them.

At SimplyDo, we give your organisation the framework to capture, prioritise and implement ideas. Whether you're an expert or new to innovation, our team is on-hand to support you each step of the way. Learn more, here.

Josh Barnett
Senior Customer Success Manager