May 22, 2015
Personality Type And Employee Happiness: 3 Things You Need To Know

Today, your employees have more opportunities in the job market than at any other time in the last decade. For them, that’s great. But as a CEO trying to run a productive business, more opportunities for your employees in the job market means your top talent won’t think so hard about leaving, if a better offer comes around. So it’s up to you and your management team to keep them happy and engaged at work.

But how? What can CEOs and managers do when, according to recent Gallup data, only 30 percent of employees in the U.S. feel engaged?

Learn more about the personalities in your office.

Understanding more about the different personalities in your office could be the key to increasing employee happiness and engagement across the board. Taking the time to learn about how your employees’ personalities affect their happiness is an investment in the long-term success of your workforce. When you know what motivates your top talent, it’s easier to challenge and engage them in ways that make them want to stay with your organization.

Recently, my team at Truity surveyed 25,759 respondents about their personalities, income, managerial responsibilities and happiness at work. Among other things, we found that an individual’s Briggs Myers personality type can have a huge impact on their happiness at work.

Here are three trends our data uncovered that can help you determine how to make your employees happier at work and hold on to your top talent:

1. Feelers are the happiest at work.

When it comes to happiness at work, Feelers are more satisfied than their counterparts, Thinkers. What makes this interesting is that Thinkers, according to our data, take the top spots for income and managerial responsibilities. In other words, the employees that make the most money are not the happiest…what gives?

Since Feelers typically seek out positions that allow them to serve others and reflect their personal values, they have an easier time translating the impact they make at work into happiness. Therefore, it’s important for CEOs and managers to continue to show Feelers how their work affects others and reinforces the mission and values of the organization.

On the other side of the spectrum, Thinkers typically value positions that provide more objective measures of personal achievement like higher salaries, corner offices, promotions, etc. In order to engage Thinkers and keep them happy, CEOs and managers should look to provide a “career roadmap” that gives Thinkers a picture of how they can achieve the success they are looking for. Keeping an open dialogue about what motivates the Thinkers in your organization can help you manage expectations and find creative ways to make them happier at work.

2. Introverts are not very happy at work.

Introverts made up seven of the bottom eight personality types for employee happiness in our study. One possible explanation for their unhappiness at work may be that they feel overlooked. When it comes to both managerial responsibility and income measures, Introverts lagged behind Extraverts, suggesting that they are not being valued as highly as their counterparts — despite being just as qualified and talented.

CEOs and managers should make an effort to include Introverts in the discussion when it comes to managerial and leadership roles. Yes, Introverts’ tendencies for quiet reflection, over team environments, and being less outspoken about their ideas can seem like drawbacks when you’re looking for a leader, but these qualities often make them better leaders. Their ability to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and listen to all of the ideas in the room before considering a path to action make them valuable assets to any organization.

3. Happiness at work isn’t always about the work, itself.

For the personalities that are the unhappiest at work (ISFP, ESTP, ISTP, INFP), CEOs should consider that it might not be an issue of not feeling engaged or happy at work, but that these personalities may just be focused on other parts of their lives. ESFPs and ESFJs may love what they do and want to be in the office everyday, but maybe ISFPs just consider work, work, and would rather be putting time into their family.

If some of your most talented employees are ISFPs, maybe finding a way to let them work remotely one or two days a week will help them be happier at work. You’ll never know unless you ask. That’s why, no matter what your employees’ personalities, it’s important to keep an open dialogue about job satisfaction in your organization.

How do you gauge employee happiness in your organization? Have you ever considered how personality plays a part?

Molly Owens
Molly Owens is the CEO of Truity, a California-based provider of online personality and career assessments and developer of the TypeFinder® personality type assessment. Learn more about personality type and career achievement and connect with Molly and Truity on Twitter and Facebook.

Other Articles by Molly Owens:

Personality: What You Need To Know To Build An Effective Team

4 Personality Traits That All Effective Leaders Share

4 Personality Traits That Make You An Effective Leader