Let me know which one you are.
Knowing what you are and what the employee with a health crisis is, is key to supporting them, their manager, and their team.
You just learned an employee is dealing with a health crisis. You have my book, and you just ordered copies for the manager and the team, so everyone now has 100 unique and easy ways to support the employee with a health crisis (and knows what NOT to say!) (Hint, hint.)
You're ready to jump on behalf of the company, or you are happy to help at work but not so keen about showing up at their door.
If you are the latter, you're probably a Segmentor. If you are the former, you're probably an Integrator.
Understanding the difference is vital if you want to support an employee affected by a health crisis effectively.
Why It Matters
Christena Nipper-Eng suggested that people use one of two strategies to manage work and non-work roles. She studied boundary practices involving keys, appearance, eating, talking styles, and conversations. (This leads me to wonder are code switchers Segmentors? Do Integrators have a more challenging time with code-switching? That's a whole different article)
A study done by Glen Kreiner found that matching an employee's style was crucial in satisfaction and well-being for the employee. As the HR leader, how you support an employee's team in crisis can either raise an employee's sense of belonging or lower it. And if managing an employee with a health crisis well is vital to you, knowing if they are a Segmentor and Integrator is crucial.
What is a Segmentor?
Segmentors create clear boundaries between their personal life and work life. For many Segmentors working from home was/is uncomfortable. Segmentors will work later to finish a project, so it's done rather than work during non-work hours. Segmentors can drive integrators crazy because they don't respond to emails after they've stopped working.
You're a Segmentor if you are focused at work, but you don't think about work once it's over. You're a Segmentor if you like to have a work computer and a home computer. You're a Segmentor if you keep your home keys separate from your work keys. Working from home has been challenging for you, mainly because it blurs the line between two spaces you think it should be separate.
Who is an Integrator?
Integrators are the people who blend their work and personal lives and sometimes can't tell where one begins and the other ends. In the office, an Integrator is an employee who has family photos on their desk or other paraphernalia that expressed who they were.
You are an Integrator your work keys and house keys live on the same key chain. You are comfortable doing work things during family time and vice versa. You're an Integrator if you have a hard time shutting your brain off from work.
How many Integrators vs. Segmentors are there in the workplace?
Google did an internal study a few years back, and they found roughly 30% of those who responded identified as Segmentors.
Why does this matter when your employee has cancer or another type of health crisis?
Let me ask you a question. What is one of the first actions a person does when they hear a friend has cancer? It usually brings a meal. That seems innocent enough. But if your employee is a Segmentor, showing up at their home with a meal may feel intrusive to them. (To learn other simple and more helpful ways to help with a meal, listen here.)podcast. So knowing what they are is essential.
How do you tell if an employee is a Segmentor or an Integrator?
You may not be able to tell because people being a Segmentor or Integrator is a sliding scale. And working from home means that many Segmentors have to adapt to a more integrated work style. But a sure-fire way to discover is to ask! Describe the difference between the two and ask which one best describes them.
When developing ways to support an Integrator or a Segmentor, think about a new version of the golden rule. Instead of treating others the way you want to be treated, treat others how they want to be treated. It can drive engagement not just for the team but for those watching your interactions.
Are you a Segmentor or an Integrator?