Like creativity, innovation and adaptability, curiosity is one of those attributes that businesses say they want in employees – but what are they doing to actively foster an environment that encourages staff to seek out new ideas and experiences?
New research from Harvard Business Review points to four critical benefits of curiosity for organisations, leaders and employees:
- Curiosity leads to fewer decision-making errors because it encourages alternative thinking
- Curiosity leads to improved innovation and positive change
- Curiosity encourages individuals to open up to the ideas of others, reducing conflict
- Curiosity encourages groups to share information and listen more carefully
Curiosity is one of those unique traits that we use quite a lot when we are young and gradually over time as we become more familiar with our environment, information and learning, we tend to only really use it when something peaks our interest or we have a clear goal in mind.
So, what strategies can you employ to encourage curiosity in your workplace?
Hire for curiosity
Include curiosity as a desirable behavioural attribute during the recruitment process. You can test a candidate’s predisposition for inquisitiveness through work related questions or even asking about their interests outside of work.
Set the example
The obvious tactic for any leader is to lead by example – your behaviour is intrinsically linked to the behaviour of the organisation. This can be as a simple as asking questions and being an engaged listener.
Encourage learning goals
Focussing on learning goals – developing competence, acquiring skills, mastering new situations – widens the skill set of employees as well as increasing motivation (and performance). Leaders should communicate (and reward people) not simply around performance but also on learning.
Explore and broaden interests
Support employees’ interests both inside and outside of the business. This could include travel for other roles, simply broadening their networks, encouraging collaborative working spaces in the office or integrating their non-work passions for sports or volunteering as part of your corporate social responsibility programme.
Encourage the “Why?”
Leaders should encourage and reward questioning – What if? How might we? Why? Doing this successfully requires a supportive and safe work environment where people can make suggestions without fear of looking stupid.
Unleash the potential in your organisation by nurturing employees’ curiosity – they’ll be more engaged in their work, generate new ideas and share them with others, and importantly, increase organisational performance.
Decipher Group fully understands the importance of the people strategy including the business case for curiosity – we’re assisting organisations to create the right framework for their structure and people resource, to enable them to successfully execute their business strategy. Want to know more?
The Decipher Team
To stay on top of current people trends and technologies follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.