HR & Management

Imagination, intelligence, innovation – nine tips for creating a culture of curiosity

6 min read

06 March 2018

“Curiosity killed the cat” according to the old English phrase. But in a complex digital world where there is so much information for us to consume, can being curious really evoke bad omens? 

Today, curiosity can be defined as a desire to know or learn something new, and we experience this feeling in almost everything we do. This hunger to learn and explore is what makes people’s personalities shine amongst the rest, and this is even more evident within the workplace. As a critical competency, curiosity plays a fundamental role in motivation, productivity and wellbeing – which are important for boosting workplace culture.

With so much fear over AI taking jobs, we should be encouraging curiosity more amongst our employees. Whilst AI might be able to beat us in a video game or make predictions for our next shopping purchases, it is the humans who still have the edge over AI when it comes to emotion and having a curious mind. So, how can we create an environment that allows curiosity to thrive? Here are nine tips on how to get the ball rolling in your organisation.

Use your imagination

(1) Start with a blank canvas – Have an open mind and try to reimagine how you could transform your strategy, without worrying about the barriers and limitations of your existing learning methods and systems. Great ideas often come from curious places, so if you start from scratch you might just find the right solution.

(2) Make time for learning – Investing money into new learning tools and content is only the first step. In order to make a real impact in your organisation, you need to focus on dedicating time to learning and development too; this will create the greatest impact for your employees and help your company get the most out of its tools.

(3) Work backwards – Let employees help guide your learning strategy and discuss what’s most important to them. Communicating with those that will be influenced by your learning and development system will lead to a more effective and impactful strategy. Be sure to also encourage internal experts to collaborate and share their knowledge with other employees – the knowledge within your own four walls can sometimes be the most powerful.


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Gather Intelligence

(4) Use smarter metrics – Creating and monitoring metrics are important for determining your success and picturing your progress, but they don’t have to be complicated. Whether they are short and practical or long and strategic, make sure that they are built to reflect where you want to go and what success looks like to your organisation.

(5) Be agile – Living a world where technology and business is moving at such a fast pace means HR departments must be agile in order keep track of the organisation’s goals. Priorities sometimes change, and there’s no point in reaching the end and realising you’re off the mark. Be ready to adapt to ensure you are always complementing and supporting the overall business strategy and goals.

(6) Become data conscious – Take an interest in the technology that is available and accessible around you, and what the data from it can tell you about your company. Certain data technology tools can provide interesting insights that, if used correctly, can be translated into actions that improve organisations’ efficiency and development.

Apply Innovation

(7) Train managers and staff to trust – Employees and managers must collaborate and trust each other in order to succeed and meet business goals. Make it a priority to educate managers and employees to build their trust with each other, so that you can generate respect and increase confidence amongst them.

(8) Integrate with the team – Involving yourself in the team allows you to have a clearer vision of which solutions you need to plug any skills gaps. It will also allow you to see who the key players are amongst your team and who has potential to become a mentor to support your strategy – so take a front row seat.

(9) Reward curious team members – Ensure you reward those in the organisation who are curious and engaged so that others can be motivated and inspired other employees too. With more curious employees, an organisation gains new ideas and fresh perspectives on day-to-day business tasks which can lead to a more engaged workforce overall.

These tips might seem like a lot to take in, but you don’t have to implement them all at once. Take things slowly and pick out the ones that are best for your organisation to begin with and build up from there. As long as you have elements of imagination, intelligence and innovation, you’ll be well on your way to creating a curious culture.

Geoffroy de Lestrange is senior product marketing manager EMEA at Cornerstone OnDemand


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