Curiosity: the Core Business Strategy You Need to Succeed

Curiosity in the Workplace

Maybe I’m biased, but if I was running a business, my first hire would be my brother Daniel. It doesn’t matter what the project, mission, or goal is, I want him on my team. And trust me, so do you. He is simply the best type of person and employee. Why?

Poster Boy for Curiousity

Curiosity. Daniel is the most curious person I know. And let me tell you, coupled with his infectious smile, positivity and calm demeanor, that kid’s going places. His curiosity proves to be powerful fuel as he enters the workforce, seeking out and landing impressive job opportunities.

Daniel’s curiosity is in high demand. Are you curious to know why?

Why you need curious employees

Greg Schinkel, president of Unique Training & Development and author of What Great Supervisors Know says, “curiosity is the root of innovation and creativity”. This is why curious people like Daniel are invaluable to companies in today’s complex and evolving business environment. Finding people like him and creating a work culture that cultivates curiosity and innovation is necessary for success.

You need intellectually curious employees because they:

  1. Learn faster. Curious people are natural learners. Thirsty for new knowledge, they actively seek out new information and listen attentively to better understand new concepts.
  2. Adapt more seamlessly. Curious people welcome rather than fear change. They are naturally drawn to innovative and original situations since they become bored with conformity and actively avoid stagnancy.
  3. Set the tone for the rest of the team. Curious people play well with others. They bring in knowledge. They’re more likely to surround themselves with likeminded curious people because its way more fun to ask and answer questions together.
  4. Go beyond the status quo. Their fascination with new concepts means they’re more likely to think outside the box. They aren’t afraid to ask the crazy questions others don’t have the courage to ask.

How to hire curious people

You know you want intellectually curious people on your team. But how do you identify them during the hiring process?

  1. Ask the curiosity question. While you may gravitate towards asking questions about hobbies or personal interests, stick to the work-related. Ask them about the latest industry subject-matter they learned about or what they would invent if they had funding. Have them tell you how they would apply some of their fringe learnings to a realistic business scenario.  Curious people will respond with confidence and enthusiasm.
  2. Give them a task to complete. Give candidates a task that requires some research before the interview. When you meet with them, see how in depth their research was. Did they stick to the guidelines, or go beyond?
  3. Ask what questions they have for you. If they ask original questions: curious. If they ask questions like: “How many sick days do I get?”.. not so curious.

How to keep curious people

Just hiring curious people isn’t enough. You need to cultivate a culture of curiosity.

  1. Provide your employees with consistent learning opportunities. Hold periodic seminars, offer classes, coaching, in-house training or individual study time where employees can learn new skills or update existing skills. Whether it's hosting lunch and learns or giving  employees a subscription to Audible, provide, promote and encourage your employees to take part in these opportunities. 
  2. Allow flexibility in how work is accomplished. Success is success, regardless of how it gets done. Let your employees work from home or offer a condensed work week. For instance, the David Suzuki Foundation offer's a 4-day work week to help their employees foster better work/life balance. 
  3. Challenge your employee’s decision-making. Encourage them to share their experiences and skills. Jump-start curious thinking by asking them about their methods and ways for improvement in regular meetings.
  4. Empower employees to own and grow their own ideas. Ask for their ideas and insights. Mentor your team members. Coach them to achieve not only the company goals, but their personal career goals as well.
  5. Acknowledge and reward employees for their ideas and accomplishments. Nothing says ‘we value curiosity’ more than providing meaningful incentives for new ideas.  Ask your employees what rewards they find most valuable: bonuses, time off, tickets to an event, free food, paid birthdays off or gift cards. Get creative with the incentives.


Success in the marketplace calls for fearless experimentation and the courage to do things differently.

Companies that want to grow, progress, and stand out need curious people. It’s that simple. We shouldn’t view curiosity as the exception, but as the standard.

Use this standard as a core business strategy. Don’t settle for one rising star - hire yourself a room full of Daniels.

Sarah Visca
Sarah Visca is the Operations Manager at ConnectsUs HR, a company that provides tools & resources to quickly set up a Human Resources department.  
You can contact her here