We are all born curious. This deeply human, inner motivation to learn can improve memory, employee engagement rates, and professional development. In a TED talk with Spencer Harrison and Jon Cohen, curiosity is presented as a building block for growth in the workplace.
According to Harrison, curious people are more willing to have conversations when problems arise and can be more useful to a company than skilled machines. This post will explore the benefits of curiosity in your personal growth as an employee, and in greater relation to workforce development.
The Most Human Learning Philosophy
Curiosity and Health: A 2005 report in the Health Psychology journal illustrated a two-year study involving more than 1,000 patients that discovered higher levels of curiosity were connected with a decreased likelihood of developing hypertension and diabetes.
Companies realize that healthy people make for energized employees. While it might seem trivial to dive into that new novel or nurture your hobbies, remind yourself that when you integrate curiosity-building activities into your daily learning experience, you are improving your physical health.
Curiosity and Happiness: The Harvard Business Review presented an analysis of hundreds of studies showing an average of 31% higher productivity, 37% higher sales, with creativity three times higher when employees were happy. But how do we get happier?
One of the most overlooked keys to true happiness is nurturing and demonstrating our sense of curiosity. Being curious allows us to learn new things, prove to ourselves that we can ingest new information, and helps us stay driven when things become monotonous at work.
Professional Development and Learning
Curiosity and Employee Retention: Modern businesses understand the importance of keeping a curious workforce. Celia Berenguer launched Sanofi University this March, despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. To increase employee engagement, Paul Hudson, the chief executive officer of Sanofi, encouraged his team to collectively complete 100,000 hours of learning between March and June.
When reflecting on this learning campaign, Berenguer noted that while most employees started with courses that were directly relevant to their jobs, they became exceedingly curious with time and eventually became motivated to upskill and explore new sectors of work.
Curiosity and Workforce Development: The first step in overcoming workforce development challenges is to make learning-based projects accessible and inviting for employees. Nobody in the workplace should feel left out of this mission. Key stakeholders need to express their interest in fostering employee learning.
To show employees you care about their learning experience, try encouraging technology use and flexible hours. This way, your team can personalize their projects based on their own needs and aspirations.
Essential Stakeholders And The Curiosity Curve
Give Employees Permission To Learn: A Harvard Business survey conducted by behavioral scientist Francesca Gino found that in a group of 3,000 employees, “92% credited curious people with bringing new ideas into teams and organizations and viewed curiosity as a catalyst for job satisfaction, motivation, innovation, and high performance.”
Unfortunately, many employees feel that it is not acceptable to spend time learning while at work unless it is part of a mandatory project or directly related to their line of work. Therefore, new educational pathways must be actively encouraged by people in power.
Provide A Nurturing Environment: Fostering acceptance of curiosity during work hours is key to helping learning organizations succeed. Science has shown that when something out of the ordinary happens, our brains pay closer attention, and assign these events more emotional weight.
To encourage curiosity at work, make positive surprises more frequent. For example, try hosting special lunches or learning-based activities that will break up the daily routine and help your team learn more about each other, themselves, and the company as a whole.
A Constant Learning Experience
Curiosity makes us healthier, better workers. The current pandemic has shown us that without our good health, we are extremely limited in what we can accomplish both in the workplace and at home. Therefore, it is important to help your team embrace their innate curiosity and share their findings with the people around them.
How have you incorporated learning in your workforce development program? What has worked and why? Share your thoughts with us at WeLearn, because together we will always continue to learn and grow.