Although COVID-19 significantly impacted the world of work, the future of work is going to be even more different and disruptive.
What skills will employees need to succeed? According to research by SAS, curiosity is being acknowledged as an increasingly valuable skill for business and employee success.
51% of 2,000 managers from across the world surveyed by SAS said that curiosity was more important now than five years, while 72% see curious employees as very valuable.
SAS also analyzed LinkedIn content and found there was a 158% increase on 2020 figures in terms of the mention of curiosity in all posts. There was also a 90% increase in job posting and 87% growth in mention of it as a skill.
Another 51% of manager surveyed by SAS said employees who are curious are higher performers, while 59% said curiosity drives real business impact.
The managers also told SAS that curiosity improved job satisfaction (58%), drove efficiency and productivity at work (62%), and was positive for retention (52%) – the final point is particularly important in the current highly competitive war for talent where employees are quitting in record numbers.
In addition, SAS found that curiosity helps drive digital transformation at work; 62% of managers said it helped employees come up with innovative new solutions and 52% said it helped them better analyze data.
SAS director of analytics for UK&I Laurie Miles commented: “Our research paints a powerful picture that curiosity is no longer just nice to have.
“Instead, it’s becoming a business imperative that helps companies address critical challenges and foster innovation.
“It’s also linked to organizations making better use of data to understand their business and drive digital transformation”.
How to foster curiosity at work
Since curiosity is such a crucial trait for business success in the future – particularly around retaining staff – what can companies do to ensure their employees are enabled and encouraged to be more curious?
SAS is very clear it is not enough to tell them that they can be curious.
Those employers who are successful at nurturing curiosity invest in training (79%) and promote those who are successful at it (74%). They also prioritize curiosity in the hiring process (74%) and in the company’s mission (70%).
These organizations also reward curiosity in performance reviews (71%) and off one-to-one mentoring (59%).
The report concluded: “It is not enough to establish curiosity in company lexicon and procedures; curiosity cannot sustain itself on lip-service alone.
“Instead, organizations must earnestly devote themselves toward developing curiosity-rich environments through employee education opportunities and skills building, increased availability of data, and advancements in digital integration.”