Creating a work culture that allows your team to work well together and with clients is crucial to your company's financial health and growth. Part of establishing that work culture is identifying core values that will guide your decision-making and influence your firm's overall operations for the better. Core values can even place your company on the right path forward. At Summit CPA, we have identified several core values that inform our work and how we engage with each other and our clients. One of those core values includes curiosity.
Keeping curiosity as a core value has greatly benefitted our workplace. As a firm that offers Virtual CFO services, which requires many of our team members to operate in an advisory capacity, we've found that cultivating a work environment that encourages curiosity has allowed us to engage clients better. This increase in engagement ultimately leads to client retention and enables us to build a favorable reputation within our niche.
When it comes to upholding our core value internally, there is a clear correlation between curiosity and performance for team members. We've found that team members who ask questions to clarify expectations or processes tend to excel in their role because they have a deeper understanding of how to meet those expectations and navigate those processes.
If you're interested in constituting curiosity as a core value and creating an inquisitive work culture, you can achieve this by doing the following:
Hire curious candidates.
Employing inquisitive staff members is crucial to cultivating a work environment that thrives on curiosity. You can accomplish this by screening candidates appropriately during the hiring process. For example, during interviews, see if your candidates ask questions that reveal whether they're genuinely interested in your company, role, or the position for which you're hiring. These questions will extend beyond the usual queries on salary, benefits, and job description in an attempt to get to the heart of what it's like to work for your firm and how they can excel in the role if offered it. We also recommend identifying active listeners who are more likely to engage in a conversation than drill you with pre-determined questions. Finally, if you put candidates through multiple rounds of interviews with various team members, we suggest having those interviewers bring up different aspects of the job or company. Doing so will give the candidate more opportunities to ask new, topic-related questions.
Allow employees to build and hone their inquisitiveness.
It's essential to remember that new employees may be coming from a work environment where curiosity was frowned upon or even actively discouraged. With that in mind, it's imperative that you create an environment where employees feel safe to be inquisitive. Building this environment starts with leaders who encourage their employees to ask questions and take time to answer them. Also, practicing curiosity through questioning is a learned skill, so even if a new team member is naturally curious, they may still need the time and space to make mistakes as they craft that skill. We recommend giving your staff that space and refraining from pressuring them to ask questions, as that could lead to them inquiring about certain things just for the sake of doing so. Each question should be viewed as a path to greater understanding and more quality interactions with stakeholders and colleagues.
Lead by example.
The leaders within your firm should also publicly uphold the core value of curiosity by modeling this behavior so that other team members can emulate it. For example, upholding curiosity may look like having those in management positions asking the staffers they're managing why specific projects succeeded or failed to assess problems and address them. At Summit CPA, our leaders also display this behavior in meetings with clients as we work to discover why their previous actions did or did not allow them to reach their financial goals.
Making curiosity a continuous part of your business's work culture can strengthen your client and employee relationships. Clients want a firm that boasts staff members who are actively engaged in their work, and employees want to feel as though they can ask questions that will allow them to perform well in their position. In short, curiosity leads to happy clients, successful employees, and, ultimately, a hefty bottom line.
At Summit CPA we offer multiple resources to assist and help your business grow. If you’re ready to get an edge on your competitors? Contact our office at (866) 497-9761to schedule an appointment with our advisors.